glyph 603: history of the emergence of freeorder . Byzantium renamed by Sean Gabb: Mediaeval Roman Empire . principles of cultural endurance . courage, determination . importance of dependable property boundaries
Sean Gabb was invited by Professor Hans Hoppe to speak at the September 2018 conference of the Property and Freedom Society.
I have been asked to speak about the Emergence and Survival of the Byzantine Empire. I believe that the subject is entirely relevant. Properly considered, the history of what I will from now call not the Byzantine Empire, but the Mediaeval Roman Empire, is perhaps the most astonishing instance of how courage and determination can keep civilisation alive in the face of the most forbidding and apparently overpowering challenges.
The Mediaeval Roman Empire survived because of a revolutionary transformation in which ordinary people became armed stakeholders. The inhabitants of Roman Gaul and Italy and Spain barely looked up from their ploughs as the Barbarians swirled round them. The citizens of Mediaeval Rome fought like tigers in defence of their country and their Orthodox faith. Time and again, the armies of the Caliph smashed against a wall of armed freeholders. This was a transformation pushed through in a century and a half of recurrent crises during which Constantinople itself was repeatedly under siege. Alone among the ancient empires in its path, Mediaeval Rome faced down the Arabs, and kept Islam at bay for nearly five centuries. Would it be superfluous to say that no one does this by accident?
December 18, 2018; edited/updated March 31, 2019