That brings us to what will probably be the wrap-up—but who knows. Here are several more messages, starting with a long one, about further extracting Rome-and-America comparisons and contrasts: 1) “The empire made the emperors.” In my article, I said that since World War II the United States has run an “empire without the name.” A historically minded reader draws out the implications: First, it’s entirely appropriate, as you do, to compare the Roman and American empires—even though the US rules its empire as Romans of the republican (not imperial) era did.   In other words, the US empire is an “empire of obedience.” It uses all manner of tools to persuade semi-independent states and other groups to do its bidding, rather than directly governing territories within formal borders. Direct governance and a formalization of borders occurred under the Roman princeps (emperors). Second, while it’s convenient to date the “fall” of the western Roman empire, it’s not especially useful from an analytic perspective. The western empire had been decentralizing for quite some time, while “barbarians” had been effectively ruling parts of it, directly and indirectly.    It’s critical to note th...