A Fire in Rome

Hubert Robert (undated, he lived 1733-1808), A Fire in Rome.

“[…] the age is now senile […] the World itself […] testifies to its own decline by giving manifold concrete evidences of the process of decay.  There is a diminution in the winter rains that give nourishment to the seeds in the earth, and in the summer heats that ripen the harvests.  The springs have less freshness and the autumns less fecundity.  The mountains, disembowelled and worn out, yield a lower output of marble; the mines, exhausted, furnish a smaller stock of the precious metals: the veins are impoverished, and they shrink daily.  There is a decrease and deficiency of farmers in the field, of sailors on the sea, of soldiers in the barracks, of honesty in the marketplace, of justice in court, of concord in friendship, of skill in technique, of strictness in morals. […] Anything that is near its end, and is verging towards its decline and fall is bound to dwindle. […] This is the sentence that has been passed upon the World […] this loss of strength and of stature must end, at last, in annihilation.” – Cyprian (~3rd Century A.D.), Ad Demetrianum.

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