12/22/10 In 43 BC, over 2,000 years ago, warring consuls Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian were duking it out with each other over control of Rome following Julius Caesar’s assassination the prior March.
Each had legions at his disposal, and Rome’s terrified Senate sat on its hands waiting for the outcome. Ultimately, the three men chose to unite their powers and rule Rome together in what became known as the Second Triumvirate. This body was established by a law named Lex Titia in 43 BC.
The foundation of the Second Triumvirate is of tremendous historical importance: As the group wielded dictatorial powers, it represented the final nail in the coffin in Rome’s transition from republic to malignant autocracy.
The Second Triumvirate expired after 10 years, upon which Octavian waged war on his partners once again, resulting in Mark Antony’s famed suicide with Cleopatra in 31 BC. Octavian was eventually rewarded with nearly supreme power, and he is generally regarded as Rome’s first emperor.
Things only got worse from there. Tiberius, Octavian’s successor, was a paranoid deviant with a lust for executions. He spent the last decade of his reign completely detached from Rome, living in Capri.
Following Tiberius was Caligula, infamous for his moral depravity and insanity. According to Roman historians Suetonius and Cassius Dio, Caligula would send his legions on pointless marches and turned his palace into a bordello of such repute that it inspired the 1979 porno film named for him.
Caligula was followed by Claudius, a stammering, slobbering, confused man as described by his contemporaries. Then there was Nero, who not only managed to burn down his city, but was also the first emperor to debase the value of Rome’s currency.
You know the rest of the story – Romans watched their leadership and country get worse and worse.
All along the way, there were two types of people: The first group was folks that figured, “This has GOT to be the bottom; it can only get better from here.” Their patriotism was rewarded with reduced civil liberties, higher taxes, insane despots, and a debased currency.
The other group consisted of people who looked at the warning signs and thought, “I have to get out of here.” They followed their instincts and moved on to other places where they could build their lives, survive, and prosper.
I’m raising this point because I’d like to open a debate. Some consider the latter idea of expatriating to be akin to ‘running away.’ I recall a rather impassioned comment from a reader who suggested, “leaving, i.e. running away, is certainly not the proper response.”