Rome’s Greatest Strength and Weakness

One of Rome’s greatest strengths as an empire was its ability to become a melting pot for many of the city-states it conquered but that very strength would be what would destroy Rome in the end.


Rome is one of the most iconic empires to exist during the ancient time. The beginning of its life cycle, Rome slowly began to conquer surrounding city-states. In order for Rome to continue its conquest, it normally gave the conquered city-states generous terms as long as soldiers were given to continue fighting. These terms were also quite generous to the soldiers that were not Roman. Rome’s conquest continued to expand its borders and its military strength.

Rome continued to grow and integrate the many cultures and societies that they encountered. One of the many concepts they incorporated was Christianity. This was one of the factors that lead to Rome’s downfall as Rome was a polytheistic empire but Christianity was a monotheistic one. This inevitably caused conflicts between the two groups. Christianity believed that there was one god while the Romans believed in many gods and even believed that the emperor was of divine status. Despite that, Christianity pales in comparison to the other factors that brought Rome’s downfall.


Rome eventually reached a critical mass and its size had grown too much for a single emperor. Rome soon became a tetrarchy but the Western Empire spoke Latin and was Roman Catholic while the Eastern Empire spoke Greek and was Eastern Orthodox. Due to Rome’s vast size, its military could not effectively defend it against barbarian attacks. The rapid growth of their empire led to severe economic trouble. The size also contributed to much of Rome’s infighting as emperors tried to wrest control from one another. Rome’s destruction was due to people trying to get a better position for themselves within the imperial structure.

Due to the rapid growth of the empire, Rome had overexpanded and spent much of its resources on its military. This led to severe economic trouble and an overreliance on the slave trade. Once the slave trade was disrupted, there was a lack of manpower in Rome.  The government was incredibly corrupt during this time. As many as 20 different emperors took the throne in 75 years. The Praetorian Guards assassinated and instated new rulers and even auctioned the spot off to the highest bidder. Roman citizens lost faith in their government which lead to the Roman legions weakening. Unable to muster the resources or volunteers, they resorted to hiring mercenaries. The very strategy of expanding and incorporating ended up destroying Rome just as it had built it.


Feminism and How It’s Complicated

The concept of organized feminism was introduced 1848 after the first Women’s Conference. The idea of feminism at the time was of traditional feminism which was the original idea of equality between the two sexes. Feminism today is described as 3rd or even 4th wave feminism. Today, the mere mention of feminism to people are likely to lead into a tirade or even a rant. It is due to the negative connotation that it has garnered over time but that is not to say that all feminism is bad. To say that it is complicated and a mixed bag is a bit of an understatement.

Today’s feminism has the problem with the idea that someone’s feminism is not their feminism. Many notable feminists of the Third Wave consist of very positive and very negative figures. The underlying problem with this polarizing categories is that those that act out and gain attention from the media are usually in the negative category. The ones that have to defend feminism at its core are the ones in the positive category but are almost never put into the spotlight. Therein lies the problem of traditional feminism versus its modern counterpart. This has gotten so bad that some people are referring themselves as humanists or egalitarian rather than feminist to avoid the negative connotations that come with it. Even worse are those that will use feminism as a shield or a label for their own gain. Third Wave Feminism has this problem with how their brand of feminism would be different than others which lead to the idea that “These other women are not really feminists”.

This brand of toxic feminism has gotten so bad that feminism has been associated with SJWs or Social Justice Warriors. This in combination with Third Wave Feminism has led to many on the internet to mock these figures as professionals at being offended. One of the many negative figures in the group of Third Wave Feminists is Anita Sarkeesian who is known though her handle of Feminist Frequency on the internet, Twitter and YouTube for focusing on video games and its rampant sexism. One of her beliefs is that “Everything is racist, everything is sexist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it out to everyone all the time.”

Many people have criticized her for misrepresenting the games and not doing proper research. People like Phil Manson, a YouTuber under the alias Thunderf00t, Troy Leavitt, a veteran game developer, and Dr. Christiana Sommer, have criticized many of Anita’s points and pointed out many of the flaws in her argument to push a specific narrative. Many have challenged her to a debate in regards to sexism but none have been responded to from Anita.

Doing a google search on feminist leaves much to be desired. For the most part, there are the negatives that are mentioned but also the old classic feminists such as Sojourner Truth are easy to find which makes it a rather hard topic to compare good and bad feminists. So who is to blame for the poisoning the meaning of feminism? Is it social media or society as a whole?


Marginalization and Why it Happens

In a lecture, we discussed how the Iranian Empire painted a target on the Arabian people. The concept of marginalization has been around for many years and this idea has had a long history much further than the existence of many nations. Marginalization happens in many different aspects of life and does not solely depend on ethnicity. Even America is not free from this problem. History has given us many examples where people get blamed for a situation they did not cause but why do people do this? How is it possible such an instance to occur?

Two ideas that make this plausible are the Milgram Experiment and the Bandwagon Fallacy. Normally the marginalization of a set group of people occurs when there is a negative aspect of society. People look for something to blame and the thing they blame is usually the thing last introduced in their lives before all the change happened. To them, that is the sole cause of all the negative problems in their world. Of course, this is usually never the case but it does not stop people from believing in it. This is where the Milgram Experiment and the Bandwagon Fallacy come into play. In the Milgram Experiment, people were told to continually bring the voltage up if the subject got the question wrong. People kept complying under the pretense that “I am not responsible for this, someone else is.” The Bandwagon Fallacy is what people will commonly accept as true due to popularity. In here lies the problem with obedience and conformity.

For those who have YouTube Red: Vsauce’s video discussing Conformity goes into detail how people will conform to an idea, even if it is wrong just because everyone else is doing it. The experiment in question is referred to the Asch Experiment which ties in with the Bandwagon Fallacy idea. Now how does this all tie together? The stereotypes that are created by the marginalization of a set group of people will stick with them and begin defining them as a group of people. Many of the commonly held stereotypes are products of marginalization. The human psyche is very good at creating these ideas that “It cannot be my fault. It must be someone else’s.” This blame game we play is a weird way to wash off the idea that we are responsible for it. Combine the two experiments presented earlier, The Asch Experiment and The Milgram Experiment, to have a design that washes away blame. Asch’s findings will allow people to say that “Everyone else was doing it so it must be right,” and Milgram’s findings allow people to say that, “Someone else will take responsibility for this.”

Marginalization of a specific group of people allows the rest of the Empire to feel better about themselves and their shortcomings. This feeling is exponentially increased if there is an official figure that leads this idea. Almost like the movie Independence Day, humanity has a habit of bonding together under a common threat. If that threat is given a name and a face, there will be a large number of people banded together to fight against it. The only problem is that the people they are fighting against, are their own.

Fascination with Dystopian Worlds

In film, literature, and video games, dystopias have continued to be a prevalent theme. Usually following the creating of a utopian gone wrong. But why does this theme remain so popular if it is about the ruins of an ideally perfect society?

These imaginary worlds have many differing kinds of utopias and dystopias but both usually are mirror-images of each other in the opposite light. Most dystopias stem from the failed creation of a utopia and some utopias are already seen as dystopias.  Many of the literary pieces that are written about this topic explore aspects of society pushed to extremes in a perceived perfect world. In other words, dystopias explore the imaginary world of an empire that attempted to create a utopia but failed.

Dystopian literature has been seen to be very popular in the young adult age and for many reasons. One of the prevailing reasons is the idea that teens want to break out the mold that the world has set for them. As with many of the dystopian protagonists, they break free from the established status quo and try to fight back against the system. Teenagers can easily relate to this role as many do feel stifled by society to follow a specific path. It is not so much as society does not understand the teenagers but rather they feel forced to follow a specific path they have no interest in.

Ever since Trump entered the presidency, there has been an increase in sales in dystopian literature. Books like Fahrenheit 451, the Handmaiden’s Tale, and Brave New World. But one that had the greatest increase in sales was George Orwell’s 1984.  Many people who bought the books claimed that they were in an “Era of Alternative Facts”. Ever since that term “Alternative Facts” has been coined, it resonated with people in how those words were very Orwellian. This concept of Orwellian refers to the manipulation of truth that Kellyanne Conway attempted to do much in the same way that the government of 1984 does.

For those that do not know, George Orwell’s 1984 is a dystopian novel that explores the idea of a totalitarian government but everything that the people do, think and speak is monitored by the government’s public figure called Big Brother. The phrase, “Big Brother is Watching you” comes from this book and refers to how the government sees everything and, by extension, controls everything. They control the truths that the people believe and those that step out of line are reconditioned to fit back into society.

Dystopian films roughly follow the same ideas as their literature counterparts but video games have a different feel to it. Because the player is participating in the world, there is a distinct difference in feeling. Literature and films allow the audience to peer into the world of what if and see how the characters in that world experience it. In a video game, the player is part of the world and experience all of it.

Speaking from personal experience, watching/reading a dystopian world is so much more different in comparison to playing in one. Looking through my library of video games, a large section has dystopian themes. There is something about how experiencing the world in all its flaws and the drastic change in the human nature is intriguing. If not the nature of man, then the ruined state of its creations also appeal to me. The reason for me liking dystopian games can be linked to why people like looking at ruins.

Censorship’s Effects

One of our lectures focused on Ranchod’s letter which had an interesting conclusion. Despite the short-lived rebellion and proclamation as King, Ranchod’s message was spread much farther than many expected. This got me thinking about other figures that we had focused on in this quarter. Namely, Gandhi and Savarkar as both their works had been censored by the British Empire. Censorship has had a long history and still exists today. It has taken many different forms in the modern era but it still functions the same as its past counterpart.

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“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” – George R. R. Martin

Savarkar’s Indian War of Independence 1857 and Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj were both banned by the empire but when Gandhi translated his from Gujarati to English, the Empire did not ban it. The interesting thing here is that because of the censorship of the books, many sought to find them. Both people were on the opposite end of the spectrum when it came to how they believed was the best way of dealing with the British Empire occupying India. Savarkar advocated violence whereas Gandhi believed non-violence was the best approach. Many different Empires fell because they began to censor the ideas of their subjects. The starting censorship of these ideas is what led to the eventual freedom from British rule in India. But why is that the case?

 When ideas become stifled and censored, many congregate to rise against the Empire. As YouTuber Philip DeFranco said, “When you cut out a man’s tongue, you make his words matter that much more.” This quote came from one of his videos where he talks about Milo Yiannopoulos‘s potential book sale. Yiannopolos is a well known controversial figure and whether you hate him or love him, people talking about banning the books starts to influences those that are “on the fence” as well as provide publicity. Many companies use the idea that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” to further their message and give free advertisement.


Censorship prevents many from seeing what the message is but because it is no longer visible, many will go great lengths to see what it is about. One of the biggest censorship types is media censorship. So much information is distributed in such a short amount of time that information becomes wide-spread. The problem is that some of the media outlets will censor key points to completely change the original message. A good percentage of the people who view the media will take it as truth and not bother to look further into the subject. Also, many different news stations are inherently biased and will make specific situations look better or worse depending on their stance.

Censorship effectively destroys the original message or gets rid of it altogether. Through its usage, the altered idea is then spread to the entirety of the empire and ideas become ruined. It carves out specific portions to consume and molds us to think a specific way. Those that are capable of challenging those ideas are in the minority as many in the majority will be none the wiser. Censorship may bring about the ruin of empire but it will always bring ruin to its subjects.


Language and the Ruins it Brings

In Professor Lewis’s lecture, she expresses how language, both written and spoken, is a partner of empire. How it supports its goals and how no empire fails to leave its own language behind. But that same language can be used against the empire, as a tool to critique, dislodge and appropriate power. Language is what binds but, at the same time, dismantles every empire. “Sans Lingua Franca, the world will be torn asunder. And then, it shall be free.” This quote is from the popular Metal Gear Solid game franchise. Specifically from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain‘s main antagonist Skull Face. Skull Face expresses his hatred towards language and the ruins it brings. In the trailer, it is hinted that he plans to destroy the major languages to free the world from the shackles that language places on humanity.

“It is no nation that we inhabit, but a language. Make no mistake; our native tongue is our true fatherland.” –Emil Cicoran


The quote mentioned earlier with the words Sans Lingua Franca can be translated as without a bridge language. This is in reference to the English language as it is a bridge language for many other countries that allow people to converse despite the difference in nationalities. As mentioned in the trailer, Skull Face talks about how America is a country of immigrants that do not assimilate but rather live side by side. The bridge language that allows all immigrants to converse in a common tongue is English. It is the ultimate tool that binds all people together but at the same time, separate them. Almost every person that was born in America of a nationality that was other than Caucasian most likely started with the language of their parents. After learning the language of your parents, you would have to forget it, or shelf it in order to learn how to read, write, and speak English as it is the common form of communication for all people in America.

Skull Face critiques the idea of imperialism through the usage of the English language. He expresses later in the game that he lost his mother tongue at a very early age and the language he used constantly changed as those in charge changed as well.  Every change causes part of him to become ruined which he expresses by saying, With each new post, my masters changed, along with the words they made me speak. With each change, I changed too. My thoughts, personality, how I saw right and wrong… words… can kill.” This situation does not only apply to Skull Face as this problem is visible in the world as well. Many of the imperialized countries still feature some problem and influence that originated from the imperialist country.

To Skull Face language is, “…the greatest symbiotic parasite the world’s ever known…” Language has a way of surviving and integrating into other languages. Even the English language uses many other aspects of other languages. Languages that stopped being used for thousands of years still exists in a modern bridge language. As Professor Lewis said, no empire fails to leave behind its language.


Percentage of the English Language derived from Other Languages

Though it does not only refer to just language integrating with other languages. It also refers to the integration of language into communities. Language, both written and spoken, can be easily be taught to someone who has no prior knowledge about it. After teaching, the language seamlessly integrates itself into society and leaves its mark for generations to come. Language that is forced upon the indigenous people ends up become mixed after many years. The English spoken in Britain is a far cry from what it is in America, just like how the French spoken in Canada and France are not entirely similar.

The Victor’s History

We will go down in history either as the world’s greatest statesmen or its worst villains – Hermann Göring

What this quote means is, as Winston Churchill best put it, “History is Written by the Victor”. This history does not necessarily have to be true either as it will most likely fit the agenda of the victorious party. A good example of this is how the Spaniards succeeded in taking over the Inca Empire.

During the lecture, Professor O’Toole mentioned some myths that were passed off as truth. One of the myths involved how the Incas thought that the Spaniards were gods and another how the Spaniards had superior weaponry. These two myths are not completely true in the way the Spaniards wanted people to believe.

Francisco Pizarro

The Incas saw the Spaniards as some form of God due to their white skin and the fact that one of them, Francisco Pizzaro, was riding a horse. It is now known that this idea is a purely Eurocentric idea. Through the usage of the word viracocha, many sources of this Eurocentric idea attempt to pass off how Andean people viewed the Spaniards as a divine “White God”. This idea is a post-conquest invention. Usage of the word originally meant the divine figure the Incas worshiped but soon changed to a different meaning. The meaning changed from God to someone who was different due to how quickly the Incas realized that the Spaniards were humans.

“They’re not professional soldiers, but mercenaries and adventurers”

Guns, Germs, and Steel – Episode 2

The Inca Empire was already weak due to the civil war it suffered when Huayna Capac died along with his eldest son from the diseases that Pizarro brought from Europe. Capac’s two sons, Atahualpa and Huascar, then proceeded to fight each other for control of the throne. It so happened that Pizarro lucked out and came across the Inca Empire as the Civil War was finishing.

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The second myth about how the Spaniards had superior weaponry was partly true. The Incas had a major disadvantage fighting the Spaniards. Their weaponry was not as powerful as the Spaniard’s but the main thing that kept the Spaniards on top was their armor. The Eurocentric idea would like people to believe that the Incas fell to the firepower of the harquebus, the powerful Spanish steel sword, and their horseback prowess. The 15th century harquebus took a very long time to reload, had poor accuracy, and had existed in a small number. Due to the small number of Spaniards and lack of professional military training, the musket ended up being used as a club after firing once. The Spanish sword (Toledo Sword) was strong and could kill many Incas but the Incas could actually destroy the swords with a warak’a (sling). The Spaniard’s ability to use horses aided their combat strength but the Incas countered it with the usage of bolas. The reason the Spaniards were more successful in combat was not because of their superior weaponry but the fact that the Spaniards got assistance from the other Andean tribes. Pizarro’s concubine, Quispe Sisa, had appealed to her mother, the curaca of Huaylas, to help break the siege that Manco Inca had placed the Cuzco under. This was the ultimate driving force that helped the Spaniards conquer the Incas.

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But why did these ideas come post-conquest? Most of these ideas stem from Eurocentrism and have been a disproportional aspect in American studies. These ideas only strive to make the Western Aspect seem stronger than it really is and to provide a just cause behind something that was done only for greed.


The development of the United States has much to do with Manifest Destiny which allowed the U.S. to become the territory we know today. The driving force behind Manifest Destiny was Christianity which makes America a White Christian empire.


Historically, the group that gets the blame for any situation is the newest addition to the nation. Almost every ethnicity, race, or religion has been blamed in one form or another. Whenever some group is introduced to an Empire, they will almost always be the source of blame. The main reason behind this is because they are the new factor that was introduced. The thought behind this is,”If everything was okay before they came, it must be their fault that everything has changed.”

Islamaphobia exists in many parts of the world including Europe and America. Ever since the event of 9/11Islamaphobia has run rampant in the United States. Though it has died down as years have gone by it recently gain more attention with the introduction of ISIS. The fear is still ever prevalent and many crimes against the Muslim community have increased. With President-Elect Donald Trump taking office soon, there have been many Trump supporters that have been documented harassing many non-caucasian and non-Christian people. One of the main groups that have been targeted is the Muslim community.


One incident at UCI, covered by Breitbart News as well as The Tab, had several posters on a bridge that had the text, “Islam Kills” and “Islam vs Gays”. It was on the bridge for about seven minutes before it was taken down by two female students. However, Yiannopoulos is the technology editor as well as senior editor of Breitbart News which can lead to bias as Breitbart is also considered an alt-right news source.


However, this is not in violation to any law as this is protected under the free speech law. The amendment was created very early in the American empire to prevent the government from censoring any thought and idea of the people. The reason many people find this offensive is due to how political correctness has changed over the years.