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Fall of an empire?


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On the BBC News website Viewpoint of historian Michael Wood:

The news from Europe is getting worse by the day. Economic gloom across the continent and multiple crises in the currency zone.

With rising unemployment and inflation there are riots in the streets with forecasts of anarchy in some parts of western Europe.

And along with the simmering discontent there is a worrying rise of radical groups and populist right wing movements. In the fringes, secessionists are pushing for independence, indeed for the break up of the whole European order under which we have all lived secure and comfortable for so long.

At home in Britain there are worrying signs in every town - cuts in public services have led to closures of public baths and libraries, the failure of road maintenance, breakdowns in the food supply and civic order.

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Protests against austerity in Rome by the Coliseum

While political commentators and church leaders talk about a "general decline in morality" and "public apathy", the rich retreat to their mansions and country estates and hoard their cash.

It all sounds eerily familiar doesn't it? But this is not Angela Merkel's eurozone - it is Roman Britannia towards the year 400, the period of the fall of the Roman Empire.

An interesting parallel he draws.

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