Summary of The Fate of Empires

From “The Fate of Empires” by John Glubb:

A) We do not learn from history because our studies are brief and prejudiced.

B) In a surprising manner, 250 years emerges as the average length of national greatness. Table from The Fate of Empires

C) This average has not varied for 3,000 years. Does it represent ten generations?

D) The stages of the rise and fall of great nations seem to be:

  • The Age of Pioneers (outburst)
  • The Age of Conquests
  • The Age of Commerce
  • The Age of Affluence
  • The Age of Intellect
  • The Age of Decadence

E) Decadence is marked by:

  • Defensiveness
  • Pessimism
  • Materialism
  • Frivolity
  • An influx of foreigners
  • The Welfare State
  • A weakening of religion

F) Decadence is due to:

  • Too long a period of wealth and power
  • Selfishness
  • Love of money
  • The loss of a sense of duty

G) The life histories of great states are amazingly similar, and are due to internal factors.

H) Their falls are diverse, because they are largely the result of external causes.

I) History should be taught as the history of the human race, though of course with emphasis on the history of the student’s own country.


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