Edward Gibbon (1737-94).

The great Gibbon wrote in chapter 2 of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88):

This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire.  The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated.

Barry Barnett

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