The Goths and The Romans

October 15, 2005
A ''just war'' is hospitable to every self-deception on the part of those waging it, none more than the certainty of virtue, under whose shelter every abomination can be committed with a clear conscience
 
Alexander Cockburn 1941-, Anglo-Irish Journalist
 
This is very well know story or should be very well known for it reveals many interesting lessons. The Goths were composed of two tribes the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths and they both lived along the lower Danube and the northern coast of the Black Sea where they coexisted relatively peacefully with the Roman Empire until the arrival of the Huns.
 
The Huns (who were nomadic warriors) attacked and virtually destroyed the Ostrogoths and thus the now panicked Visigoths asked Rome for permission to cross the Danube in 376. However once they crossed into the Roman zone, they were exploited and treated as dirt. For safe refuge Emperor Valens extorted a high and humiliating price; these proud warriors had to surrender their weapon and give up all their male children to the Romans. The Goths hid their weapons but gave up their male off spring to the Romans where they were to serve as slaves. Being constantly mistreated, exploited (they were fighting the Romans wars now, tens of thousands of Goths served the Roman Army, mostly in the cavalry) and lied to constantly angered them; the situation got so bad that they started killing their own dogs for food. This constant mistreatment led them to form alliances with other East European Germanic tribes and they encouraged the Western European tribes to revolt along the Rhine.
Valens the Roman Emperor at the time decided this was unacceptable and that it was time to eliminate the Goths once and for all. He marched his army (378 AD) which was composed of 20,000 men of the Roman cavalry and 40,000 men from the Roman Infantry to destroy the Goths. The battle of adrinople is one of the most famous historic battles ever; before the battle began Valens army outnumbered the 50,000 Goth foot soldiers as their cavalry was away on raids. Valens specifically chose this moment, as it would be far easier to crush the Goths with their cavalry away. At the beginning everything seemed to go the Romans way; the skilled Roman legions and cavalry seemed to have control of the situation and it looked like victory was all but assured. Suddenly the Gothic cavalry numbering 50,000 returned and attacked the Roman army and virtually destroyed their cavalry, which left the Roman foot soldiers defenses to the attacks of the Gothic horsemen. This was one of the biggest military blunders as it was the first time a Roman emperor had been killed in war and what made it worse was that their army and Emperor were destroyed by barbarians. The battle of Adrianople was the worst defeat the Romans had suffered since the German victory in AD 9 at Teutoburger Wald. St. Ambrose called the battle of Adrianople, "the end of all humanity, the end of the world."

The new Eastern emperor, Theodosius I (the Great) negotiated a peace settlement though this would not last long. He knew the Roman army had suffered a huge defeat and that they simply did not have enough solders to tackle the Goths. (Remember one of the reasons Romans were constantly fighting was because they had occupied many lands and therefore had to constantly defend them against attacks; their forces were slowly but surely being stretched).

Finally they were given land, which they could call their own, but they were still treated as second-class citizens and their Soldiers were still used to perform all the dirty deeds for the Romans. They were now an integral part of the Roman army and when Emperor Theodosius died the troops rebelled and chose Alaric as their leader. King Alaric then proceeded to attack and eventually crushed Rome in 410 ending 800 years of power.

Conclusion

The morale of this story is rather simple; even the weakest will one-day rise if you constantly keep trampling on their rights and the mighty will fall if they do not understand the limits of their power. If you look at the US currently it is no different from Rome, our so-called Empire is stretching our Army to the Max and at the same time the rights of individuals here are being trampled on. In addition we are still seeking more battles with countries like Iran, which could only stretch our already depleted resources (army) even further. The Goths in this case are none other than the Iraqis and to some extent the Afghanis; almost 3 years later and the Iraqis are still fighting to get basic resources such as clean water and electricity. Whether we are right or wrong is no longer the question the question now is whether they think we are right or wrong; clearly based on the increased levels of violence they think we are in the wrong.

History has repeatedly shown that great powers fail because they fail to anticipate the strength of the weak. Point and case the US completely miscalculated the flow of events; instead of being treated as saviours indefinitely they are being treated as invaders and the level of hate towards the US has increased almost 100fold worldwide.

If history is any thing to go by then it seems just like Rome and the former world power Great Britain, the US is setting the stage to be unseated by a new super power. It seems that generations later we have not changed we are still essentially just barbarians, instead of using swords and knives we use guns and bombs; the outcome is still the same unnecessary death.

One final note and its rather ironical the Visigoths whom the Romans so mistreated were the ones that actually ended up preserving the Roman culture after the fall of Rome.

Wars need to be paid for and in modern times this is done via printing more money, which simply slowly but surely causes the price of everyday necessities and base materials to rise. The rise at first is slow but then it gathers momentum. Since we are printing so much money the effects are going to be large. Almost everything that cannot be printed starts to take off; antique paintings (the prices of these paintings keep shooting up at an incredible pace as indicated by recent auctions), collectibles, rare coins etc. Precious metals such as Platinum, Gold and Silver will also experience huge price gains as more money is printed (these metals provide a hedge against inflation; Silver and Gold are the main ones but platinum is slowly coming into the picture also). The entire commodity sector (grains, metals (base and precious), energy, agricultural products such as grains, dairy, coffee, cocoa etc) will also experience huge gains; indeed some of these markets have already experienced decent gains. Remember though nothing goes up in a straight line so in between expect corrections, which will represent good buying opportunities. Oil is experiencing one such correction at the moment and it should slowly spill over to the full metals sector. Once again we are talking about a correction and not crash.

In the end war does not pay. King Alaric of the Visigoths after sacking Rome decided that he would take the grain producing regions of North Africa. Unfortunately he never made it, storms in the sea destroyed most of his army and he himself was struck by fever and eventually died. The Visigoths carried on moving and were eventually destroyed by the moors. We could go on and on but the theme here is that everyone seems to get corrupted by power. They fight for freedom and then they want more, hence a just cause is now turned into a dirty cause. The eventual result is downfall and defeat.

America is addicted to wars of distraction.

Barbara Ehrenreich 1941-, American Author, Columnist

 


 

© 2005 Sol Palha

TACTICAL INVESTOR

www.tacticalinvestor.com

info@tacticalinvestor.com

15 October 2005

Gold is found in nature in quartz veins

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