A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
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25-06-2011, 06:51 AM
A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
I'm actually asking something of our historians today and was a bit surprised that I didn't see a proper place for the post.

The Romans like the Greeks before them were a very accepting people with a lot of wonderful ideas on individual expression. For instance the idea that people are born and live as only half their selves and spend their life seeking the other half which might be any other person. There were oppressive forces within Rome, but at the same time many more progressive views than have been passed down.

My question is what sparked this change in the Roman viewpoint? When did they change their stance to such a bigoted and hateful one? Was this all part of the creation of Catholicism or had the Romans lost their wonderful views on freedoms before this point? As an ancient power Rome did some things right, but those things never seem to be repeated.

Yes ancient Europe was filled with misogyny and slavery, but there were other aspects that shined.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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26-06-2011, 05:26 PM
 
RE: A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
I would say that their previous tolerance was down to the fact that their polytheistic beliefs meant that they could easily integrate different gods into their pantheon because to them, they were the same. For example the greek god of the sea Poseidon is very similar to the roman god Neptune, so they became tolerated as the same thing (not a good example but it gets the point across). We see that when confronted with hostile religious groups like the Jews, they weren't so tolerant. When the romans conquered a people they generally made the local populace accept roman gods, and in return they accepted theirs, or accepted them as the same gods under different names.

Once christianity was firmly established as Rome's state religion, the tolerance varied depending on emperor, but remember that the romans only lasted for around 300 years after the first christian emperor, then the empire split into many different parts. I'm not sure when the true authoritive nature of the papacy came about but my guess is that it's personality was really forged from 600-1000AD when the tribes that had settled in old romand lands were forcefully converted to christianity and thus also fought against their pagan neighbours.

Don't take this all as accurate as I'm very tired and didn't look up any of my facts while writing. I just wanted to convey the basic ideas and perhaps start up a discussion. Hope this helps Smile
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26-06-2011, 08:47 PM
RE: A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
Thanks for the response it's a pretty good supposition on the period, but would the impetus really be so much towards the intolerance of Judaism? I know that they held to Greek philosophies and tried to spread them in Jerusalem, but I would hope something preempted judaism (reborn as christianity) in changing a rather accepting people into horrible bigots.

It would be so much more hopeful for our future if the answer was "the huns". Cultures like those of the America's became bigoted due to western influence trampling and ripping apart their views. If finding a new religion was all it took for Rome to change the standards so much, then I fear the current future as we become very understanding.

I just don't see how a culture that so loved knowledge and the pursuit of it, would simply bow down to the idea that willful ignorance is the answer.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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27-06-2011, 02:25 PM
 
RE: A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
I see your point about looking for answers with regards to our own future, but I'm afraid I can't answer that question by looking at Rome. The Romans themselves were not so knowledge-hungry as they first seem; they were much more interested in power, wealth and military but had inherited hundreds of greek cities and therefore the thinkers and culture that is associated with ancient greece. Perhaps Rome was always destined to bigotry and intolerance, but appeared more mild-mannered due to the immense greek influence on the empire as a whole.

Either way, it is a shame that history took that course.
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27-06-2011, 04:51 PM
RE: A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
Yeah I agree, and I do realize that the assimilation of the Greeks changed the Romans a lot. Just random musing as generally most people retrace history in their own actions.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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27-06-2011, 05:13 PM
RE: A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
I don't believe Judaism had any effect on Rome at the time of conquest, and for a long while (3 centuries, give or take) after.

Couple of things happened, independently of the forthcoming christian era. As the empire grew, more religions brought a whole new passle of gods, plus daemons, ghosts, ogres, pixies and werevolves. Olympus became pretty crowded, and, frankly, a bit ridiculous.
At the same time, the emperors grew far too rich and idle, therefore dissolute, self-indulgent and conceited. Some of the later ones, Caligula being the best known example, aspired to godhood when they'd used up all other thrills. Meanwhile, Rome started losing territories, failing to put down insurrections; emperors worried about successful generals (who had a knack for marching on the capitol and taking charge) so refused them fresh recruits, intelligence and funds, which (surprise!) caused more losses. This further degraded and discredited religion: gods are expected to support our troops.
Rome itself - administration, finance, governance, morale - was in decline; ripe for a new, very different, belief.

As for becoming intolerant, they didn't really - very lax, indeed, except for blood sport using miscreants of all kinds, not just overzealous christians caught desecrating temples - until after Constantine decreed Christianity the official state religion. Then they really began tightening the screws. Too late for the Roman empire, of course, but just in time for the next big thing.

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30-06-2011, 07:53 AM
RE: A question about Rome (I thought we had a history forum)
First, let me correct you about Jews, Rome hated Jews and Jews hated Rome. Why? It was very simple, Jews wanted their own state, Rome was killing everyone who wanted to separate from them. Either you were with Rome, or you were against them, no middle. That is why Jews and their thinking was never very pleasing to Rome. Old Roman gods were all taken from Greek mythology, they just changed names, but everything else was the same. Olympus was Greek, not Roman.

As Rome and Roman Empire grew, the more difficult it was to maintain the peace and happiness all across the huge Empire, that is why they became less tolerant, they had to keep the peace using force, when they had no more gold to buy happiness. That is why they have adopted Christianity in 325. A.D. Old gods were not worshiped anymore, they could not keep it all together with religion and priests, but on the other part Judaism and all sorts of pre-christian sects were growing stronger, so they decided to collect them all into one big religion and connect all those people to have something new that connects them all. Then they proclaimed it state religion to strengthen it all even more. It was all politics intended to keep the Empire happy and together. But Jews never accepted the Bible and Jesus, so they have messed up Romes plans and continued to revolt against the Empire... How much does all this have to do with tolerance, I don't know, and I don't think it has much influence.

Before Christianity, even before Julius Cesar, Rome was ruled by Senate, so a lot of people were making decisions and it was pretty much a democracy. Julius changed that as the first dictator, and then his successor Octavian Cesar as the first Emperor continued. In time of democracy there was more tolerance, at the time of dictators and emperors, one man was ruling everything, so the level of tolerance in the Empire was depending on the person who was ruling. And to rule the Rome, you had to kill a lot of your enemies, backstab half of the Senate, bribe who knows how much people... So the person who became Roman Emperor was never very tolerant, because he could not come to that position if there was any tolerance. They all ruled by military force, fear and bribes. I think that had a whole lot more to do with tolerance in Rome than any religion, including Christianity. And whoever was on the throne, had at least a hundred other man who plotted how to kill him and take his place. So the conclusion would be that the Roman Republic was a bit tolerant, but Roman Empire was not. Specially toward colonies, Romans from Rome always had special treatment as citizens of Rome, but all others were scum. You had soldiers, citizens and all other. Roman Emperor was called not the Emperor, but the First Citizen.

Try watching the TV show called: Rome
It shows Roman society, plotting, backstabbing, military, conquests, bribes, crimes, religions, even Jews and Egypt... Great and excellent show, who haven't watched it, it is a MUST. One of the best shows I have ever seen.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384766/

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