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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY    AND    THE   INDIVIDUAL
passion was the source both of individual achieve-
ment and of the failure to secure Greek unity. And
so Greece fell under the domination, first of Mace-
donia, and then of Rome.
The Roman Empire, while it was expanding, left
a very considerable degree of individual and local
autonomy in the Provinces, but after Augustus
government gradually acquired a greater and greater
degree of control, and in the end, chiefly through
the severity of taxation, caused the whole system to
break down over the greater part of what had been
the Roman Empire. In what remained, however,
there was no relaxation of control. It was objection
to this minute control, more than any other cause,
that made Justinian's re-conquest of Italy and Africa
so transitory. For those who had at first welcomed
his legions as deliverers from the Goths and Vandals
changed their minds when the legions were followed
by an army of tax gatherers.
Rome's attempt to unify the civilized world came
to grief largely because, perhaps through being both
remote and alien, it failed to bring any measiore of
instinctive happiness even to prosperous citizens. In
its last centuries there was universal pessimism and
lack of vigour. Men felt that life here on earth had
little to offer, and this feeling helped Christianity to
centre men's thoughts on the world to come.
With the eclipse of Rome the West underwent a
very complete transformation. Commerce almost
ceased, the great Roman roads fell into disrepair,
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