Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
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31-01-2015, 03:19 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(10-12-2014 04:28 PM)Free Wrote:  They viewed themselves as vastly superior to any other culture, and took great pride in demonstrating their military might against anyone who did not share their views. This itself demonstrated their arrogance.

Not quite. While the Romans defeated the Greeks militarily, culturally the Greeks defeated the Romans. Greek became considered the intellectual language, and affluent Romans sent their sons to Greece to study philosophy and rhetoric. The Romans were also happy to worship the gods of their enemies if they thought they could aid them in warfare against said enemies.

As for the OP, as has been said, the Romans were cruel in law and punishment. But it wasn't unique to them. And they did have an advanced culture, though they generally valued intellectual pursuits much less than the Greeks did.

It's interesting that the various peoples of Europe tried to resist Roman conquest, some succeeding, some not. The Germanic peoples prevented the Romans from advancing north. The Iberian tribes had a network of alliances that for centuries kept the Romans and Carthaginians out, but even but eventually they fell to the Romans.

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31-01-2015, 03:24 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(08-12-2014 12:48 PM)unfogged Wrote:  I'm not sure those are mutually exclusive options or that they are simple yes/no propositions. Are you comparing it to earlier, contemporary, or later societies? Could it not be barbaric in some respects, civilized in others, and also arrogant in some ways?

D. All of the above.

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31-01-2015, 05:00 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(31-01-2015 03:19 PM)Loki Wrote:  Not quite. While the Romans defeated the Greeks militarily, culturally the Greeks defeated the Romans. Greek became considered the intellectual language, and affluent Romans sent their sons to Greece to study philosophy and rhetoric. The Romans were also happy to worship the gods of their enemies if they thought they could aid them in warfare against said enemies.

What, then, might the difference be between cultural subversion and cultural appropriation?

(31-01-2015 03:19 PM)Loki Wrote:  It's interesting that the various peoples of Europe tried to resist Roman conquest, some succeeding, some not. The Germanic peoples prevented the Romans from advancing north. The Iberian tribes had a network of alliances that for centuries kept the Romans and Carthaginians out, but even but eventually they fell to the Romans.

I'm not sure that's justifiable. The Iberians fought each other at least as much as anyone else, and while large-scale outside rule only took off in the third century BCE, colonies like Emporion (Greek) and Gader and Mastia (Tyrian/Carthaginian, now Cadiz and Cartagena respectively) were much, much older than that and key players in local Iberian politics all the while.

Roman conquest of greater Germania was prevented not so much by anything the Germanic peoples did as by the realities of climate and technology of the day. The technology to bring Mediterranean crops and lifestyles to northern Europe didn't exist yet. Not to mention the lack of anything worth conquering, from a Mediterranean perspective - a fundamentally city-state mindset is not going to see the "value" in subjugating peoples with no cities!

Nationalism and nationalist back-projection are to some extent artifacts. Language and culture in Classical times were almost impossibly fragmented from a modern perspective, and states and polities were not based on linguistic or ethnic lines for the most part - not that it made a difference one way or the other to your average peasant who he was stuck paying tribute to...

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01-02-2015, 02:45 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(08-12-2014 12:48 PM)unfogged Wrote:  I'm not sure those are mutually exclusive options or that they are simple yes/no propositions. Are you comparing it to earlier, contemporary, or later societies? Could it not be barbaric in some respects, civilized in others, and also arrogant in some ways?

Didn't read the OP eh? Smile
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01-02-2015, 05:03 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(01-02-2015 02:45 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  
(08-12-2014 12:48 PM)unfogged Wrote:  I'm not sure those are mutually exclusive options or that they are simple yes/no propositions. Are you comparing it to earlier, contemporary, or later societies? Could it not be barbaric in some respects, civilized in others, and also arrogant in some ways?

Didn't read the OP eh? Smile

Didn't read post #3, eh?
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02-02-2015, 09:01 AM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(01-02-2015 05:03 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(01-02-2015 02:45 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Didn't read the OP eh? Smile

Didn't read post #3, eh?
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03-02-2015, 08:10 AM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
Romans were considerably more civilised than many places today, though today it is 'offensive' to say that nations without running water or toilets are uncivilised.

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03-02-2015, 08:53 AM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(03-02-2015 08:10 AM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  Romans were considerably more civilised than many places today, though today it is 'offensive' to say that nations without running water or toilets are uncivilised.

There's just a slight difference between not having something because you can't afford it and not having something because it won't be invented for another two thousand years.

It's not 'offensive' to say that very poor people are uncivilised; it's just idiotic.

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03-02-2015, 09:16 AM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(03-02-2015 08:53 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(03-02-2015 08:10 AM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  Romans were considerably more civilised than many places today, though today it is 'offensive' to say that nations without running water or toilets are uncivilised.

There's just a slight difference between not having something because you can't afford it and not having something because it won't be invented for another two thousand years.

It's not 'offensive' to say that very poor people are uncivilised; it's just idiotic.

And yet billions of people think that Rome's enemies were uncivilised because unlike the Romans they didn't have running water or toilets. It's almost as though we are surrounded by billions of idiots?

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03-02-2015, 09:25 AM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(03-02-2015 09:16 AM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  
(03-02-2015 08:53 AM)cjlr Wrote:  There's just a slight difference between not having something because you can't afford it and not having something because it won't be invented for another two thousand years.

It's not 'offensive' to say that very poor people are uncivilised; it's just idiotic.

And yet billions of people think that Rome's enemies were uncivilised because unlike the Romans they didn't have running water or toilets.

Yes. Billions of people think that.

But, sure, I guess we can keep ignoring the difference between poverty and ignorance. That seems like useful equivocation.

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