rectifying a flaky-looking assertion

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Sun, 19 May 1996 16:06:51 CDT

/* SEEN DYS-ORIENT-ATION the etiology whereof is abandonment of EUROCENT- */
/* RIC eurocurrency card along with the EUROCENTRIC HISTORICAL ORIENTATION.*/
In an earlier post, of egregious length, I dismissed "The Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire" as myth. This is not to say that the Western
Empire did not go down the tubes, as recorded, culminating in the deposition
of Romulus Augustulus in 476, and all that; much less, that there is still
such a place today, where the European Union is alleged to be by the
Conspirators. It's still myth in that "The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire" is a usage diagnostic of a Eurocentric perspective; hence, that
it likewise, and by consequence, misses certain Very Important Things.
These influenced what and where the Romans defended or even expanded;
and not entirely by conscious design, either. It merely happened that

I. Boldly go where no Greek has gone before.

In Ancient Wisdom, 1971, Arnaldo Momigliano tells us that the Greeks of
Massalia lived for centuries surrounded by Celtic peoples, fighting the
odd localized genocidal war, yet contriving to know next to nothing about
the Celtic peoples of Gaul. What the Massaliotes figured they knew was, it
was safer to sail out the Pillars of Hercules[Straits of Gibraltar], hang
a right, hug the coast up to near the Channel, and load up tin from the
mines of Cornwall, Britain, then go back home, rather than explore the
possibilities of the excellent river system of the interior nearby. This
was fear of Fierce and Warlike Tribes; Indian Country in armenian. Momig-
liani says that not until the personal sacrosanctity of the local Greeks
was guaranteed by Roman power did the Massaliotes undertake what were, in
essence, intelligence missions for Rome. That's wherefrom Julius Caesar
knew what he'd be up against.

2. Illicit sex and politics, 59 BC.

It wasn't that the Romans acquired their empire "in a fit of absence of
mind." It was coldblooded aggression supposedly concealabe by a tiresome
litany of "defensive war," "defense of allies," "credibility as a great
power," etc, which fooled nobody. Nor was it that the State subsidized,
via empire, its "private sector," though it did that, too, while empire
as a whole, a la J.A. Hobson, Imperialism, 1903, lost money; which in the
Roman case, it did not. The Romans had pillaged everything lootable in the
former Hellenistic East (saving Egypt for last). Millions of people were
uprooted and enslaved; this made literally tons of money. Even infrastruct-
ural expenses, like suppressing the Cilician Pirates, added more territory
and loot. The Roman State, and its ruling generals and politicians, were
rolling in so much money that it didn't really matter where the money was
coming from and that they didn't know.

Julius Caesar was in Trouble when the First Triumvirate (Pompey, Caesar,
Crassus) dissolved thanks to the military stupidity of Marcus Licinius
Crassus, killed in bungled war with the Parthian Empire, later known as
easy prey. Without Crassus' money to shield him, Caesar stood no chance
against Pompey, the ruling strongman. The viable strategy was to win the
59 BC election for consul, get command of an army, conquer Someplace Big,
and with these devoted loot-surfeited veterans at his back, Go For It up
against The Big Guy. He had just such a place in mind, *totia gallia in
partes tres divisa est*; the election was, however, not entirely fixable.
Hence a personal motive, repayment of campaign debts, for taking it out
of the hides of the Gauls. The principal item of expense was a fabulously
expensive necklace, wherefor he paid either a million or a million and a
half sesterces, depending on what you read. Forget about the purchasing
power in terms of. Call it big money.

The recipient was the intended victim of seduction by Julius Caesar. He
succeeded, publicized the fact as widely as possible, and won the election,
possibly even for that reason. Here is where Gennifer Flowers turns over in
her grave. Among Romans of that era, as among us, illicit/extramarital sex
figured prominently in politics, howbeit differently: The aspiring young
Roman career politician would target the wife of a senior, prestigious,
highly-connected, pedigreed-aristocrat Senator, and attempt seduction. The
Nobler her husband, and the more exalted her own reputation for Chastity,
the more spectacular, more popular, the achievement. (Women could not vote,
of course, nor would they entertain the appaling idea in the first place.)
The cuckold himself might even recognize the seducer as a Real Comer, and
extend his political support. This was Roman Virtue, *virtus*, and *strictu
sensu* at that, as in the Motto of the State of Mississippi, *virtute et
armis*, by manliness and weapons. There were other manly virtues, of course,
eg *gravitas*, heavy, weighty, for instance, but *virtus* was derived from
*vir*, man, as in *virilitas*, also and above all, military prowess. Think
*macho*, which comes from the Greek *makkimos*, fighting man, via Arabic.
(Sorry you couldn't live to see the day, Gennifer, Paula, etc, etc. You'd
be cast, say, as Elizabeth Dole's maids.)

All biographers of Julius Caesar and historians of the late Republic agree
on Caesar's motives here.

It wasn't until the foundation of the Principate by Augustus, 27BC-14AD,
that someone, anyone, knew which parts of the Empire lost or made money.
Gaul wasn't, on the whole, a big moneymaker; and in its defense, Augustus,
cheapskate that he was, invested modestly in a border-shortening expedition
which in AD 9 got exterminated by Herrmann ("Arminius") the German at the
Teutoberger Wald. Expansion in Europe ceased, excepting only for Claudius'
conquest of Britain, 44 AD.

According to the World's Leading Authority, Fergus Millar, the Prinicipate
was "a personal monarchy of a very primitive kind." It was also a political
regime which lasted two and a half, up to three centuries.

During the long and tedious temporal stretch of the Principate, from the
slave's-eye-view, that is, there were certain dramatic spurts of expansion,
indeed. The first of these, Britain aside, came under Trajan, a Spanish
general. As Paranoid megalomaniacs go, Trajan was a reasonable man, so not
all of his conquests were abandoned by his successor, Hadrian, another
Western provincial. Such as Roman Arabia (annexed 106). Here the motive
wasn't political; the ruling class of the Nabataean Arab Kingdom was about
as subservient as you could get; it was fiscal, ie, cutting out the middle-
man, which those rich - notwithstanding the absence of the petrodollar or
even the petro - Arabs represented. Another tough Spaniard, Septimus Severus,
settled-down in Syria as he was, tore another chunk out of the motheaten
Parthian Empire, extending Roman frontiers to their easternmost. Things
Syrian sloshed all over Rome, including Syrian religions: of Atargatis,
"the Syrian Aphrodite," possibly a racist insult to Atargatis, who was
far sexier than the cheap Greek imitation[?]; of Heliogabalus, the Sun
God of Emesa, of Attys, who died and was resurrected, and Jesus the Christ
of Antioch, a friend of the latter. At this time, Antioch was the prinipal
industrial city of the Empire, population 400,000; equipped with circus
for chariot-racing and other crowd-pleasers; arena for gladiator-killing;
theater for claque-rivalry; and lots lots more. Antioch was a radiating
center of Latinism in the Greek East, along with Berytus (Beirut), site
of the most renowned school of Roman Law in the empire. What paid for all
of this?

3. What *did* pay for all of this?

I'm glad you asked that question. Fast rewind to 90AD, Later Han Dynasty,
China. Ban Chao[P'an Ch'ao], brother or Ban Gu and their sister Ban Zhao,
qv's all around, good for your development, but unlike them Warlike, fought
his way west, deep into Central Asia, to the oasis of Kucha and beyond, into
what's now some Republic or other hived off from the ex-USSR. A Fighting
General was he. (Hint: instead of Kucha, remember "stone pillar.") Thus
was opened for business, or Under New Management, the Chinese Dromedary
Turnpike, or Silk Road, the world's most famous nonexistently-paved highway
till the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Dromedary caravans leaving Northwest China would
turn around at the Stone Pillar, exchange cargoes with Parthin or Persian
caravans rendezvousing or running into them there, and each side turning
around and going home. Home, for the Parthians, was overland - of course! -
via Afghanistan (through some tough tribes), then the territories of the
Parthian Empire proper (known to the Chinese as An Pi[P'i], having been
told by deceitful, inscrutable Occidentals that the way from Parthia to
Rome, An Pu[P'u] to Chinese, was dreadfully long and lethal, so much so
they couldn't dare show their guests anything), to the city of Nisibis,
sole point on the Roman-Parthian frontier where Roman and Parthian goods
were legally exchangeable. this was very very far to the east of where
the border was in Augustus' day; the Parthians had lost half of Mesopotamia
and more.

The principle was, caravan traffic was *so profitable* at every short
stretch of the trade route the aggressor could conquer or recover more than
paid for itself in tolls and taxes! Coining money! Literally!
What about warfare costs?
I'm glad you asked that question. The Parthians, for reasons apparently
entirely beyond their control, were quite unable to effect a politico-military
restructuring to redress the Balance of Power. As we'd call it. Under the
influence of British usage. However the Parthians saw it metaphorically,
"Rome did not have a Parthian problem. Parthia had a Roman problem." (Brian
Campbell, "War and Diplomacy: Rome and Parthia, 31BC-AD235" in John Rich &
Graham Shipley (Eds.), War and Society in the Roman World. Routledge, 1993.
As supporting evidence, "Millar, has argued that the concept of war in
the east was concretely embodied in the strategic priorities chosen by
emperors, and that the most significant choice was the occupation of Meso-
potamia and the readiness to fight repeated wars for it."[1] p. 237.
p.237n, [1]"Millar 1982, 20, 22. Isaac 1990 also believes that the frontier
policy of Rome in the East was intermittently but persistently aimed at

4. How long could all this go on?

"Look here," you say, "we've all read Theda Skocpol, all the big-time,
big-name theorists of Revolution, and what does the trick is military
defeat. Even *back then*, somebody shoulda caught on, said, say hey,
we are patsies, let's overthrow the established order, or howyacallit."
And, after a few hundred years, you'd be right! In 224, not long after
the Parthians finally did the trick and beat a Roman army at Nisibis,
the warlord of Persis, in southern Iran, revolted against his overlord,
whose power was based in the north; short work was the regime made of.
The nouveauxistic rulers were Sassanids, whose ideological programme,
if we were outlandishly Stretching Things, we'd call Zoroastrian fundamen-
talism cum Achaemenid pseudo-Traditionalism. All Traditionalism, necessarily,
is Pseudo, given how we've defined Tradition, see this writer, circa 1994;
so that's a Redundancy. But then, as one who's out of work forever, it's
my moral duty.

Antioch was, for the Romans, Silk City. Silk was the greatest thing that
happened to stylish women in the West till nylon, a true democratization.
Unlike Roman citizenship, as proferred promiscuously by Caracalla (211-217)
in 212 (He was the son and successor of Septimus Severus, 193-211). This
move rationalized the caste system of Roman Imperial society, hitherto
complicated by privileges of citizenship or lack thereof. Henceforth, there
were to be, among the free, the privileged, *honestiores*, or those not, the
*humiliores*. Said gulf vastly overwhelmed that between free and slave, as
the latter blurred somewhere just south of serfdom; eg, *servi casati*,
hutted slaves.
Chinese women, who had to make the silk from the cocoons of silkworms
stuffed into disgusting obesity by incessant plying with mulberry leaves,
might have been converted to a Faith promising Salvation as Nylon; what
they got was Mahayana Buddhism. The latter's verdict on Roman women's
uses of silk necessarily, however, must have fallen short of Christian
views, whereby Antioch was Sin City. In particular, the fashionable ladies
of Antioch wore transparent silk gauze on the street for that naked, excuse
me, nude, we're dealing with *class* here, look. It is supposed that, most
commonly, the ultimate objective was the veiled look of respectable Roman
married women, which Muhammad ibn-Abdullah personally observed in Late
Antique Damascus, incorporating it into his own prescriptions as a commend-
ably Civilized practice. (The preceding smut was brought to you as a Reada-
bility Break.)

5. Are you saying that one third of the Roman Army....

No, I did not, but that's the fraction of it that was stationed in and
around the Parthian frontier zone, Syria, and points south and north, once
the threat of Jewish subverion and peasant war had abated. You were saying?

"...was devoted to protecting and if possible expanding what amounted
to the *economic motor* of the Roman Empire?"

Only were I a World-Systems theorist; rather, I'm a *qualified* World-
Systems theorist.
"Why, did you pass the Test?"
Look here, Chris Chase-Dunn of World Systems Network signed my cubscout
badge. Look, I *despise* these jokes, don't bother me.
Only after the Third Century Crisis can you, even you, actually say that
the Silk Road profits and associated riches actually *were* the economic
motor of the Roman Empire. Readers of J.H. McNeill, Plagues and Peoples,
will recall the decimation of the Roman and Chinese Empires commencing
circa 180, the close of the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the West and
the descent of the Chinese Han Dynasty into terminal military dictatorship
and the Yellow Turbans peasant war incited by revolutionary Daoism (as
propagated by the Great Peace and Five Pecks of Rice schools, both led
by men possessing the charismatic surname Zhang). Associated with the
rise of Cao Cao, King of Wei at his death in 220, and the partition of
the Empire. Cut back to the West. The Roman version, at times, had three
generals claiming to be legitimate Emperor; and even that species had a
turnover every two or three years.
In the Roman Empire, demographic collapse by the 230s and 240s had
caused a drastic shortfall in state revenue collected from the free
population; uncultivated land - *agres vacantes* - becomes as serious
problem in political economy here and now. As death rates in the cities
were highest, the collapse of the commercial slave-worked estates surrounding
the cities in the West (whose consumer products they had hiterto supplied);
cities and estates had been founded in close temporal proximity; they now
fell together. Such was truest of Gaul, where Roman *civitates* were recent
novelties along with demographic transfers (the enslaved) from the East.
Gaul, notably in the north, was henceforth moneylosing except, solely, for
rural magnates with holdings so vast and autarchic they could render their
hutted slaves and serfs profitable and productive, after a fashion. The
East of the empire continued to enjoy a much higher level of urbanization,
civilized amenity, and monetarization; and it was at Antioch, significantly,
that the most important document dealing with Price Stability was issued, by
a truly great Albanian.

"Albanians, why you got a bug up your bonnet about Albanians?"
Look, just one moment. In the year 270, a revolt broke out against Rome,
at first quite unintentionally.
"'[Excrement] happens,' I suppose their lawyer tried to plead in court;
like to see him get 'em off with beh-"
Romans and Chinese of this period shared a certain disgusting method of
execution which, it's true, survives to this day in Saudi Arabia, but there
are many other disgusting features of both empires which were likewise con-
temporaneous. And, strictly speaking, Romans applied even more disgusting
techniques of killing to *humiliores* and slaves. Some did the work; others
the Civilization. It was, seemingly, in the Nature of Things. Life was
cruel, hard, short; and increasingly, lacking in money to pay for previous
forms of spiritual comfort. So-called Paganism went broke, in other words.
"Christianity and Mayayana Buddhism, you are going to tell me, reached
outside the money economy."
When they penetrated the countryside. But at this time, the fewer or
smaller the cities, likewise the Christians or Buddhists. Christianity,
curiously, was found where the cash was. Starting in Antioch, the earliest
Christian community. Whose renegade bishop, curiously, was patronized by
the rebel leader, a woman. Zanab, Zenobia, of Palmyra. The City State That
Ate Rome. Palmyra, or Tadmor, as it called itself, was a dink town that got
filthy, incredibly rich off the China Silk Route. It had its own vast herds
of transport dromedaries, a fleet of boats on the Euphrates, and Nouveau
Vulgarian architecture, not without a certain grandeur. The locals spoke
their own, local, semitic dialect (not unrelated to Aramaic) with local-
talent script, deities, and temples they were worshipped in. Zanab pushed
the right of her son to the title of Roman Emperor held by her late husband,
Oedenathus, who'd claimed the title, basically, as a status-seeking move,
with nothing to stop him. As his wife and mother of his heir, Zanab assumed
power, using the forces of Palmyra, small as they were, to take over one
third of the Roman Empire; mostly, this was done by agreement, without
fighting. Let's *faute-de-mieux*-ic and dance, sotospeak.
Then, in 272, Aurelian, who'd been Emperor since 269, arrived in Syria,
promised Sol Invictus, aka (or formerly) Heliogabalus, a nice birthday
present on the god's birthday, Dec 25, and in a swift campaign, captured
Zanab having won easily. (She was kept in a luxurious human zoo and displayed,
to raise money, to the Roman people who bought tickets.) Dec 25 was made a
legal holiday, has been ever since.
"The lady got silk to wear at least? And this Aurelian was Albanian?"
Yes to the second. Albania, or *Illyria*, was the only place you could
go anywhere near the Roman East to find tough tribals, in dense concentration,
free of the grip of princely landlords zealously jealous of every scrap of
even potential human labour-power. Look at this map of Europe. Wherever
Rome ruled, and the pre-Roman language survives to this day, I'll show you
a *tough tribe*, or People, whom the Romans durst not mess with. Welsh,
Basque, Albanian, Berber. That's it. As soldier material, as fighting
generals, even as a dynasty of Ottoman statesmen, the Albanians have had
terrific historical importance. What they've lacked, in recent times, is
appreciation of the historical importance of Albanian-speakers due to their
having been called Other Things. Such as Illyrian Emperors. I give you John
V.A. Fine, The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to
the Late Twelfth Century. Ann Arbor: U Mich. Press, 1991.

Linguistically, these three peoples [Illyrians, Thrcians, Dacians] were
all Indo-Europeans....Traditionally, scholars have seen the Dacians as the
ancestors of the modern Rumanians and Vlachs, and the Illyrians as the
proto-Albanians. Perhaps (keeping in mind the frequent ethnic mixing as
well as cultural and linguistic evolution) we should retain this view.
However, from time to time, these views have been challenged, very fre-
quently for modern nationalistic reasons. For example, if the Illyrians
were the ancestors of the modern Albanians, then the Albanians, as abori-
ginal inhabitants, have some historic right to that region and possibly
rights to other regions which had been settled by Illyrians. (p. 10)

The author, above, omits consideration of the extreme incongruity of the
dominant ethnic group of a country which is internationally reputed or con-
strued as archetypal Lower Slobbovia, getting reputed by a reputed non-
Albanian, me, who's Jewish, as what amounts to a Race of Heroes. Well, not
so. The fruits of economic backwardness and poverty strategically located,
as indicated, are quite frequently the circumstance of running away to the
local, or anyway some, Army, and finding oneself appreciated. The bloodfeud
survives not only in the Albanian hills, but also in the Albanian neighbour-
hood around Tremont Av, Bronx, New York City, where victims of such crimes
die unwitnessed and perpetrators never caught. (The origins of the disputes,
when known, are invariably decades old, having their inceptions in Albania.)
Note: "Macedonian" as well as "Illyrian" disguise Albanian-speakers; as
in, "Justinian The Great was, by birth, an illiterate Macedonian peasant."

Insensibly, the Albanian soldiers who took over the Empire concentrated
their attention and energies on those portions of the Empire whence derived
steady wealth in large quantities. And withdrew it from those regions which
drained the state's armed men and resources. As Lowborn Tribals, their views
of earlier vested interests were perhaps a bit more "objective" with respect
to the Empire as an entity. Britain, for example, was held until the last
possible moment, because its flourishing *villa* economy (in the fourth
century) produced agricultural surpluses which, as in the Battle of
Strasbourg, 361, fed the troops holding the Rhine frontier (against the
Alemanni, in this case); this, Gaul itself manifestly no longer could do.
Most precious of all, next to the breadbaskets of the Empire, above
all Egypt, was the source of liquid wealth, the urban East, formostly
Syria. Diocletian established an Imperial Residence at Antioch, and in 303
issued his Price Edict there. To Diocletian is given credit for stabilization
of the (gold) currency, which maintained its metallic value till the 1060s.
(Roman *solidus*; later the Byzantine *nomisma* or "bezant.") The Price Edict
has been denounced by bourgeois historians as shortsighted meddling with the
sacred Free Market; howbeit, the Antioch mob was not to be messed with. (Qv
"Day of the Statues," Antioch, 383; this was the biggest food riot in the
history of the Empire.)

Constantine, a second-generation Albanian general commanding a Welsh army
in Britain, seized power in 312, in civil war. He reversed his predecessors'
religious policies, reinforced their economic ones. Toward the latter end,
Constantine definitively shifted the politico-military core of the Empire
to the east. Constantinople was not merely one of four Imperial Residences;
it was a permanent capital replacing Rome. The latter, and the Western Empire
as its nominal custodian, was subsidized from the beginning by the Eastern
Empire for prestige reasons; and when self-interest supervened, the handouts
were cut off or the two regimes became mutually hostile. The mystery of Where
Was The Roman Army in the fifth century is, in part, soluble as, "The Eastern
Empire couldn't spare one at the time."

Denser population in the East facilitated collection of the *annona*, tax
in kind (in particular, for the Army). But the presence of large, thriving
cities tempted Constantine to tax trade for cash, whence the *chrysargyron*,
"tax of gold and silver." Which was levied upon shopkeepers, craftspeople,
prostitutes, merchants, manufacturers, and - I'm not sure - shipowners. The
people paid up for decades; perhaps over a century, I forget: The tax would
have murdered Constantine in the polls, had they existed. Emperors, in those
days, however, preferred to be regarded with awe, not untinged with fear. At
last, in 324, having conquered the region where Christians were numerous, he
proceeded to order the Church to decide what Christianity was about. The Army
Way. Forthwith. Thirteen years later - all that bloodshed in his life - he
got baptized and died.
In foreign matters, Constantine like Diocletian was preoccupied obsessively
with the Persian frontier. The Sassanids, utilizing the possibilities of the
stirrup, invented in China in the first century, introduced heavy armored
cavalry, *cataphracti*, primitive versions whereof Aurelian had found at
Palmyra (out-of-commission from heat-prostration in their own armor plate
in the hot sun). But the first wars with the Sassanids had been disastrous
for Rome. Antioch was sacked by Shahpur I in 252; there were invasions again
in 254 and 260 (when Emperor Valerian was captured). Rome even lost some
territory, eg, Nisibis.
With two evenly-matched powers, the wealth to be drained off the Silk
Route was inadequate recompense to both of them for the risks of each of
war with the other. The consequence was a cycle of long periods of military
desuetude on both sides, Phase 1; then in Phase 2, violent wars between
the two Great Powers and allies. It might happen that both Superpowers
might be found riven with internal conflict or dead broke or gripped by
natural catastrophe at once. The pacific effect of such conditions
was uncertain. The greater one's own scarcity or dearth, perhaps, the
greater the effort at predation which might needs get called forth to
replenish the deficit. Elsewise, let sleeping dogs, whatever. When Khushraw
I Anushirwan sacked Antioch in 540, Justinian The Great concluded the
Hundred Years Peace because, well, I can't really *afford* The Big One
right now, let's shake on that. Each Superpower's Arab client tribes,
Ghassanids for Roman-Byzantines, Lakhmids on the other side, might cost
just a bit more than the Arab chieftain figured the employer might afford.
Persians had a special problem.
When the Roman-Persian frotier was Closed due to War In Progress Keep Out,
the land traffic through Persia along the Silk Route went instead by sea to
Aden, Yemen; thence via caravan to Damascus. Deep and profound questions of
commerce and the Ultimate gurgled deep within Muhammad ibn-Abd'allah, a plier
of this caravan route:
1. Might not this be a very much more pleasant, profitable, anxiety-free
journey should all the citystates and tribes along the way be under One Big
Government under God?
2. Whaddabout, say, my dear own personal hometown, Notorious Tourist Trap
for the ungodliest gods, be most Blessed Tourist Mecca for the One True God?
3. Shouldn't I go find out some more about what gives, what Is, with this
One True God who's, quite frankly, News To Me, before I get right back to
myself with the Answers, at a time I might surely find more convenient with
me. Should I still be here.

That is, it was incumbent upon the Persians to win quickly, lest the trade
get Permanently Diverted, or sometthing, though the last thing we need, thank
Fire it can't actually happen, is, some of these [racist epithet]s might get
Big Ideas. Or something.
The Muslim *hadith* has it that, in 615, in the midst of the Big One
between Heraclius, Basilius of the Roamaoi, and Khushrau II, Shahanshah,
identical letters reached the respective monarchs, exhorting each to
"Embrace Islam" or "Accept the consequences." True or not, there ensued,
without hardly a Post-War Period, the Consequences; the consensus of the
Consequenced, where consequentially done, was the Truth of the Consequences,
not necessarily the consequentiality of the Truth. Which varied.

Adieu, dear nonreader; be it noted that World-System Theory doth provide
for the foregoing; and quite likely more than a little bit more. Overwhelm-
ingly, the predicted has long ago transpired; and cutting-edge World-Systems
theory now considers as mere Kondratieff B-Phases the Destruction Layer
associated with Indo-European penetrations into, say, Greece and Asia Minor.
Likewise, the End-Of-Bronze-Age Catastrophe. it's all very neat. I scoffed
at first. So will you. They don't need me, after all. I'm an Embarassment.
They need nice young Normals, like you.

Daniel A. Foss
<who is [check one]
<a. Retarded.
<b. Dilletantish.
<more a. than b.
<more b. than a.
<e. none of the above, try______________________.>