Political violence increased in the 80s B.C.E., when political factions started stealing people’s land and killing their enemies. They all wrote good stuff within the past century or so. Many even blame the initiation of Christianity for the decline. Why was a paper on this unexpected topic printed in the newly founded journal? Tacitus lamented the demise of the liberties of the old Republic and the rise of emperors of dubious character. Referring to an earlier period in Roman history, Nilsson writes, for example, that “the kindred Oscan–Umbrian tribes, and soon afterwards the Celts of the Po valley, were merged in the Roman nation and enlarged and invigorated it”. All historians of Rome must rely on Roman historians—those who lived in ancient Rome and knew its traditions first-hand. In his 1944 book, Caesar and Christ, Will Durant summarized one of the monumental lessons of Rome: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. The Fall of Rome is a heavily debated topic with an extraordinary range of theories as to how such a great power ultimately fell, and how it either limped on or even how it still lives today. The Roman Empire was a powerful governing body of extensive political and social structures throughout western civilization. “It could have been and probably should have been much, much worse for the Romans than it actually was to lose their republic,” says Watts. He was an outspoken proponent of Race Biology and a strong supporter of the decision to found a State Institute of Race Biology in Uppsala, again in 1921 (Broberg 1993, Bengtsson 1999, Tunlid 2004). However, the question still remains, how was it possible that the very things that once made the empire great could be the sole reasons for its decline? Race Biological thinking is not unusual in seriously argued texts in 1921. It is sufficient to say that in it he wishes to “convey a concrete idea not only of how many races, peoples, and languages were contained in the Roman Empire, but also of how radically different most of them were”. Admittedly, the direct quotations were cherry-picked by me for what I regard as each author’s best sentiments and singular wisdom, but they are also representative of their broad perspectives. The fact is however that internal factors including social, economic and political problems were the reason for the, the Roman Empire which was quite powerful at one point, collapsed in this same era. Race Biology, which in earlier decades had by necessity been rather imprecise due to its wide‐ranging nature, therefore got with the Mendelian genes a new kind of hardness in its ideas and modes of expression. In Nilsson's article this idea plays – as we have seen above – an absolutely necessary role in his argument. This was the biological collapse behind the catastrophic development of the apparently strong Roman society and its individuals. When Nilsson‐Ehle in a booklet published in 1919 argued for the founding of an official Swedish Race Biology Institute, he stressed the scope and strength of modern hereditary science. Nilsson has obviously taken his genetic ideas directly from Nilsson‐Ehle's experiments with strains of self‐fertilizing crops (such as barley, wheat and oat). Also they believed in genetics’ powerful future, and they appreciated this display of classical learning in their journal. Learn more. Thus, a dominant world power that had lasted many centuries disappeared in only a handful of decades. 385–386). It was written at a time when the full strength of genetics was unknown together with its full social and ideological implications. There are strong reasons to believe so, and I will in the rest of this paper describe what alternative functions Nilsson's article could have had – far beyond the production of a genetic‐based explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire. However, one could argue how one, civilization, the Roman Empire was a powerful governing build. Berättelser om en vetenskap mitt i samhället, De levde revolutionen: Om mendelismens genombrott i Lund, Rasblandningarnas omfång och betydelse i det romerska kejsarriket, Något om ärftlighetsvetenskapens praktiska och ekonomiska betydelse, Lunds universitet under andra världskriget. The Han dynasty had trouble with the Xiongnu invading, and the Roman Empire was invaded by the Huns who were led by Attila at the time. Learn about our remote access options, E-mail address: email@example.com, Department of Biology, Evolutionary Genetics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Nilsson's main argument is fundamentally based on the quantitative idea that mixing between populations is good as long as it occurs at a low rate, but large‐scale mixing is bad. The very inflexibility of the genes – which puts a limit to what humans can do – also underlays the somewhat circular statement (quoted previously): “A race … is physically and psychically a fixed type, which precisely through the firmness and fixedness of its dispositions is able to create something to which its dispositions predisposes it” (pp. Sallust also wrote extensively about the war against the Numidian king, Jugurtha. In addition to Augustus’ position as emperor, he also served as one of two consuls. Christianity made many Roman citizens into pacifists, making it more difficult to … Save up to 40% with Online Specials at Walmart.com! But when sloth has introduced itself in the place of industry, and covetousness and pride in that of moderation and equity, the condition of a state is altered together with its morals; and thus authority is always transferred from the less to the more deserving. Its content is divided into three parts (no exact page‐numbers are given in this and the next section for the quotes that easily can be found from my general descriptions). Then, in 133 B.C.E., Rome experienced its first political murder in the history of the republic. The army could not any longer recruit its élite troops “from certain districts of middle Italy, which had preserved the purest Roman blood”. Please check your email for instructions on resetting your password. Sallust reported: Ambition prompted many to become deceitful; to keep one thing concealed in the breast, and another ready on the tongue; to estimate friendships and enmities, not by their worth, but according to interest; and to carry rather a specious countenance than an honest heart. This section does not add much to our understanding of Nilsson's argument. The reader waits for something new – the promised Mendelian insight – to be presented, and it comes in the third part of Nilsson's article (pp. In the hope of inspiring present-day readers to learn more about Rome through the writings of these men, I present some of their insights and observations here. “If you believe your republic will last forever, then doing things like not holding a vote on something essential for three years—you don’t see the problem in that, necessarily,” Watts suggests. Interestingly, his later article of a Race Biological nature in Hereditas (Nilsson 1939), uses much of the same ideas as analysed here – but then to argue for the positive importance of racial mixing.