Sunday, August 30, 2009
This may be true, but we haven't got to that point in the book yet. So far our criticism of his Cydonia and lunar civilization claims is this:
If you sliced author Ricard Hoagland from throat to groin, so much bullshit would spill out that you could keep a village load of organic farmers in operation for a year, at least.
Also, using the same kind of photographic "evidence" as you can find in this book, we have proof that Spider Man is a Satanist. To whit:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Last week I promised to meditate on Gog/Magog while vacationing. This is what happened.
Riding from a carnival. “Something’s happening!” my son yells. “Something’s happening!”
I was shamefully unmindful, caught instead by the realization that each age receives the prophecies it deserves.
We receive what we request.
I considered the two prophecies: Bush proclaimed himself as ben David set to rectify his father’s Persian setbacks—while others decried Bush as Gog himself.
But these are just twin visions operating in the same prophetic space. I can see the two armies clashing as clearly as the valley viewed from the hillock. Yet I also sense a blind spot, something horrible, unseen and looming.
Norman O. Brown, considering H.G. Well’s sense that Mind had reached the end of its Tether, saw a snarling dog (yo!). Only holy madness can break Brown’s leash—ever lunging forward. But it seems to me that the better metaphor might be prophecy as territory.
We are still exploring that prophetic space set in Revelations, discovering new valleys with new interpretations—but outside of this territory is blankness, and our civilization is winding down as we run out room to expand.
“Something’s happening!” my son shouted for the third time.
And then he pooped his pants.
My wife frowns while she sleeps.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My apologies in advance for a methodical, plodding post, but as Freud reminded us, "Man is only Beast lest he tiptoe his way toward Grace."(1)
All of these references are discussed in Sverre Boe's Gog and Magog (expect for the last item on Bush), which is great resource, but the online text has a limited preview and printed copies are difficult to come by.
I hope to actively update this list, so lemme know if you've got any sources to add.
1. Bible: Definitively direct references
a) Genesis 10:2
b) 1 Chronicles 1:5
c) 1 Chronicles 5:4 (clearly a reference to a different “Gog”)
d) Ezekiel 38-39
e) Jubilees 7:19, 8:25, 9:7-8
f) Revelations 19:17-21& 20:7-10
2. Bible: Possible direct references
a) Number 24:7: KJV (Agag) vs. Sepuagint (Gog)
b) Deuteronomy 3:1, 3:13, 4:47 (Codex Vaticanus had “Gog”, but was corrected to “Og”, as shown in the linked KJV)
c) Esther 3:1 & 9:24 (one later Sepuagint manuscript has “Gogite” rather than an “Agagite” as shown in the linked KJV)
d) Amos 7:1: KJV vs. Sepuagint (which ends the verse with “And see! One locust is Gog, the king”) (cf, Joel 1-2 "locust motif" and the "prince" in Ezekiel 38-39)
e) Sirach 48:17: the Codex Vaticanus states “brought Gog into its midst” rather than "brought water", – but I cannot find an English translation of the Codex Vaticanus
3. Bible: Passages that may reference, interpret, or retell Ezekiel 38-39
a) 1 Enoch 56:5-8 (allusions to Ezekiel 38-39)
b) Zechariah 7-14 (perhaps read as a retelling of Ezekiel 38-39)
c) Daniel (significant portions may be read as reinterpretations of Ezekiel 38-39)
4. Qur’an (Koran)
a) 18:86 (Yajuj/Yajooj and Majuj/Majooj = Gog and Magog)
5. Sibylline Oracles Book 3 (The chapter/verse numeration in Boe’s differ from the numeration in this source; here I provide this source's references first--followed by Boe's in parenthesis)
a) 3:393-397 (Boe = 3:319-22)
b) 3:620-656 (Boe = 3:512-513)
c) 795-911? (allusions to Ezekiel 38-39) (Boe = 3,635-731)
a) 4QpIsa a 8-10 III:21 (4Q161 8-10 col III:18-25)
b) Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen) XII:12 & XVII:10,16
c) The War Scroll XI:16
7. Targumim (sorry--again, I have no specifics or links)
a) Targum Jonathan to Ezekiel 38-39
b) Targumim to Genesis 10:2
c) Targumim to Number 11:26
d) Targum Jonathan to 1 Samuel 2:10
e) Tg. Ps.-J to Numbers 24:17 and to Exodus 40:11
f) Targumim to Zech 12:10, to Isa 10:32, to Esth 5:1, and to Cant 8:4
8. Various rabbinic compositions (sorry--you guessed it, no specifics or links yet)
a) Targum Jonathan to Ezekiel 38-39
b) Targumim to Genesis 10:2
c) Targumim to Number 11:26
d) Targum Jonathan to 1 Samuel 2:10
e) Tg. Ps.-J to Numbers 24:17, to Exodus 40:11
f) Targumim to Zech 12:10, to Isa 10:32, to Esth 5:1, to Cant 8:4
a) Flavius Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter 6, paragraph 1
b) 3 Enoch 45:5 – I could not find The Third Book of Enoch online, but see this (Note: Yajuj/Yajooj and Majuj/Majooj = Gog and Magog)
c) Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (i.e., Pseudo-Philo, or The Biblical Antiquities of Philo) 4:2,4 & 5:4 – Noah’s geneology (see also, this)
d) 1001 Nights, (p.19 in this linked copy) (Yajuj/Yajooj and Majuj/Majooj = Gog and Magog)
e) Marco Polo, (pp 235-236 in this linked copy) (Yajuj/Yajooj and Majuj/Majooj = Gog and Magog)
f) Ronald Reagan, 1971, dinner speech to California state legislators -- Sorry for the unreliable looking source—but know that this same speech is quoted on many other sites, including, in part, Boe’s thesis, which, I will relate here: "In the 38th chapter of Ezekiel, it says that the land of Israel will come under attack by the armies of the ungodly nations, and it says that Libya will be among them. Do you understand the significance of that? Libya has now gone Communist, and that's a sign that the day of Armageddon isn't far off. Biblical scholars have been saying for generations that Gog must be Russia. What other powerful nation is to the north of Israel? None. But it didn't seem to make sense before the Russian revolution, when Russia was a Christian country. Now it does, now that Russia has become communistic and atheistic, now that Russia has set itself against God. Now it fits the description of Gog perfectly.... For the first time ever, everything is in place for the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. It can't be too long now. Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God's people. That must mean that they will be destroyed by nuclear weapons."
g) George W. Bush, Jr.
(1) Though not specifically said by Freud, please chisel this on my tomb.
Friday, August 21, 2009
In Pyramid Power, we cited the Los Angeles public library as an example of architecture parlante. This library is more specifically the Richard Riordan Central Library.
According to Wikipedia:
“Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed the original Los Angeles Central Library to mimic the architecture of ancient Egypt. The central tower is topped with a tiled mosaic pyramid with suns on either side with a hand holding a torch representing the "Light of Learning" at the apex. Other elements include sphinxes, snakes, and celestial mosaics.”
According to the LA library website:
“In black unveined Belgian marble with bronze headdresses, the sphinxes symbolize the hidden mysteries of knowledge and guard the approach to the Statue of Civilization.
On the open books is inscribed in Greek, from Plutarch's Morals ("On Isis and Osiris"):
Left Sphinx - "I am all that was and is and is to be and no man hath lifted up my veil."
Right Sphinx - "Therefore the desire of Truth, especially of that which concerns the gods, is itself a yearning after Divinity."”
The library--built in 1926--was originally known simply as the Central Library. It was later named after Rufus B. von KleinSmid but re-christened after Richard Riordan in 2001.
Riordan is a millionaire that decided he needed a new play thing—politics. He ran for mayor in 2003 and won, thereafter deciding to work as mayor of LA for the minimal salary of one dollar a year. Now for some this might be an admirable gesture. But we here at LoS find it rather insulting. A politician is a public servant, a servant of the people. And the people pay their servants. By refusing the salary we have a man who would upend that role; he is no servant of the people; indeed, we assert that he saw himself as the master. It’s a simple fact of human nature: he works for us for free long enough and begins to expect we owe him something in return. There is a fine line, if any, between aristocratic largesse and an arrogant sense of entitlement.
Like having a central library named after him.
But by a gracious little mouse of fate, the evocative whimsy exuded by this Egyptianate library so redolent of mystery knowledge would come back so poetically...resonant.
On July 1, 2004, a children's library event. Young Isis D’Luciano (Isis of the Light) asks Riordan if he knew the meaning of her name.
Riordan responded, "it means stupid, dirty girl," laughed with several others in the crowd, and then asked her what it really meant. She then replied, "It means 'Egyptian goddess'," to which Riordan stated, "That's nifty." He later explained it as a failed attempt at humor.
Now, we can actually think of occasions where calling a kid stupid and dirty might be funny. A public event with a child unknown to you is not one of them. How detached from reality, how arrogant, must one be to think this could be funny in this context? It is, come to think of it....
My Pet Goat.
We like to think that in some form, Isis herself was taking the man down a notch. This man who would buy his way into the the Pharoah’s throne, secure a place at the top of the pyramid with his little psychic war of hearts and minds, lost a battle this day, as the people he pretended to represent struck back and demanded he step down.
It goes without saying, he finished his term.
Anyway, fuck this; we’re off to Magog for a week by the sea.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The news is agog! So, it was a holy war after all? I knew this was LoS terrain soon as I read it, but I have to confess: I didn't know my Gogs from my Magogs ... so I decided to dust off my Bible and goggle and Google my way deeper ... I still haven't figure out what to make of it all, but I have worked out a general sense of the history, which I’ll splay out here in hopes that any readers can correct my misunderstandings and fill in the gaps in my thinking.
Magog in Genesis and 1 Chronicles is, on face value, an actual person. Ezekiel reinterprets Magog as a nation (Genesis is certainly open to an interpretation of Magog as a peoples or a place, although 1 Chronicles resists this reading). Ezekiel and places Gog as the leader of Magog (i.e., presumably, "mat-Gog" = "the place of Gog"), and he prophesizes that Israel will squash a Gog-led invasion from the north. Amos and Numbers also, by some scholars' reckoning, mention Gog. I don't quite have this straight yet, but Amos’ rendering of Gog as the king of the locusts seems to be key to the kind of interpretation that Bush and other contemporary Christian apocalyptic "thinkers" take.
Anyhow, flash forward to Revelations which reinterprets Ezekiel's prophecy by suggesting that Gog/Magog are not some specific peoples north of Israel, but are instead the enemies of the righteous in general. Not only are Gog/Magog generalized, but so, too, are the people they attack. In other words, Revelations opens up the notion of who is besieged, presumably to include Christians not in Israel.
Ezekiel is, of course quite open to this interpretation, just as Genesis was open to Ezekiel's interpretation—but with each new prophecy, there is an reshaping of the combatants, and therefore the nature of the battle. John's (Revelations') expanded sense of the besieged allows his community to join the ultimate winners and line up against a common enemy pressing from all sides.
This proved to be popular—so popular that we apparently have Bush quoting Revelations in attempt to inspire Chirac: "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” (v.20:7-8).
Contemporary Christian apocalyptics seem to maintain John's notion of the generalized righteous under attack—yet they seem to revert back to Ezekiel's notion of a specific enemy located somewhat north of Israel. During the Cold War, these contemporaries often pegged Scythians as Magog, and there was an assumption that the U.S.S.R. was actually holding back the relevant Muslim population (i.e., the Magog) who were too busy with being downtrodden Soviet "citizens" to be bothered with fulfilling the prophecies by invading Israel.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, some people assumed that, in Ezekiel's words, the "hook" was released from the fish's mouth—i.e., Magog was now let loose to start the apocalypse by invading Israel. When that didn't happen, these theories sort of floundered (groan), I think ... until the current line of thinking that holds Bush.
One curious and key thing is that unlike John (i.e., Revelations), Bush and other current crackpots seem to maintain Ezekiel's sense of Israel as the "navel of the Earth" (v.38:12, NAB). Why? I think that there must be another piece of their apocalyptic vision at play here. I seem to recall something about a temple in Israel that needs to rebuilt or captured or something before the Final Kingdom at the end of times? Need to track this down....
Anyhow, this odd re-focus on Israel which contemporary apocalyptic Christians seem to have picked up from Ezekiel has really got a whole 'nother set of crackpots all riled up, somehow turning everything on its head by presenting Bush himself as Gog and, I think, Israel as Magog? How do they pull off this interpretation? I haven't gone down that rabbit-hole of research yet. I do know that Gog/Magog are in the Koran but this seems to have nothing to do with it? The Sibylline texts do seem to reinterpret Gog/Magog, but again I don't see this as relevant here?
But in short, and most importantly, what's the real story here? Why are so many people yearning for the world to end and assuming that they can somehow help to orchestrate the playing out of the fates? The ego is astounding: "I am an agent of God!" they cry, unable to sense that this eliminates their own freewill and therefore the freewill of others and so therefore the possibility of controlling destiny at all, and thus they fail to see the utter black puppetry, nothing but marionettes grasping at each others' strings, f*cking Punch and Judy with actual real nuclear bombs....
I can only assume that relaxing by a lake will reveal all, so I’m going to take the next week off and mull it over.
Meanwhile, here are a few final tidbits to consider:
* The word “gog” means bog or quagmire, which of course has often been used to describe the U.S.’ role in Iraq.
* People also used to use the word “gog” when they were scared to use the Lord’s name in vein, i.e., “by gog’s blood!” Did they somehow invoke Gog’s wrath?
* Why on Earth are there are pair of giant statues in London named Gog and Magog? This type of idolatry cannot be a good idea....
Meanwhile, stay tuned, post corrections and answers, and lemme know yr take on it all....
* A list of sources is published here.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
All the commotion, the kiddie like play
Has people talking, talking
You, your sex is on fire
Sheeyit! Them wimmins is gone plum loco I tellya!
But seriously folks, when we posted about some modern furies a few days ago we never suspected that there were so many other cases of genital arson in recent history.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
In other posts, LoS has addressed the pyramid sculpture in Blagnac called Le Temple de la Sagesse Suprême (Temple of Supreme Wisdom), along with two more pyramids in the same town’s Odyssud park. For a long time we’ve been meaning to get to yet another pyramid in the same town, located quite close by in the dead center of a shopping mall. It’s a small pyramid, but like the Temple of Supreme Wisdom, it also serves as a fountain. Both of which, incidentally, never seem to be flowing.
So this latest discovery got us to thinking and reflecting. A few interesting features pop up. The first is that all of these pyramids look onto the highway which separates Blagnac from its eponymous airport. You might be tempted to go to Google Earth not really expecting to find any meaningful pattern. But you'd wrong. Well, partially anyway. There is a pattern but the meaning, as they say, is in they eye of the beholder.
The three pyramids form a straight line and they are equidistant. To be fair there are two pyramids at the south end of the line. One of these is out of line; it is also covered in trees and looks more like a woody hill than anything else; on Google Earth at least, it is not distinguishable as a pyramid.
There are some other interesting features which may or may not be coincidental.
- Two of the pyramids are fountains, one overlooks a lake.
- The fountain pyramids are inscribed within circular patterns. The southernmost has a circular structure on the top.
- The two fountains are crowned with quite a conspicuous cap.
In form the pyramid evokes solidity and stability; its ancient lineage, longevity. Due to the conditions which produced these ancient pyramids it also evokes power, authority and a kind of social organization capable of compelling thousands of men to build a structure of which they will never have any further part. In this vision of power, as in the structure itself, the great mass below supports and increasingly smaller space above and culminates in a point: a president perhaps, a king, or a God. Think of the Pyramid Scheme, where power and wealth flows upward, distributed thinly among the many at the bottom but increasing concentrated as we ascend the pyramid. Sound familiar?
Archeologists believe that in the mound-building city of Cahokia the tops of mounds were reserved for two purposes. They served either as ceremonial spaces for exclusive religious rites, or they were reserved for the dwellings of Kings. In the Aztec culture, the pyramids were also the exclusive domain of priests and nobility. Commoners only went up there to have their hearts torn out or the skin flayed from their bodies. In Mayan pyramids too, pyramids were reserved for the priests and the nobility, places where various rites and sacrifices were performed. They also served as funerary monuments. In Egypt, Pyramids were not primarily ritual spaces but funerary monuments. As such, they were erected to edify the Pharaohs, not only supreme political leaders but quite literally gods. They were not for commoners such as we.
The pyramid or triangle as a metaphor for the distribution of power is typical of the European ideal. The Catholic Church for example: a mass of believers, then the priests, the bishops, the arch-bishops, the cardinals and finally, at the pinnacle, the pope. The same structure more or less defined the Roman Empire, or any other resultant European monarchy.
At least until the rise of commercial entities as significant powers, power in Europe was pretty much concentrated among the aristocracy and its attendant military elite—the same thing, really—and the church. Not surprising that church and state were so inexorably intertwined, and even today in places like the US, political leaders still attempt to perfume their politics with the odor of sanctity--hence all the photo ops with religious leaders, heads bowed in prayer, references to God, etc. ad nauseum.
In times past, the military elite and the aristocracy were set apart as cavalrymen. Only the rich could afford to maintain a horse for combat and to have the intense training necessary to be a good mounted warrior. Foot soldiers were usually just peasants without proper military training. But even during the rise of the professional standing army the cavalry tended to be drawn from the aristocracy.
Today of course the horse as a combat animal has been all but rendered obsolete, but it still remains a mark of wealth. It’s very expensive to maintain a horse correctly. The game of Polo remains a sport of the aristocratic and the wealthy, and players of the sport and owners of racehorses obsess over the bloodlines of their beasts as urgently as they obsess over their own.
Nowadays, the most elite members of the military are its fighter pilots. This remains the most competitive and selective part of the military one can aspire to. That is unless you have aristocratic connections: think of George Bush, an admittedly mediocre student and George McCain, who graduated Annapolis near the bottom of his class. Both were flyboys--despite not really being the kind of man usually accepted for flight training--because of their “aristocratic” connection. Grandsons of Senators, Admirals and scions with wealth and political connections can get what they want regardless of their merit.
This aspect of the pilot as elite symbol is interesting given the location of these pyramids. Blagnac is the Aerospace capital not only of France, but of Europe. It is the home of Airbus and scores of first, second and third tier subcontractors for Airbus and the aerospace industry. From Ariane rockets to Dassault fighter planes, much of their parts are produced here.
Simply put, aviation is the source of immense wealth for the city and the region.
But there is ananother elitist aspect to the plane--what is a more fitting symbol of wealth and power than the private jet? Why do so many moguls become interested in flying all of a sudden? It’s fun, sure, but isn’t there something symbolic in flying high above the dirt-covered huddled masses, a kind of big nose thumbing made possible only for those with enough money to actually go out and buy their own plane?
Where else but on the commercial jetliner is the division of wealth so clearly defined, literally, by classes? Where else do people so freely give up their right to probable cause?
The town fathers celebrate chose to celebrate their "new" economic order the way the priest-kings of times past celebrated their own social structure. The Temple of Supreme Wisdom squats heavily over a map of the world, its central eye peering over the roundabout, its point poking through a structure representing the state.
Similarly, the Odyssud pyramid is crowned with a round map not only of the visible sights to be observed in all directions but those unobservable as well; it tells us that in such a direction lies Italy; in another, Germany. Not a map of the world, but of Europe, at least.
And the last pyramid, a small echo of the others, so small as to be discrete, marks the center of a large new shopping mall. It’s as if it is there to tell us about the new world order which the pyramid represents. Politics, religion, bloodlines, race, religion. All bow before the new European ideal. The continent may not have a constitution but it does have its single currency.
First things first, evidently.
And to remind us yet again of how that money came to Blagnac, the ceiling above our heads is in the form of a skeleton for an enormous sheltering wing.
Taking pictures of this pyramid and architecture, Daurade was approached by a squat little security guard, a little nervous and scowling, who informed him that taking pictures is forbidden. So there you have it. On the city streets one is free to photograph what one wants. But as all this public space is enclosed and privatized, public inquiry and expression are somewhat less free. In fact, taking a photo is forbidden. Whatever the reason for this, security probably, it still doesn’t eclipse the fact that in this new world order everything will be for sale, and those with money to buy are welcome. As long as the money keeps flowing in the right direction: up towards the pinnacle.
That the pyramid is emblematic of prestige is supported by documents about the Place de la Revolution. This plaza was conceived of as a “southern gate” to the then future neighbourhood called Grand-Noble, an evocative name not requiring much explanation. Speaking of its location, the documents speak of “the symbolic importance of this public plaza regarding the ‘High quality’ image that the city of Blagnac wants to develop within the Toulouse metropolitan area.” (….l’importance symbolique de cette place publique au regard de l’image « High quality » que la ville de Blagnac veut développer au sein de l’agglomération toulousaine.)
Like Lebowski’s rug, it seems to have been conceived of a way to tie the room together. The plaza is a rectangle inscribed within an ellipse with four orthogonal branches. The documents say that the east/west branches form the principle link between the highway and the heart of the Grand Noble. The north branch leads to a future office park while the south links the airport to the city’s economic center and beyond. These four corners of the world—echoing the map of the globe in elliptical form below the central pyramid—are principally seen as important as a link between the airport, the highway and commercial areas. They had high hopes for the plaza and to “assure the greatest chances of success” announced a competition for an architectural, artistic and landscape development. They chose the pyramid.
References to the airplane are ubiquitous in the towns surrounding the Airbus campus. Street names honor the pioneers of French avionics. A vertical stabilizer adorns a traffic circle. In Colomiers, across the campus from Toulouse, there are even traffic lights shaped like miniature airplanes, all ad astra as they illuminate those below. Pushing the resonant envelope a bit, buildings on this road evoke mausoleums and are located in a place with the unusual English name of Green Park, which incidentally is the name of more than a few American cemeteries. Perhaps it’s only a coincidence but this park, planted with palm trees, is only a stone’s throw away from the A330-321 memorial, where 7 test pilots were killed in 1994. The Colomiers crematorium is also in the vicinity.
The author of this picture of the memorial (Jaques Meursault) explicitly asks that the photo not be used without permission, so please click on the link to see it in its original home. Google Earth provides us with a different view:
It is is something of an oddity, as the receding stylized "runway" is itself evocative of a pyramid with a kind of halo—or eye—at its pinnacle. From the Meursault photo one can see that the "pyramid" is constructed of alternating bands of dark and light grey; these can be seen from the satellite photos as well. Unfortunately one can't determine the number of bands from either.
The monument is also like a stylized keyhole; if so, it remains locked; internet searches bring up little info on the memorial.
Monday, August 10, 2009
According to Wikipedia:
The Erinyes are particularly known for the persecution of Orestes for the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra.
By some accounts our drunken limey chose the wrong woman at whom to shake his dick and make sexual advances towards. In Greece, it would seem, revenge is a dish best served hot.
What fellow wouldn't shudder at such a pair of stories? It's not a John Bobbitt de-dicking, but it's still not fun to think about; and if the Copycat Effect is a real phenomenon, we can only warn badly-behaved men to reconsider their ways.
This all took place in the Electra bar on the isle of Crete.
Electra is the sister of the aforementioned Orestes, who murdered his mother and her lover to avenge his father's murder. Although the legend is usually about Orestes' revenge and subsequent flight from the avenging Furies, Electra is often depicted as an accomplice. Both Sophocles and Eurip ides named their theatrical version of events after her and she not Orestes is the central character. Indeed, in Euripides' version, when Orestes hesitates to commit matricide, it's Electra who goads him on. She and her brother kill Clytemnestra by making her deep throat a sword.
So remember that the next time you feel like calling a fury, er--a woman--a bitch; just say "yes, dear" instead.
Yeah, sorry; cheap joke. Especially when just a day before the nut roast a turdling by the name George Sodini charged into a health club and killed 3 woman and injured nine others before turning the gun on himself, mainly because he couldn't get laid.
War of the sexes indeed....
Monday, August 3, 2009
You show us the Feral House, but let me please present you with the Feral Bike:
It makes a lovely corpse, but I'm not sure which kind of careless abandon is the greater crime; if it be a crime at all.
You Americans say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Oh how we proud Gauls know this! But you might also add a third truth: that sooner or later each one of us will have to decide whether or not to acknowledge the ghost in the wheatfield.
As you can see, even ghosts cast shadows.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The economy of the Empire was basically a Raubwirtschaft or plunder economy based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything new. The Empire relied on booty from conquered territories (this source of revenue ending, of course, with the end of Roman territorial expansion) or on a pattern of tax collection that drove small-scale farmers into destitution (and onto a dole that required even more exactions upon those who could not escape taxation), or into dependency upon a landed élite exempt from taxation. With the cessation of tribute from conquered territories, the full cost of their military machine had to be borne by the citizenry.
We are startled into clarity.
(Props to Jon Taplin for connecting these observations.)