Nowhere was this truer than with the Roman Republic. The Roman general Scipio Aemilianus burst into tears as he and his troops finally and thoroughly destroyed the city of Carthage. We are told,
After being wrapped in thought for long, and realizing that all cities, nations, and authorities must, like men, meet their doom; that this happened to Troy, once a prosperous city, to the empires of Assyria, Media, and Persia, the greatest of their time, and to Macedonia . . . without any attempt at concealment Scipio named his own country . . . when he reflected on the fate of all things human.
Remarkably, Scipio seemed to be something of a prophet in 146 B.C., as the Roman Republic soon began to unravel. Rome had been rooted in local rule, agrarian pursuits, selfless citizenship, and republican virtues. Now they fought over land, wealth, luxuries, slaves, and the power that came with empire.
Over the following century, political assassinations, mob rule, and the rise of tyranny became the norm. At the end of it, the fate of the republic was left to emperors who, for all intents and purposes, were kings posing as traditional Romans.