A Modern Emperor

Reading Norman Cantor’s Medieval History, and this passage on the Roman emperor Diocletian struck me:

Diocletian, a general of Balkan peasant stock, saw that desperate times require desperate measures. He worked to reform the imperial system and produced a great totalitarian structure similar to that of Egyptian despotism, with Constantine putting the finishing touches to this monstrous edifice. The emperor was elevated to a sacred position in the orientalist manner, with an elevated throne, diadems, and imperial robes….The elaborate spiritual and physical elevation of the emperor restored much prestige to him, impressing greatly the people of low eduction and little sophistication.

And here we are witnessing it again, with all the stupidity and racism Trump’s blind followers can lavish upon his altar.

The secret police, informers, and torture of citizens that followed Diocletian will come as a surprise only to those who worship his modern counterpart most.

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