I was thinking of the Republic rather than the Empire. It fell because the politicians became venal and corrupt, and stopped respecting the rule of law. After that a reassuring strong man came along and shaped things up, and the Empire had its moments of glory thanks to military power and good generals, but any semblance of democracy and the rule of law was gone. History does seem to be repeating itself. First, bring in the clowns, Then, turn to a strong man to clean things up. Maybe Putin can recommend someone.