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Alone among the world's regions, western Europe only had one major, long-lived imperial experience: that of Rome. When it fell, nothing like it ever returned again. According to Stanford's Professor Walter Scheidel, that fact had enormous consequences for the long-term development of Europe, and was a necessary precursor to the rise of modernity.

Check out Professor Scheidel's new book, Escape From Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity, which comes out October 15th.

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