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Βίοι Παράλληλοι of World-Powers in History: Athens and USA



The plan is to realize the idea of βιοι παραλληλοι in the history of highly significative world-powers, particularly in that of ancient Athens and the USA. What Plutarch did for the lives and actions of individuals who played a decisive role in the respective historical developments of Greece and Rome, we can advantageously transfer, using a more advanced methodological technique, to the history and manifest destiny (fulfilled or aborted) of Athens and America.

The core idea is to analyze in depth the processes, and thoroughly investigate into the real operative causes, of power-building, ascent to hegemonic status, achievement of determinative eminence (ακμη) in all spheres of human activity, subsequent decline and final collapse of imperial states in history, with a view of penetrating into the secrets of historical excellence, power and their effective farthest reaching projection.

To that purpose, the comparative study of Athens and America is most apt to reveal what is essentially at work, for four basic, among several, reasons.

First, there is remarkable similarity in the corresponding historical developments.

Second, we observe a definitive congruity in the respective patterns of valuation, including principles and structures of societal organization, materializing in similar (mutatis mutandis) social, economic, cultural and political institutions and practices.

Third, the impact of the two states on world-history is qualitatively unique and quantitatively tremendous.

And fourth, the bid for ecumenical imperium has been successful in the one case while it failed in the other. There is absolutely no single more important and useful subject in strategic analysis than a correct understanding of the real causes for that fatal failure on the part of Athens to achieve her manifest destiny. This anomaly in the expected outcome in the midst of so many crucial convergences between the two states is a mystery that must be revealed.

I thus propose to realize a project on
Freedom and Reason
Effective Universal Power in History
a Comparative Study: Athens and America

Results of this original research will be presented in a volume to be published by the end of the current year. It will be meant for the wider public without of course compromizing  the demands for strict scientific validity. It can appear in the series of the Institute’s publications (promoted and distributed by OxbowBooks, Oxford). We may arrange for some form of cooperation in its presentation to the public, and to the targeted groups of influence, esp. in the USA, with the Heritage Foundation.

I have been working on the subject for some time now. In fact, my analyses for the contemporary state of the world and the fundamental trends of world-history-in-the- making have been amply confirmed by the actual developments, thus conferring to my theory the proof of forecasting force. In attachments you may find a couple of relevant pieces of mine. One is a concise statement of the principal features of a comparison and contrast in the modes of instituting and exercising imperium on the part of the most meaningful hegemonic states in world-history. The other, more analytic, represents the substance in written text of a seminar I gave two years ago at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington D.C.  (This is posted in their website). Both are dense and comprehensive, but will give an idea of the potentialities of the theme.

May I finally suggest that a natural follow up to the present project that I am proposing here would be the inclusion into our field of inquiry of Rome, as the single historical precedent of a virtually universal empire-  truly ecumenical in its incorporation of all significantly interrelated parts of the then known world. This could form the subject of a second volume. The general conception is indeed so fertile that it can be extended to other important cases in history.

Apostolos Pierris