A comparative look at the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, particularly in China and Rome, provides vital clues to what may happen to contemporary societies in Europe.

Marco Polo's Voyage to China

Marco Polo, the famous Italian explorer, visited China around 1300 AD. That was already the period of proliferation of Chinese wealth unimaginable of that of Europe at the time.

Invention Boom in China between 600-900

The era between 620-900 saw the Zhou and Tang Dynasties adopt Buddhism, heralding the birth of the secular state. This period was also characterized by groundbreaking inventions such as the compass, gunpowder and printing.

We can assume, the wealth Italian explorers saw were the results of these technological innovation.

But let's roll back the time to the ancient. The Roman Empire ended around 450, and it is beleived the Europe entered the medieval period until its emergence into 1450. That's the period of 100.

Let's dial back the Chinese history 1000 years ago from 620. That makes it 420BCE.

The Silk Road and the Roman empire

Confucious appeared in 500BCE Zhou dynasty. Paper first appeared from 100BCE.

The Silk Road, started in 130 BCE, connected China to Europe, bringing great prosperity and cultural exchange. By then China had amassed the wealth generated from the previous few centuries that other nations wanted to trade with. Prehistorical China must have experienced the uprise from the time of 720BCE to 420BCE, followed by period of prosperity marked by the silk road. Then it must have gone through the Chinese dark age thereafter, until its uprising again in 620CE.

China started emerging again 1000 years after Tang dynasty in 1900 (more precisely 1950).

Meanwhile, the Roman Empire emerged in 200 BC as rapidly expanding, reached its zenith in 125 AD, and eventually dissolved in 400 AD, after maintaining its territorial expanse for more than 300 years.

Philosophy, Religion and Societal Changes in Rome

The rise of Christianity in Europe marked a significant turning point in the history of the Roman Empire, especially during the period of military anarchy between 235-312 AD. This period was marked by aggressive efforts to protect Rome’s borders and crippling debts due to the costly wars.

Medieval Europe and Comparisons with Modern Times

The Medieval period in Europe, spanning from 476-1450 AD, represented a 1000 year curve of significant cultural, philosophical, and religious transformation when compared to Greece of 500 BC. However, the modern era of Europe, having elapsed 573 years since the medieval period, is far from a potential dark age according to historical patterns.

The Peak of Europe's Expansion and Future Predictions

Despite the significant expansion of various empires like the Portuguese and Russian state around 1400 AD, the peak of Europe's expansion could be traced back to 1880 AD when it colonized India to Vietnam to Africa. Today, Europe is at the 255 AD like stage of the Roman period – not at its best but far from its fall.

Possible Future for Europe – Lessons from the Past

The years 2000-2050 will witness Europe focusing on border security and managing refugee crises, analogous to the Roman’s main concerns during the military anarchy. I reckon this decade of 2020s will mark the try of refugee control from the conservative, which only fail. And people will learn to live with refugees from 2030 onwards similar to how Canada learned to live with marijuana as they couldn't control it after decades.

Potentially, social issues related to drugs and refugee conditions may become normalized. Dramatic shifts in societal norms might emerge, possibly inciting intense debate similar to the feminist/female leadership movement of the past. Europe in 2050 will be nothing like what my generation perceives Europe as today.

The ebb and flow of any civilization are a function of several forces: economic pressures, ideological shifts, technological changes, and political developments. By gleaning lessons from the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, we can prepare ourselves better for what lies ahead.