hi 80. Decline of USA and Rome

Still mild weather with no rain. Holiday very crowded Beaches, parks, lakes, roads, theaters. Attached is a photo of my daily drive to the beach on the road at the bottom.

Society can go backward for a long time. Many important technologies are not being preserved in the USA or elsewhere. The Pantheon was the largest dome in the world for over 1000 years. During the Dark Ages the Romans would walk around their city wondering how their ancestors did it. (Italians constructed the next great dome too, in 1438.)

I have often remarked on the similarities between the fall of Rome and USA UK culture (I studied Latin 5 years). Disease, chemicals in food, corruption, religion, militancy, climate change, crowding together in cities, stress, too much wealth, sexual diseases, etc. I have been listening to Gothic music and see some similarities to the original Goths (from Gotland Sweden, early Germans, my ancestors) who invaded the Roman empire. Many of the singers are even Scandinavian. The USA UK Nordic singers often project the same attitudes even though they are probably clueless as to origins. Southern USA Gothic is also dark but more depressing, not looking to conquest, just depression. I don’t think the modern Goths want to replace our decadent culture but they are clearly distressed and upset with it. They are complaining but no plan. Much music and movies nowadays is very dark, depressed, disliking of the status quo, and hinting at disasters to come.


Gibbon’s contention that Christianity and moral decay led to the decline.

environmental concerns, deforestation and soil erosion proposed as major factors, and destabilizing population decreases due to epidemics. Global climate changes of 535-536, caused by the eruption of Krakatoa,

“lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the Roman empire.” ancient Romans, who had few sweeteners besides honey, would boil must in lead pots to produce a reduced sugar syrup called defrutum used to some degree to sweeten wine and food. Lead was also leached from the glazes on amphorae and other pottery, from pewter drinking vessels and cookware, and from lead piping used for municipal water supplies and baths

The Roman Empire suffered the severe Antonine Plague starting around 165 AD ultimately killing about half the population. Similar epidemics, occurred in the 3rd century. McNeill argues that the severe fall in population left the state apparatus and army too large for the population to support, leading to further economic and social decline that eventually killed the Western Empire.

Romans used public fountains, public latrines, public baths, and supported many brothels all of which were conducive to the spread of pathogens. Romans crowded into walled cities and the poor and the slaves lived in very close quarters with each other. Epidemics began sweeping though the Empire.

The culture of the German barbarians living just across the Rhine and Danube rivers was not so conducive to the spread of pathogens. Germans lived in small scattered villages that did not support the same level of trade as did Roman settlements. Germans lived in single-family detached houses. Germans did not have public baths nor as many brothels and drank ale made with boiled water. The barbarian population seemed to be on the rise.

In areas near the Rhine and Danube frontiers, raids by barbarians killed Romans and disrupted commerce. Raids also forced Romans into walled towns and cities furthering the spread of pathogens and increasing the rate of depopulation in the West. A low population and weak economy forced Rome to use barbarians in the Roman Army to defend against other barbarians.

Culturally, the decline of Roman urban life and of the Roman educational system made it prohibitively difficult for rulers to maintain Roman civilization in its various manifestations. German barbarians were more easily able to integrate into the uneducated Roman aristocracy and demand land and, later, demand kingdoms of their own.

Similar epidemics caused by new diseases may have weakened the Chinese Han Empire and contributed to its collapse. This was followed by the long and chaotic episode known as the Six Dynasties period. Later, the Plague of Justinian may have been the first instance of bubonic plague. It, and subsequent recurrences, may have been so devastating that they helped the Arab conquest of most of the Eastern Empire and the whole of the Sassanid Empire. Archaeological evidence is showing that Europe continued to have a steady downward trend in population starting as early as the 2nd century and continuing through the 7th century.

2000 years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest un-reinforced concrete dome. Archetype of Western dome construction to this day


128–1436 Pantheon: Largest dome in the world
1436–1881 Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the main church of Florence, Italy. Largest brick and mortar dome in the world till present


the Western Roman Empire is deemed to have ended on 4 September 476, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus and proclaimed himself ruler of Italy, but this convention is subject to many qualifications. In Roman constitutional theory, the Empire was still simply united under one emperor, implying no abandonment of territorial claims.

The legacy of the Roman Empire in Western Europe includes manufacture, trade, and architecture, widespread secular literacy, written law, and an international language of science and literature. The Western barbarians destroyed and could not replace these higher cultural practices. Observing the cultural continuities, the process has been described as a complex cultural transformation, rather than a fall

The Goths clearly believed (as most modern scholars do) that referred originally to a uniform culture that flourished around the middle of the first millennium BC—the original “Goths”. inhabitants of present-day Swedish island Gotland in Baltic Sea. The Goths are believed to have crossed the Baltic Sea sometime between 300 BC and AD 100. archaeological evidence in the traditional Swedish province of Östergötland suggests a general depopulation during this period. The Goths’ relationship with Sweden became an important part of Swedish nationalism, and until the 19th century the Swedes were commonly considered to be the direct descendants of the Goths. Today, Swedish scholars identify this as a cultural movement called Gothicismus, which included an enthusiasm for things Old Norse. Götaland inhabitants were called Gautar in Old Norse. It is generally agreed that these were the same as the Geats, the people of the hero Beowulf in England’s national epic, Beowulf.


The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from the 19th century Gothic literature along with horror films. The goth subculture has associated tastes in music, aesthetics, and fashion. The music of the goth subculture encompasses a number of different styles, including Gothic rock, death rock, post-punk, dark wave, ethereal wave, dark ambient, industrial music, and neoclassical. Styles of dress within the subculture range from death rock, punk, and Victorian styles, or combinations of the above, most often with dark attire, makeup, and hair.


Gothic rock combines dark, often keyboard-heavy music with introspective, dark and mostly romantic lyrics. gave rise to a broader subculture that included clubs, fashion and numerous publications that grew in popularity in the 1980s


Gothic metal (or goth metal) is a sub genre of heavy metal that combines the heaviness of doom metal with the dark atmospheres of Gothic rock. Lyrics are generally dark and introspective , Gothic metal has moved towards the mainstream in Europe. In the US, however, only a few bands such as Evanescence have found commercial success.


Themes in Southern Gothic literature include deeply flawed, disturbing or eccentric characters, ambivalent gender roles and decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or coming from poverty, alienation, crime and violence. While the tales in literature can be set among various classes, the decay of the southern aristocracy and the setting of the plantation are the usual settings. employs the use of macabre, ironic events to examine the values of the American South. Songs often examine poverty, criminal behavior, religious imagery, death, ghosts, family, lost love, alcohol, murder, the devil, and betrayal


Gentry moved to Los Angeles to enter UCLA as a philosophy major. In the hectic atmosphere of 1967, Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” stood out with its simplicity and integrity. Gentry is one of the first female country artists to write and produce her own material. Typically her songs have autobiographic characteristics. “Ode to Billie Joe” is a 1967 ode song written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry, a singer-songwriter from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. The single, released in late July, was a number-one hit in the United States, and became a big international seller.

The song is a first-person narrative that reveals a Southern Gothic tale in its verses by including the dialog of the narrator’s family at dinnertime on the day that “Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.” Throughout the song, the suicide and other tragedies


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