— Peter Kropotkin Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, economist, activist, geographer, writer 1842 - 1921
Quelle: The State — Its Historic Role (1897), I
Kontext: The Roman Empire was a State in the real sense of the word. To this day it remains the legist's ideal. Its organs covered a vast domain with a tight network. Everything gravitated towards Rome: economic and military life, wealth, education, nay, even religion. From Rome came the laws, the magistrates, the legions to defend the territory, the prefects and the gods, The whole life of the Empire went back to the Senate — later to the Caesar, the all powerful, omniscient, god of the Empire. Every province, every district had its Capitol in miniature, its small portion of Roman sovereignty to govern every aspect of daily life. A single law, that imposed by Rome, dominated that Empire which did not represent a confederation of fellow citizens but was simply a herd of subjects.
Even now, the legist and the authoritarian still admire the unity of that Empire, the unitarian spirit of its laws and, as they put it, the beauty and harmony of that organization.
But the disintegration from within, hastened by the barbarian invasion; the extinction of local life, which could no longer resist the attacks from outside on the one hand nor the canker spreading from the centre on the other; the domination by the rich who had appropriated the land to themselves and the misery of those who cultivated it — all these causes reduced the Empire to a shambles, and on these ruins a new civilization developed which is now ours.