romanization and the roman empire
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romanization and the roman empire

Course: HST 210, Fall 2007

School: Syracuse

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History 210 John Stegeman Romanization and the Roman Empire An empire is usually stronger when its subjects can you unite under similar cultural issues. When Rome was first being founded around 753 B.C., there was no set attribute that defined Rome and made it unique. Through time, Rome was able to establish a set culture and beliefs that lead to Romanization. Romanization is considered to be the process where the...

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210 History John Stegeman Romanization and the Roman Empire An empire is usually stronger when its subjects can you unite under similar cultural issues. When Rome was first being founded around 753 B.C., there was no set attribute that defined Rome and made it unique. Through time, Rome was able to establish a set culture and beliefs that lead to Romanization. Romanization is considered to be the process where the people who occupied the Roman Territories in Western Europe adopted the language and customs of the Romans. Romanization is what helped make Rome and stronger country. One aspect of Romanization was people following Roman law. "Its generally held that Roman law, because of its lasting influence on Western Civilizations, is the greatest achievement of the Romans"1. The Twelve Tables was the first official law code in ancient Rome. They were created in about 450 BC and, "It was considered by the Romans to be the source of all law, private and public, governing such matters as the rights and duties of families, forms of marriage, inheritance, the definition of some crimes and their punishments, and the right of appeal."2 By having Rome create The Twelve Tables, they helped unite the nation of Rome. There was now a set code that had been established for the people of Rome to follow. One law that was established was, "A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed." 3 Even though people may or may not agree with this law, it sets a standard for society that 1 2 Cicero, "The Laws," De Legibus I in HST 210 Then Ancient World Xerox p. 102 Nagle, "The Twelve Tables," The Roman World, in The Ancient World; A Social and Cultural History, (Upper Saddle th River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall., 2006, 6 ed.), p. 249 3 "The Twelve Tables" in The Internet Ancient History Source Book, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/12tables.html everyone in Rome must assimilate too. By having people unite under these laws it helps unite them in one culture and promote Romanization. Another aspect of Roman culture that helped encourage Romanization was the language. In the beginning of the Roman Empire there was no official language until the beginning half of the second century, BC. At this time, Latin was introduced and used to write the history of Rome, previously Greek had been used to transcribe the details of Romes existence. By using Latin to reiterate Romes history it, "represented a new level of self-confidence on the part of the Romans, who now rose to the challenge of Greek Letters by composing their own literature in their own language". 4 By creating a language that the entire empire can identify as their own, it helps promote nationalism as well as in this case Romanization. The Military was a large contributing factor to Romanization. In the early years, "the Roman army was still a militia, an army of amateur citizen-soldiers. It was recruited and dissolved annually"5 Despite the fact they were only an amateur group, the Roman military was successful in winning both the Samnite Wars, and the Punic Wars. Both of these wars helped Rome acquire more land and foreign territory that helped Rome create a larger empire to rule. It also helped push back Romes enemies and establish Rome as a strong country. Romes military also helped promote strength within the government. People who had an influential name were usually the ones granted positions within the Senate. Cicero gave advice on how to get elected to office in Rome. He said, "Consider these three things: what 4 Nagle,"Culture Changes: Rome and Greece," The Roman World in The Ancient World; A Social and Cultural th History, (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall., 2006, 6 ed.), p. 290 5 Nagle,"The New Army," The Roman World in The Ancient World; A Social and Cultural History, (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall., 2006, 6th ed.), p. 255 state this is, what you are and seeking who you are. Then every day, as you descend to the Forum, you must say to yourself, ,,I am a new man, I am standing for the consulship; this is Rome"6 This showed the pride and strength and influence you need to have in order to hold office in Rome. All of these things helped promote Romanization because by having both a strong military and strong government you are able to promote a sense of stability and strength within your country and the subjects are most likely going to have more confidence in an area. Not everyone was a fan of Romanization however. Some of the areas where the Romans conquered did not understand the way the Roman government worked so confusion lead to revolts within the empire. In Macedon, a country Rome was able to gain control of prior to the Hannibal Wars, Rome was worried they might regain power and fight back. "To prevent another resurgence of Macedon, as a first-rate power, the Romans in 167 BC made a new application of their long-effective method of ,,divide and rule by abolishing the monarch and breaking the country up into four autonomous republics sealed off from one another by rigid social and economic barriers"7 This helped sustain the Macedonian culture in Macedonia, so if they tried to rebel against Romanization, they would not get very far. One aspect of Romanization that neglected to mention earlier is religion. When Augustus took over the Roman Empire, he created a mass social and religious reform. He strongly believed pax deorum which was, "the peace between gods and Pseudo-Cicero, "How to Get Elected to Public Office in Rome" Roman Civilization: Selected Readings, Volume 1 in Readings in Ancient History, Bailkey & Lim, eds. (Boston: Houghton & Mifflin Co., 2002, 6th ed.), p. 331. 7 Livy, "The Political Settlement of Macedonia," History of Rome XLV, XXIX, in HST 210 the Ancient World Xerox, p. 191. 6 men" 8 Augustus showed how seriously he took this matter by constructing temples and by becoming the pax maximus, which was the religious head of state. This helped promote Romanization because everyone was worshiping the gods and there was a balance between the spheres of religion and government. The Romans were not fans of the Jewish people however. They did not like the Jews because they followed a different religious code then they did. In a story about the Jewish Resistance to Hellenistic Culture, the abolition of Jewish Law is discussed. In the story it describes what happened during about 167 BC. It says, "Shortly after this the king sent an old Athenian to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their father and to cease living the laws of God: further, the sanctuary in Jerusalem was to be polluted and called after Zeus Olympus" 9 This shows how the Romans wanted to get rid of the Jewish faith and have the Roman gods take over. Jews could not be considered to be "good Romans" because they did not follow the same religious beliefs as the ancient Roman Empire. Romanization helped Rome become a stronger empire. By creating a set culture for the people of Rome it helped unite many foreign provinces and made the Empire a larger one. Common things like laws, religion, and language help promote unity. Also having a strong military helps a country keep the power they have gained. No matter what there will be people that try to rebel against the norms of society that were created and Rome was no exception. Despite rebellion they may have existed, 88 Nagle,"Religious and Social Reform," The Roman World in The Ancient World; A Social and Cultural History, th (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall., 2006, 6 ed.), p. 323 9 Moffat, "Culture Clash: Jewish Resistance to Hellenism and the Origins of Hanukkah" The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English in HST 210 The Ancient Word Xerox P.199 the fact that Romanization existed made it possible for Rome to survive these challenges.

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