Neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire (Voltaire, 1756)
Empires give legitimacy to the actions of the autocrat; silence dissent; encourage, and indeed create, internecine warfare and turn visions and visionaries into grotesque caricatures of their former selves.
Voltaire’s quote vis the Holy Roman Empire is as apposite today as it was in its time. There is nothing ‘Holy’ [or good] in actions that seek to denigrate or destroy the visions or character of others nor is it ‘Roman’ when the culture of the autocrat is diametrically opposed to the principles of the popular assemblies where visionaries were welcome and dissent was encouraged.
And empire? The longevity of an empire is reliant on uniting with those around them, creating systems that are inclusive of all members of a community or state; with no conditions attached. As history shows us and as Voltaire notes, the absence of this is the death knell of an empire, or indeed any autocratic structure or state.
Big or small, all empires fall.