Faustian Rome: The Indo-European Nature of the Roman Republic, Part 2

Mosaic depicting Roman slaves

Go to Part 1.

The Racial Decline of the Roman People

In more exacting terms, the long-term consequences of Republican Rome’s exposure to the Hellenistic East, and later to exclusively non-Indo-European populations in North Africa, was the beginning of a process of racial decline which would unfurl gradually, reaching its apex in the later Imperial period, and finally end with the collapse of a united Rome Empire in 476 A.D.. The seeds of demographic decline begin in earnest during the Republican period, blossomed to fruition during the Principate, culminating in a cataclysmically irreversible crescendo during the despotism of the tumultuous Dominate period. More specifically, it was during the reign of the Emperor Claudius (r. 41–54AD) in which the first non-Roman, non-Italic citizens, was granted the freedom to hold political office within the city of Rome itself. [11] Claudius himself was born in Lugdunum (modern-day Lyons, France) and his extending of the political enfranchisement to non-Romans was quite revolutionary at the time. As elaborated upon previously, Rome was a relatively open society, and when non-Romano-Italic peoples, specifically interrelated, racially accordant Indo-European peoples, like the Gauls, Germans or European Greeks were incorporated into the proverbial Roman fold, civilizational stability occurred; similar racio-cultural populations more easily assimilated to Roman racio-cultural norms. However, when non-Indo-European people, such as the largely Semitic population of ancient Judea were incorporated into the Empire, civilizational chaos was the result, as assimilation proved impossible, and as such more coercive forms of tyrannical government became the norm.

Furthermore, beginning during the period of Civil War and as first practiced by Marius and Sulla, and then by Augustus, and all future emperors, Roman military colonies were established throughout the entirety of the Roman world. During the early Imperial period, a majority of the military colonies were placed in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and would over the years drastically, and negatively influence the Indo-Roman racial hegemony of the original Romans. As the Roman, and the Romanized Indo-European racio-cultural core population groups came into sustained contact with non-Indo-European peoples, racial miscegenation inevitably followed. As a result of sustained contact, via the processes of Imperial incorporation, the Roman Empire became less Indo-Roman, and incrementally transformed into something that was both generically “Imperial” and consequently deracinated, which  in turn resulted in a demographic decline of the Empires vital European population core. 

More saliently, and the clash of civilizations aside, it was the importation of slaves, specifically from Northern Africa and the formerly Hellenistic East, which precipitated the spread of Indo-Roman racio-cultural decline in the Empire itself. In 79 A.D. a pyroclastic volcanic eruption occurred at the Mount Vesuvius in southern Italy and laid waste to huge swathes of the surrounding countryside. Two ancient cities that we know of were destroyed in the wake of the devastation, these being the now famous Pompeii, and the less famous Herculaneum. In point of fact, and relevant to the purpose of this essay, it is actually the recently excavated archeological evidence gleaned from both Pompeii and Herculaneum, which provides us with the best, earliest evidence, for the beginning of the racial shift taking hold in the Empire. Both settlements would be what we moderns would classify as “resort towns,” thanks in part to their warm and sunny environments, and as such were frequented and populated by a number of Roman citizens of the upper strata of society. Possessing slaves was a way of life throughout the ancient world, and perhaps as high of 40% of the population of Pompeii were slaves. [12] Beginning first under Augustus, and later under Claudius, Roman expansion and eventual annexation of various non-Indo-European territories (e.g., Pamphylia & Lycia in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Judea and the surrounding “Hellenistic” areas of the ancient Near East, and most notably for our purposes, of Mauretania in what is now part of the greater Maghreb region of Northern Africa) contributed greatly to the racio-cultural heterogenization, and in turn dissolution of the Indo-Roman racial element of the Roman world. [13]

These newly conquered territories, all of which were fully annexed by the Roman Empire, provided a huge reservoir of slaves utilized by the citizens of the Roman Empire, presumably including those in Pompeii. It’s important to note that during the time of Empire’s expansion under Claudius, a number of slaves came from the recently annexed territories of Thrace (modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and European Turkey) and Noricum (modern-day Austria and Slovenia). These areas were populated by Indo-European peoples, and thus were a relative historical and racial non-issue in terms of assimilation into the great Indo-Roman collective; rather it was the importation of slaves from the non-Indo-European world which exacerbated the demographic decline of the Roman Empire, as Romans often freed their slaves so that they were then able to intermix with their former masters.

The process of manumission, that is the act of granting a slave freedom, was widespread during both the Republican and Imperial periods, and it was the granting of citizenship as an instrument of the process of Romanization which inevitably introduced a number of non-Indo-European population elements into formerly homogenous population of ancient Rome. Romanization was used during the intra-racial wars of conquest during the Republican period, specifically by Julius Caesar in Gaul, as a means of pacifying and in turn eventually utilizing the human capital of a conquered population. However, when used against a non-Indo-European peoples, its effects would be insidiously destructive. During the Republican period, and formalized under the Emperor Augustus vis-à-vis the Lex Fufia Caninia and the Lex Aelia Sentia, the number of slaves that could be manumitted per individual slaveholder was limited to a specific percentage of the total number of slaves owned. This limitation acted as a socio-legal mechanism to regulate the composition of the Roman population. [14]

Performing some basic mathematical calculations and using Pompeii as a point of a reference for the wider Roman world, we can get a rough estimate of  the demographic changes occurring as a result of the importation of non-Indo-European slaves into the Roman world. The population of Pompeii prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius was around 20,000 people, with an estimated 40% of these individuals being slaves, meaning that at least 8,000 of the inhabitants of Pompeii were slaves. [15] Manumission was popular in the Roman world, and became more popular during the Imperial system as the increasingly moribund patron-client system of the Republican past became less pervasive as social norms shifted towards the aspirations of a political-business, rather than an aristocratic-warrior elite. However, as a vestige of the patron-client system, freed slaves, so-called freedmen, were incorporated into the social networks of their former masters. Somewhere around 50% of all slaves in the early Imperial period were eventually manumitted. [16]

Returning again to Pompeii and its approximate 8,000 slaves, had Mount Vesuvius not erupted, around 4,000 of these individuals would have been manumitted and made citizens. In accordance with the inegalitarian and hierarchical nature of Rome’s Indo-European past, society was stratified, and as such recently freed slaves, were granted citizenship, but didn’t possess the full rights, privileges and duties of full Roman citizenship. However, the descendants of these freedmen were given full Roman citizenship rights; a bit tenuously, this is akin to citizenship laws in the United States, with the children of illegals possessing full-citizenship rights when their parents do not; it is a recipe for demographic disaster. Taking into consideration an annual population growth rate of around 0.01% from the 12th century B.C. to the 2rd century A.D., then an increased growth rate of around 0.6% from the 3rd century forward in the core territories that constituted the Roman world, and even factoring in an infant mortality rate of roughly 25%, the 4,000 manumitted slaves, with presumably more than 50% of them being of a non-Indo-European origin, would account for a significant percentage of the population growth experienced by Rome during the later Imperial periods. [17] Moreover, r/K selection theory posits that individuals of lower-status will compensate for low levels of parental investment with the siring of more offspring, and recently manumitted freedmen, particularly from low-IQ areas, such as North Africa, would be a prime example of this process of selection, which would in turn would exert a dysgenic effect over the entire population.

During the Republic, Rome was characterized by racio-cultural homogeneity. As the Republic expanded and as the old racio-cultural norms became less relevant to a growing segment of the population based outside of the Italian peninsula and its geographically proximate surrounding environs, the Romans adopted formalized legal codifications, like the above-mentioned laws on manumission, to regulate demography and population mechanics. These laws were governed by the Constitution of the Roman Republic, and adhered to formally throughout the entirety of the Republican period, then later by Augustus, and informally to a less stringent extent by his Julio-Claudian and early Flavian dynastic successors, finally being terminated during the reign of the Emperor Domitian (r. AD 81–96), which in turn opened the demographic floodgates [18]. The Roman historian Suetonius stated that Augustus formalized the above legislation so as to “protect the citizen body” from the “infusion of alien blood into the pure Roman blood stream,” and when this protective mechanism was removed by Domitian, demographic transition ensued. [19]

In sum, Roman expansion into non-Indo-European territories, with the concomitant expansion of slavery into those territories, compounded by a deracinated Imperial ideology and underpinned out of necessity by the spirit of despotism rather than the racio-cultural values of Indo-Europe, was a major factor in Rome’s eventual collapse. Moreover, the foundations of this process of degenerative racial decline begin to emerge during the maelstrom of the Late Republican period, not actually flowering fully in the Empire itself until the monumental demographic shift is evidenced most saliently during the ascension of the Romano-Punic Severan dynasty, most notably under the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.

Like race and culture, race and morality are inextricably linked. The morality of the Roman world, more specifically what was considered good, just and virtuous, was predicated upon and itself a derivative of the Indo-European martial spirit intrinsic to the spirit of Faustian Man. In even more generalized terms, the warrior ethos of Republican Rome was heroic in nature. All combat by nature is brutal, and in the ancient world the brutality of war was magnified exponentially by its face-to-face nature, particularly when compared to the depersonalized state of war in the contemporary world, not to mention the dire consequences to the defeated (often slavery). In Republican Rome, specifically within the context of the earliest “phalanx-like” and later manipular organizational structures of the army, combat was hand-to-hand, and consisted of the youngest individuals in the first ranks engaging in bloody, face-to-face combat. Thus, those in the first ranks were the only individuals actively involved in the bloodletting, and their martial prowess was more determined by their ability to endure, rather than by enemy body count. Being heroic in the Roman context was the ability to face death with one’s brothers-in-arms. This form of combat was in itself a transformation of the single combat popularized by the literary works of Homer. Interestingly, when a Roman citizen, always a solider in the early Republic, wished to reaffirm his virtus (Latin: ‘virtue’) he would proudly display his back to onlookers. A back free of the scars of combat showed his fellow Romans that this particular Roman had stayed true in battle and never retreated, never surrendered.

Aside from being part and parcel of the Indo-European racio-cultural inheritance to the early Romans, the virtues needed to endure the ferocity of combat were also those highly prized by Roman society writ large, such as Auctoritas (‘Authority’), Comitas (‘Courtesy’), Clementia (‘Mercy’), Dignitas (‘Dignity’), Frugalitas (‘Simplicity’), Gravitas (‘Importance’), Honestas (‘Respectability’), Pietas (‘Duty’), Industria (‘Hard-work’), and Severitas (‘Sternness’). The quintessential nature of the warrior ethos of ancient Rome is best encapsulated in a saying by the second-century A.D. historian, Onasander, an ethnic Greek, but a true Indo-European Roman, who wrote, “The duty of a general is to ride by the ranks on horseback, show himself to those in danger, praise the brave, threaten the cowardly, encourage the lazy, fill up the gaps, transpose a unit if necessary, bring aid to the wearied, anticipate the crisis, the hour and the outcome.” [20] Onasander’s description of what constitutes the nature of a good general not only illustrates the heroic nature of the Indo-European warrior ethos as it manifested in both the Republican and sporadically throughout the Imperial periods, but is also extremely revealing about the warrior impulse that has animated all Indo-European successor societies from prehistory to the present.

From an Indo-European lens, to be “heroic” is to be brave and daring, to seek out adversity not solely for the purposes of material gain, but rather for the attainment of spiritual gain, the type of spiritual gain which emanates from the overcoming of obstacles greater than oneself. In the heroically infused, duty bound, honor-bound world of the Roman Republic, and in congruity with the wider racio-cultural virtues of the Indo-European world, and as a testament to the level of importance given to the concept of the heroic, Roman generals were known to swear a death oath, or more accurately a solemn religious pledge known as the devotio. When a Roman general sensed that military victory was impossible, he swore, and in turn consecrated the oath of the devotio, i.e., to die a violent death in combat and to pledge himself to the will of the gods of the underworld, dii inferii, so that by his violent sacrifice, victory would be achieved. The devotio is an excellent tool for measuring the shift in morality, and by extension decline of the Indo-Roman population core, that occurred in the transition from the Republic to the Empire. More exactingly, adherence to, or the lack thereof to the oath of the devotio illustrates not only the de-Indo-Europeanization of ancient Rome, but can also be used as a metric indicative of the loss of the martial spirit being experienced by all contemporary European societies, concomitantly with the racial decline of its European population. The Faustian soul of Europe is the spirit of competition, and the loss of the warrior ethos that accompanies this sense of competition is an excellent instrument for measuring the deviation from racio-cultural norms of our shared Faustian European patrimony. I

In short, a loss of the sense of the concept of the ‘heroic’ is a metric for measuring European population homogeneity or lack thereof. When European societies are healthy, and thus homogenous, the concept of the heroic, the sense of sacrificing oneself for the community is high, whereas in the contemporary world of racial atomization, the concept of the heroic is low, and actively opposed by the ruling regime.


The decline of Roman civilization was an incremental process, but one which began towards the end of the late Republican period, snowballing uncontrollably as racial degeneration fueled further and further deviation from the virtues of the Indo-European world, culminating in widespread instability from the 3rd century A.D. onwards. In all Indo-European-derived successor societies, from ancient Greece to Republican Rome, to the High Middle Ages to our present epoch, deviation from the racio-cultural values unique to our Indo-European nature causes civilizational decline. Republican Rome’s close proximity to, continual interaction with, and constant attempted assimilation of non-Indo-European societies, in concomitance with increased levels of racial miscegenation and a decreased level of adherence to the values which animated the soul of Faustian Europe, sowed the seeds of its eventual, albeit slow-motion collapse. Normally, and speaking from an evolutionary perspective, environmental stressors catalyze a stress response, which in turn leads to adaptability and evolution. However, in the case of Republican Rome a rapidly shifting demographic base, in conjunction with shifting definitions of citizenship, rendered more haphazardous by a widening deviation away from the racio-cultural values of their Indo-European forbearers, laid the foundation for the eventual collapse of the Republic.

Of course, ancient Rome survived, and intermittently thrived for hundreds of years after the fall of the Republic, but it did so as a hollow shell of its former self. We contemporary Europeans find ourselves in a situation parallel to that of our Roman predecessors. Like the Romans, we too find ourselves in a world of rapidly changing demographics, negatively compounded by amorphously defined notions of citizenship, made even more pernicious by the rapid dissipation of the racio-cultural values which made European civilization so gloriously successful. With these parallels in mind, the question becomes, do we sit back and imbibe in the decadence of civilizational collapse, like many of the Romans of times past, and all too many of our deracinated racial kinfolk of times present? Or do we resist, and begin to reclaim our ancestral birthright by revitalizing the marital ethos of our momentous Indo-European past?

Works Cited

[1] Jon Stone, The Routledge Dictionary of Latin quotations: the Illiteratis Guide to Latin Maxims, Mottoes, Proverbs and Sayings (New York: Routledge, 2005), 72.

[2] Ricardo Duchesne, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization (Boston: Brill Academic Pub, 2012).

[3] Livy, translator B.O. Foster, History of Rome, Vol. I, Books 1-2 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1919).  [4] Jérôme Carcopino, Daily Life in Ancient Rome: The People and the City at the Height of the Empire (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2003), 22.

[4] Jeremiah McCall, The Sword of Rome, A Biography of Marcus Claudius Marcellus (Barnsley, UK: Pen and Sword Books, 2012), vii.

[5] Nicholas Bunnin & Jiyuan Yu, The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 698.

[6] T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood, (London, UK: Faber & Faber, 1997), 3.

[7] Ilkka Syvänne, Caracalla: A Military Biography (Barnsley, UK: Pen and Sword Books, 2017), 105.

[8] Nicholas Wade, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (London, UK: Penguin Books, 2015).

[9] James C. Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation (Oxford, UK, 1996).

[10] Porter B. Williamson, General Patton’s Principles for Life and Leadership (NYC, NY: Management & Systems Consultants, 2009), 58.

[11] Kevin Macdonald, The Roman Variant of Indo-European Society: Militarization, Aristocratic Government, and Openness to Conquered Peoples.

[12] Marisa Ranieri Panetta, Pompeii: The History, Life and Art of the Buried City (Davis, CA: White Star Publishers, 2013).

[13] Josiah Osgood, Claudius Caesar: Image and Power in the Early Roman Empire (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

[14] William Linn Westermann, The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity (Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society, 1955), 42, 45.

[15] William Linn Westermann, 42, 45.

[16] ibid, 42, 45.

[17] Walter Scheidel & Steven Friesen, The Size of the Economy and the Distribution of Income in the Roman Empire (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

[18] Brian W. Jones, The Emperor Domitian (New York, NY: Routledge, 1993).

[19] ibid, 42, 45.[20] Adrian Goldsworthy, In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire (New Haven, CT: Phoenix Press, 2013), 13.

15 replies

Comments are closed.