Such amalgamations became possible after a time, when many of the local royal lines died out, and unifying influences, of which a common Christianity was the most powerful, sapped the strength of tribal pride.
The establishment of the Hatti at Carchemish not only made them a commercial people and probably sapped their highland vigour, but also brought them into closer proximity to the rising North Semitic power of Assyria, whose advent had been regarded with apprehension by Hattusil II.
While Elizabeth nursed prosperity in peace, her subjects sapped the strength of Englands rivals by attacks which were none the less damaging because they escaped the name of war.
This weakness was due not to attacks from without - for orthodox Protestantism had long since lost its aggressive force - but to disruptive tendencies within the Church; the Enlightenment of the 18th century had sapped the foundations of the faith among the world of intellect and fashion; the development of Gallicanism and Febronianism threatened to leave the Holy See but a shadowy pre-eminence over a series of national churches, and even to obliterate the frontier line between Catholicism and Protestantism.
A well-nigh ubiquitous system of espionage, perhaps most fruitful when directed against - official corruption, sapped the foundations of public confidence.
Mutual discord first sapped the prosperity of Magna Graecia.
This political victory of the aristocracy was merely the consummation of a slow subterranean revolution which by innumerable reiterated blows had sapped the structure of the body politic, and was about to transfer the people of Gaul from the Roman monarchical and administrative government to the sway of the feudal system.
Another consequence of revived erosion is seen in the occurrence of great landslides, where the removal of weak (Permian) clays has sapped the face of the Vermilion Cliffs (Triassic sandstone), so that huge slices of the cliff face have slid down and forward a mile or two, all shattered into a confused tumult of forms for a score or more of miles along the cliff base.
All vitality had been sapped from the old order of nobles, reduced in prestige by the savonnette a vilains (office purchased to ennoble the holder), enervated by court life, and so robbed of its roots in the soil, from which it had once drawn its strength, that it could no longer live save as a ruinous parasite on the central monarchy.
This corruption was fatally apparent in the army, the feudal basis of which was sapped by the confiscation of fiefs for the benefit of nominees of favourites of the harem, and by the intrusion, through the same influences of foreigners and rayahs into the corps of janissaries, of which the discipline became more and more relaxed and the temper increasingly turbulent.