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And Man Grew Proud

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Sometimes, Pride Before a Fall occurs with one person. However, sometimes an entire civilization gets too full of itself and collapses due to its own hubris. Such civilizations may leave behind monuments they made out of pride and be outlasted by them, and they may also suffer from corruption. Regardless of what these civilizations leave behind (assuming there are any traces of them left), the reason for their downfall is the same.


Compare Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair, for when a proud civilization built countless monuments to itself before its fall, Soiled City on a Hill, for one way a city can be destroyed due to hubris (among other reasons, such as complacency or corruption). If the memory of one of these civilizations fades into myth long after its fall, it can go From Cataclysm to Myth.


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    Western Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Superman's home planet of Krypton is sometimes this. Depending on the Writer, reasons for the demise of its society may include a rigid, sterile culture, overconfidence/complacency in Krypton's stability, and/or a sense of superiority/isolationism that stops them from expanding to other planets.

  • Book of Genesis: Then Man built a tower intended to reach Heaven. God decided to put a stop to it and confuse the language of man. Which is why language classes are needed in the present day.
  • A running theme in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien: most notably in the downfall of Numenor, the Atlantis-like civilization of which Gondor and Arnor are just surviving colonies. They literally tried to invade heaven to forcibly steal immortality, and were repaid with divine retribution. Comes up again to a lesser extent with Gondor, growing powerful for a time until arrogant kings wasted their strength on petty civil wars in prior centuries. The Dwarves of Erebor also grew so wealthy that they alienated many of their allies, so that when the dragon Smaug attacked them their neighbors weren't eager to face certain death to help the dwarf refugees. Tolkien lived through World War I, which at the time seemed like the end of western civilization, nearly wiped out an entire generation, and was fought for petty reasons of nationalism and ego.
  • Grasshopper Jungle: This seems to be the view of the main characters regarding the actions of Mc Keon Industries and their disregard for the possible consequences of creating an army of giant, bulletproof, fast-maturing, praying mantises.
  • The Lost Fleet: Every ship named Invincible has a very short lifespan - by the standards of a fleet where it's almost unheard of for a ship to survive three years past its commissioning. Most sailors believe that the name is an affront to the living stars, although fleet engineers see this superstition as pointless, especially since no captain will have his or her ship be repaired with parts salvaged from an Invincible. Despite this, the fleet bureaucracy refuses to retire the name and keeps naming new ships Invincible as soon as one is destroyed. They get really annoyed when Geary and another admiral choose to christen a captured bear-cow superbattleship Invincible. Even that one is destroyed in Leviathan, but it serves as a distraction for the dark ships, giving Geary's fleet some much needed time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: The leadership of the human race appears to have started to get delusions of grandeur as they began to expand into the galaxy with the help of the Centauri, and began to grow more expansionist and militant. After a successful war against a species called the Dilgar the human leadership believed they could handle anything that came their way. Then there was an unfortunate incident with a Minbari cruiser...

    Tabletop Games 
  • C°ntinuum: roleplaying in The Yet: Antedesertium is an entire time span of thousands of years where Africa is ruled by Narcissist kings of time and space, granting Schizo Tech to the population, and performing experiments on causality itself. Eventually, they come to look nothing like humans, and then their whole civilization collapses at Interregnum, a massive Temporal Paradox-laden no man's land, where time travelers instantly Frag out if they try to span. Interregnum caused a massive axial shift that left the Sahara a desert.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: The lost civilization of Agartha, a technologically advanced nation millennia ago grew arrogant and waged war against the goddess Sothis, who paid them back by wiping out Agartha. Agartha continues to exist into the present day via the descendants of the survivors of the war, who live in a secret Underground City known as Shambhala, ande Agarthan descendants (now known as "Those Who Slither in the Dark"), are still dedicated to their war of extermination against the goddess and her Children, and they still possess a good chunk of their ancestors' advanced technology and know how to use them: besides living space, Shambhala is also host to a battery of long-range missile silos, and is heavily defended with electrical cannons and Humongous Mecha armed with massive swords that shoot out energy beams.

    Western Animation 
  • Superman: The Animated Series shows one example of Krypton's destruction. In this case, it hinges on the highly technologically developed Kryptonians being overconfident in their planet-monitoring AI, Brainiac, firmly believing that he could not be wrong despite Jor-El's findings. Turns out he knows the planet is about to blow up, and decided there isn't time to save the whole civilisation so he is saving himself instead.