We all know where this went
The end result for the Romans was that they managed to create their own world and they called it the Roman Empire. And their world view became embodied in a pagan cult. This cult was nothing less than the patriotic worship of Rome itself. And throughout the Empire we find the expression Genius Populi Romani celebrated by all Romans. If anything sustained the Empire, it was the conception of the "Genius of the Roman People." The Romans were taught to believe that the destiny of Rome was the destiny of the world and this became embodied in a civil religion which embraced the genius of the Roman people. This civil religion was a secular, pagan religion, in which all men devoted their energies toward public service to state. It was their duty to serve the state. It was virtuous. These duties consisted of service and responsibility because only through responsible service would one come to know virtue.Note: To be precise, it is always the natural and inevitable effect of The Gun in the Room and almost no one 'sees' it.
Despite the obvious fact that the majority of Roman emperors were scheming, devious, opportunistic, or plainly insane, the world view dominated the social life of the Roman citizen of the Empire. The history of the Empire is dotted with political assassinations, strangulations, emperors playing fiddles while Rome burned, court intrigue and rivalry not to mention a widespread incidence of downright insanity or paranoid schizophrenia. In the end, it is extraordinary that the Roman Empire existed for as long as it did. For Edward Gibbon, author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (3 vols, 1770s), the decline of Rome was natural and required little explanation: "The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness."
It's so simple it's missed.
Little by little, people just start walking off, unable or unwilling to support the 'greatness'... the history of all Empires.