All great nations, commonwealths and empires are inclined to lose their way, No matter how powerful and fixed they may seem eventually they all fall into disarray, ‘tis the cost of unbridled success. The journey from foundation to decay can take a decade, a few centuries or seemingly forever. Some family lines live out their entire span under such magnificent constructs, never knowing or even contemplating the terrible darkness of social anarchy.
The cause of the downfall of the mighty is never obvious, cut and dried, the alternatives being so dreadful as to make any semblance of continuation exceptionally preferable. Nevertheless collapse always occurs, on occasion through the entitlement of the powerful elite, alternatively via the drive of the less fortunate for attain full and equal opportunity. All hierarchies requite order, grading, levels of control and good fortune, equality is a most desirous social aim, but a political nightmare, resultant in a top-heavy society bound to founder in the assured mire of variability.
Populations by natural law expand, ‘tis the will and pleasure of the beast, and therefore by necessity need growth in land mass, agricultural production and national wealth. Such demands are inclined to create friction between the various classes of a people, chaffing sufficiently to result in open affray in extreme instances.
Expansion also results in conflict, the need for the incorporation, militarily, politically, or financially of adjacent lands and peoples. This aim is accomplished by conquest of amalgamation. Conquest results in a nominally slave population, amalgamation an increase in citizenship, which simply amplifies the existing strains upon the whole. Empires and commonwealths choose conquest, nations are inclined towards amalgamations, a process less likely to result in long-term disruption and hostility.
The Roman empire chose a combination, conquest followed by amalgamation. A clever and successful ruse, till the former Barbarians, now citizens, demanded political and social equality, an impossible request whilst retaining the hierarchy’s status quo.