Montesquieu
 

XXIII.23 On the state of the world after the destruction of the Romans

The rules which the Romans made to increase the num­ber of their citi­zens had their effect while their repu­blic, in the vigor of its ins­ti­tu­tion, had only to repair the los­ses that resul­ted from its cou­rage, its teme­rity, its firm­ness, its love of glory and even its vir­tue. But soon the wisest laws could not res­tore what a dying repu­blic, gene­ral anar­chy, a mili­tary govern­ment, oppres­sive rule, arro­gant des­po­tism, a weak monar­chy, and a dim, foo­lish, and super­sti­tious court, had in suc­ces­sion torn down ; one would have said that they had conque­red the world only to wea­ken it and deli­ver it defen­se­less to the bar­ba­rians. The Gothic, Getic, Sarassin, and Tartar nations over­po­we­red them in turn ; soon the bar­ba­rian peo­ples had only bar­ba­rian peo­ples to des­troy. And so it was that in the time of fables, after the floods and delu­ges, armed men rose from the ground and exter­mi­na­ted each other.