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Comparing Marquette’s Collapses To Collapses Of Empires Throughout History

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Let’s see if we can make this basketball season educational at least.

People dress up in traditional outfit seen during the event...
Hey, look, Roman centurion type guys. The Getty archive is amazingly useful.
Photo by Ramon Costa/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

I’m not much of a history guy.

On trivia teams (Shoutout to the Annex Trivia dynasty known as Zahweh) I can provide average production in sports, pop culture, and science categories, but I am of absolutely no use when it comes to history and geography. In fact, if I just meet someone and they bring to my attention that they love learning about history within the first five minute of meeting me, I just assume that they answer, “What are you up to this weekend?” with an obnoxiously loud, “Taking over the Holy Land!” to mask the fact that the real answer is nothing.

This, however, is a time where being a history consumer could actually be useful. You see, the men’s basketball team for Marquette has not been very good recently. You might say they’ve sucked and this is the second straight year in which the bottom has inexplicably fell out of the team at the end of the year. No matter the verbiage you use, I started thinking about how quickly the different empires throughout history have collapsed and if any of them are comparable to what Marquette has done over the last two years.

I preface all of this with my lack of history knowledge to point out that everything typed out here is vetted through a maximum of one source and the empires listed out are limited to the ones I can think of off the top of my head. If you want “facts” and “accurate comparisons,” go talk about it with your lads at your local board game bar.

The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Wikipedia title that I looked up is actually “Fall of the Western Roman Empire”, which implies the presence of an Eastern Roman Empire. Didn’t realize that was a thing.

From what I remember, the Roman Empire just got way too big an powerful to be completely unified and it fell under its own weight. Looking at the Wikipedia article, there’s like 20 different theories and one of them is lead poisoning. God, these people are dweebs.

Skimming more, it seems somewhat universal that the Romans got too big for their britches and the citizens a bit too lazy. It all seemed to coincide with the Byzantines starting to rise, and the stars aligned at the perfect time. There aren’t too many comparisons to what’s going on at Marquette right now. It’s not like Wojo was Tony Bennett before another Big East foe usurped our pedigree as we slowly descended into DePaul Territory. That’s more applicable to what UConn is doing right now, except there’s at least a reasonable possibility that fans of the Roman Empire don’t suck in every possible way.

Fall of the Byzantine Empire

Alright, so this is the Eastern Roman Empire. That’s dumb. Stick with Byzantine. I guess they’re the more Christian version of the Romans, so that’s a point in Marquette’s favor. Their fall looks to be more attributed to when the Ottomans took over Constantinople, which doesn’t compare well to this because both seasons were more of a slow burn that weren’t sparked by one event. The Markus Howard wrist injury last year wasn’t enough on its own and didn’t affect this year at all. The Hausers left after last season’s collapse had already happened. A better comparison would be San Francisco shutting down their basketball program for 4 years after a stupid amount of illegal booster money was uncovered all at once.

Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire

My favorite part of the Chicago Cubs World Series drought was the graphic that showed the Ottoman Empire still being intact the last time they’d won. I giggled every time thinking about that. These guys held power for like 800 years, which is neat. I’m seeing a lot of mentions of nationalism as one of the causes, which makes sense given that it was around World War I. As much as nationalism is a general problem right now, I don’t think it’s a great cause of divide among the basketball team, unless the players have a real problem with Koby McEwen being Canadian.

Actually, there don’t appear to be a lot of outside forces contributing to the fall here. A lot of internal conflicts, some Sultans being tossed around, the Balkan Wars. We don’t know much about the locker room discussions going on right now, but it seems, based on what happened last April, safe to say that it was a pretty toxic environment last year. Couple that with poor leadership and we have a pretty good comparison going so far.

Conquest of the Aztecs

One of my favorite words to say is Tenochtitlan. The “ch” sound is buttery. They also had a king named Tzitzipandaquare. That shit rules.

The Aztecs were the anti-Ottomans in terms of their fall. Things seemed to be going pretty smoothly until the Spaniards came in and kind of massacred them. That’s depressing. I don’t really want to make a basketball comparison to that because I’m not about to get cancelled over the dumbest article I’ve ever written. Even if I did (Kevin Stallings and Pittsburgh), it doesn’t apply to Marquette at all.

Qing Dynasty

I have no idea if the Qing Dynasty was the biggest one. I remember learning about 3 dynasties in China and one of them was the Ming. I forget the other one. So maybe the Qing was the worst one, but it’s the first that came to mind so we’re rolling with it. It lasted until 1911? Why was that never on the Cubs World Series graphics? I would’ve been all over that.

Wikipedia says, “The dynasty reached its high point in the late 18th century, then gradually declined in the face of challenges from abroad, internal revolts, population growth, disruption of the economy, corruption, and the reluctance of ruling elites to change their mindsets.” Challenges from abroad for Marquette can be applied to the rise of the Big East in general. Internal revolts is self explanatory. Disruption of the economy and reluctance of the ruling elites can both be compared to the Wojo extension that will keep him here longer than he should be. Population growth? Well, it doesn’t technically apply to the two seasons that we’ve watched so far, but the addition of UConn to the Big East was announced in between the two seasons.

There was an Empress and an Emperor that ruled at the same time. Not sure how that worked. Wait. He was her nephew. Also they tried to kill each other. Damn. Well I don’t think Wojo has tried to kill anyone, but it also wouldn’t surprise me that much if he did. Does running around on the court screaming at the referees after losing to Georgetown on Senior Day 2019 count here? Let’s say it does.

The Kingdom of Kush

We learned about this in school for approximately 3 seconds as a, “Don’t tell us we’re only teaching kids about white history” maneuver. But because I grew up in a town called Overland Park, a kid snickering in the back of the sixth grade classroom before yelling, “WEEEEEEEED” was my first time learning about marijuana and it has stuck with me since then. I guess when it comes to retaining knowledge about lesser-known African history, we can try to take our wins however we can get them.

These folks took over Egypt at one point, so that’s fun. None of the other words on the Wikipedia page are remotely familiar to me, though. Looks like Nero tried to take over them a couple times and the Kushites were resistant, so we can make a comparison to the St. John’s win in the Big East Tournament last year as well as the Georgetown drubbing at the Fiserv a couple weeks ago. The ultimate demise was Christianity taking precedent in the region over pharoanic religions. Personally I would love having a player on my team believing in the deistic powers of Egyptian rulers, but I doubt that’s the case for any players on the team.