The Fall of Ancient Rome


What causes the fall of civilization? Some people have advanced cyclical theories, which have no substance in causal fact. Since Darwin, however, Race Scientists have taken the view that the most common cause of the decline of a civilization is a change in the biological character of the people. Thus, race-mixing, especially when the mixture is with a race of different or inferior ability, can and almost invariably does, bring about the downfall of civilizations. Here Roger Pearson follows the analysis of Professor Hans F. K. Gunther, to show how a racial change accompanied, or more properly, preceded, the decline of Imperial Rome. This article is an extract from the paperback entitled Early Nordic Civilizations, now published by Noontide Press.

Anthropological and archaeological research reveals that during the Neolithic period Northwest Europe shared a common culture with distinct and characteristic forms which corresponded to a definite racial type. Southern Scandinavia and northwestern Germany appear to reveal the earliest traces of this culture, while the oldest Nordic remains in central and southern Germany, and in the British Isles, show that these countries were settled by Nordic peoples at a somewhat later date.

Unfortunately the record of the earliest period of out-going migration from this area is difficult to follow, since for a period of time the practice of body-burning prevailed, and the old saga of Beowulf tells us that the corpse of this great English hero was burned and not buried; but archaeology makes it possible for us to trace the Nordic migrations, even during the body-burning period, by the styles of building, ornament and technology which were left for us in the soil as Nordic culture spread throughout Europe. We can now see the Early Nordic peoples of the Neolithic Age moving steadily southwards in a broad stream from central and south Germany to the Balkans. With them goes the rectangular house, and the journey is traced in heavy panoply: strongholds mark its way. The word now is not merely peaceful penetration but conquest. So it is that Troy, on the Hellespont, is reached by them; so Mycenae and Tiryns are reached through Thessaly and Boeotia.... Into Italy the Italic-Nordic streams came first along the road from Valona into the Po and Tiber country. Only much later, in the Hallstatt period, however, did Nordic nations enter into Britain, France and Spain in the west. But in these movements, all alike starting from the same center, we behold our continent becoming Indo-European.

The Nordic Folkwandering

The Nordic tribes that took part in this early folk-wandering were many. The Nordic Phrygians went to Troy and Asia Minor; their close relatives the Keltic-type Nordic Hellenes to Greece; the Nordic Italics (Italians or Romans) to Italy; the Nordic Kelts to France and Spain. To all these lands they brought their Indo-European languages (for Latin and Greek were also Indo-European tongues) and established themselves as a ruling class, usually over a numerically superior Mediterranean or Slav people.

Thus the builders of ancient Rome were the Nordic-Italic tribes which gave Italy its name, and as long ago as 2000 B.C. pile lake-dwellings in upper Italy show that a migration from north of the Alps had taken place. The immigrants burned their dead, and the pottery and burnings both point to a Nordic background. The lake-villages were laid out in regular patterns, similar to the later Roma quadrata, and there were apparently rituals connected with the bridges which led from the land to the villages, which are perhaps reflected in the title of "pontifex" for the chief priest in Rome.

The main Italian migration which led to the foundation of Rome, however, came later during the Bronze Age. The pottery again shows that central Germany must have been the original home of these people, and the Latin language, which is closely akin to the Keltic group, is also Indo-European. The Italians appear to have entered Italy over the Eastern Alps from Austria, and then moved down the centre of Italy, skirting the firmly entrenched Etruscan state. Relatively few in number, they were organized on a simple and stern warriors code, and the Latins appear in many ways to have been more Nordic than the Hellenes, certainly in their greater earnestness, the Roman gravitas and virtus, and the greater freedom for women.

The earliest Italian records tell of the legendary wars with the Etruscans, when Horatio kept the bridge, and saved Rome, and also of the slow extension of nationhood between the various Italic tribes, the Umbrians, Oscians, Sabellans and Sabines. We hear of the Oscian love of fighting, and the truthfulness and feminine chastity of the Sabines. The oldest constitution reveals a class system based on race: the 300 Patricians who make up the Roman Senate represent the 300 families of the Latine and Sabine tribe of the Nordic conquerors, whereas the Plebeians correspond to the subject Mediterranean-Alpine population, with Dinaric and Hither Asiatic elements, and the descendants of the Ligurian-Iberians. Marriage customs are different in the two groups, and although the Plebeians appear to some extent to have retained mother-rights in inheritance, the Nordics adhere to paternal lineage. The fair Romans had the proverb, quoted by Horace (Sat., i. 4, 85): :hic niger es; hunc tu, Romane, caveto; He is black, beware of him, Roman.

The oldest element in Roman Law is the Twelve Tables, and in this we find provision for the killing of misshapen children. The later Roman Laws strove also, without forgetting the eugenic ideal, to raise the number of children. Even then Seneca wrote, "We drown the weaklings and misshapen. It is not unreason but reason to separate the fit from the unfit." But before that, in 445 B.C., the first element of decay had already appeared, when the law, the Lex Canuleia de Connubio permitted marriages between Patricians and Plebeians. Until this law the children of mixed descent went always to the Plebeian stock, thus tending if anything to spread Nordic blood amongst the Plebeians. This was the pars deterior, or the "worse hand" as old German laws called it. Now, instead, the blood of the Plebeians was to mingle with the Nordic upper classes. This was the first step in the downfall of Rome, sure to bring evil even though its effects were slow.

Patrician Losses

The history of the Roman constitution pictures the change in racial stratification of the Roman population, as power passes steadily into the hands of the Plebeians. The wars with the Nordic Kelts were borne by the Nordic Patricians the most. From the Patrician class came the soldiers and the administrators of the conquered territories. Cato (d. 109 B.C.) was the type of true Roman, born from the high nobility, with lofty aims, a complete patriot, a statesman and a general. According to Plutarch and a satirical poem he was fair-haired and light-eyed. But in his time Nordic blood was already running thinner. The old Roman names are still chosen – Fulvius, Flavus, Rufus and others denoting coloring, and of two kinsmen one is called Niger (the dark) and the other Rufus (the fair) to discriminate between identical names. But after the Punic Wars all the old Patrician families were said to have vanished, but for a dozen or so.

In the civil wars Nordic blood was spilt lavishly. Marius, leader of the Plebeians, after his victory over fair-haired and light-eyed (Plutarch) Sulla, had many leading members of the nobility executed, and Sulla afterwards took similar vengeance on the leaders of the Plebeians, amongst whom, due to the operation of the old marriage laws, a considerable amount of Nordic blood must have spread. Another blow was the disappearance, outside the city, of the yeoman Nordic peasantry in the entire area of Italic settlement, with the import of cheap corn from the colonies. It is generally in the country, in contact with Nature and the land, that Nordic blood keeps fittest and survives the longest. The fall of the Republic was the fall also of the Last of the Patrician element. Bled of its Nordic class, the Republic gave way and the government passed to a series of autocrats, purporting to have the sympathy of the Plebeian masses, whose support they won often with "bread and circuses." Imperial rule in Rome took on the cloak of Oriental despotic magnificence, but it was merely a splendid cloak hiding a mouldering body.

Corruption Appears

The old Republican nobility were replaced by a new moneyed nobility, the equites, who thrived on financial speculation and lived in great personal luxury. Their example was the beginning of moral decay, and while their financial power ground down the freeman, the officials were corrupted by their bribes. So Caesar commented (Gallic Wars i. 39, 40), and Vergil protested that a new race must come down from heaven if the situation were to be rectified. As the old Italic blood died out, the administration began to fear for the recruitment of the legions. Censor Mettellus had in 131 B.C. demanded legal sanction to oblige citizens to marry. Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Trajan and Hadrian provided for rewards to parents of numerous families. But without success, the effects of war were not made good; and to fill the empty spaces foreign blood flowed into Italy. As in modem days, the inferior appeared to have the higher birth-rate, and as a result the last days of Rome are repulsive. Pliny noticed this, and pointed out that in the early days of Rome, there had been little need for physicians. There came also a proverb, "A crooked countenance is followed by crooked morals" (distortum vultum sequitur distortio morum). The blood of hundreds of thousands of slaves, mostly from Africa and Asia, turned Imperial Rome into a racial morass, and finally citizenship was extended to all freemen living within the limits of the empire. This last low was published under the infamous Caracalla (A.D. 212), the son of an African slave and a Syrian woman, a notorious criminal degenerate.

The larger part of the Roman population must, by the birth of Christ, have been Mediterranean-Dinaric-Alpine. Caesar, who was himself tan and light-eyed with Nordic features, compares the Romans with the Gauls of that age, indicating how short the Romans were by comparison, and mentions that the Keltic Coritavi of modem Lincolnshire were blond in youth, and by comparison tall, for the minimum height of the Roman soldier had by that time been brought down to 1.48 metres (5'10"). When considering height, however, we must recollect that this is determined not merely by heredity, but by diet and health in infancy.

Many of the more noble and thoughtful men who survived turned to Stoicism, in dislike of the sophistry and falseness of the age; Cicero's De Officiis gives a Nordic spirit to those few noble men who struggled on. But Stoicism was without hope in its philosophy, and in consequence militated against marriage. These last strong figures of ancient Rome were lonely, and many were in fact banished and executed. But for the fact that new Keltic and Nordic blood was seeping in from France and Germany, to give Rome a backbone of strong legions, and later on even administrators, the collapse of this repulsive charade would have been spontaneous.

A number of the later Emperors who strove to hold the disintegrating and festering empire together were of immediate German origin. The first of these was Maximinus Thrax (A.D. 235-238), the son of a Goth man and an Alan woman, both Nordic peoples. According to every record he was of giant stature, strikingly handsome, and dazzlingly fair. Valentinian I (A.D. 375), was also of "barbaric blood", with tall stature (in relation to the Plebeians who would seem very short by modem English or German averages), fair skin, blue eyes and light hair. With the influx of German mercenaries to the legions, it became possible to raise the height of the army in the fourth century to 1.65 metres (6'6"), and for the Guard to 1.72 metres (6'9"). Textullian portrays, perhaps with some exaggeration, the revival of life in the Empire following the new German or Gothic influx, which became especially marked with the Gothic conquest and rule of Theodoric. "The world strides on from day to day," he writes, "Now there are roads everywhere, all is looked into, all is busy. Estates have taken the place of ill-famed wildernesses, forests are held in check by sown land, swamps are drained dry, wild life is driven back before the herds, sandy wastes are sown, there are more towns than there were once huts."

But the old Romano-Nordic power and lineage was gone, for Textullion wrote in the last days of the old empire, already mingling with the beginning of the Middle Ages. The invasions of Odoacer (A.D. 476) and Theodoric represent the fresh wave of Teutonic conquest which was to usher in the Middle Ages and to set the pattern for the modem nations of Europe today. Rome itself had become a racial morass which was despised by the new conquerors, a mob in which only now and then would Nordic characteristics reappear. It was the rabble which made Jahn say: "The purer a people the better; the more mixed it is the more it is like a rabble." Amongst all this the Christian state church now built homes for the poor and protected the lowest from the law. But in doing so it made the propagation of the mentally and physically weak possible, and "with much good has also come much evil."

Painted Statues

Despite all this, the ideal of beauty remained Nordic to the end. Up to the second century A.D. Roman portrait busts were painted, the hair often showing remains of paint which was of a light brown color, and the features quite frequently Nordic. It may be, however, that the idea of light-coloring for the hair was deliberate, as coloring is usually the first thing to change with darker admixtures, and the light hair coloring is more frequent than the Nordic features, light-coloring could therefore be deliberate to give an aristocratic impression.

From the point of view of individual choice, nevertheless, anyone amongst the nobility who had dark hair liked to hide it, and Juvenal tells us (Sat. vt IM) that Messalina hid her black hair under a fair wig, while the rich new Plebeians bought fair hair from Germany to make wigs for their wives and daughters, and give them the "noble appearance" which Vergil gave to the blond Mercury, Turnus, Camillus, Lavinia, and even Dido, the Phoenician. Ovid mentions the custom of fair wigs, Martial, Lucan and Pliny give methods of dying the hair blond. Even half-African Caracalla wore a blond wig and walked around in Germanic garb. Both Horace and Vergil's ideal of beauty is the Nordic, and Ovid paints Romulus and Remus as fair. Apuleius born of parentage in an African colony, calls himself slender, tall and blond, and follows Platonistic philosophy.

Most of the sculptures representing Romans also show Nordic features, a narrow face, long head, sharp chin, and the famous "Roman nose," though again, how far did the sculptor err in favor of traditional ideas of beauty with the intention of flattering? Marcus Antonius, Caesar, Galba, Vespasian and Trajan were all praised for having the handsome "High Mountain Form" forehead, the high brow which is so typically Nordic. It is an irony that the racial characters that once qualified the whole race, should remain the ideal of beauty amongst the rabble of aliens, ugly in their heterogeneous confusion of characteristics. But such was the case in Rome. The memory of the Heroic Age was eagerly seized by all who could take power, by fair means or foul, but that age could not be recaptured, and despite the temporary improvements effected by Germanic conquerors such as Theodoric, the racial material on which they had to work was of little value, and their efforts bore no fruit after their own demise.

Western Destiny – Volume X – Number 9