This appears to be a form of universal knowledge in Imperial ancient Rome - high Middle Ages (e.g. see Hildegard of Bingen), becoming a religion, a dead letter, in the late Middle Ages.

This was a protest ideology againt exploitation by Rome of the provinces, abuses of the entire nations, often more cultured than Rome. Hence, a parallel between Rome and modern United States (e.g. song "Caesar" by Iggy Pop).

In the modern epoch, Christianity is adopted by some of the most conservative, feudal elements in the society. 

In the post-WWII period, the similar fate is being undergone by Marxism: from a form of universal knowledge to a dead letter.

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