The 400-year turmoil before the Roman Empire

Note 8. To the Subsection “3. Law of the Restoration of the Number Four

Toynbee attributes the 400-year period of turmoil until the rise of the Roman Empire to the following effect: “The historian sees that the Graeco-Roman world achieved a rally in the generation of Augustus after the Battle at Actium.
He also sees that the preceding breakdown began with the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, four centuries earlier. For him, the vitally interesting problem is: What was it that went wrong in the fifth century and continued to go wrong until the last century B.C.? Now, the solution of this problem can only be found by studying Greek and Roman history as a continuing story with a plot that is one and indivisible.” Civilization on Trial (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948), 46. He said, however, “if one does succeed in obtaining this light from it, it proves, experto crede, to be most amazingly illuminating” (Ibid., 61)―concluding that, if this question is solved, it would be as if we had obtained a revelation.