Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
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03-02-2015, 10:48 AM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
Depends on what area you are talking about really. They treated women like subhumans (although still considerable better than the Greeks). The Germans and especially the Celts were far more egalitarian in terms of gender. According to this wiki article on Anglo-Saxon women (which probably reflects Germanic society in general) the blood-price for rape was paid directly to the woman (which shows that women were seen as people rather than possessions). According to this article on Celts the women enjoyed a great deal of equality. All these things we would consider a marker of civilizedness today.

In areas such as literature they were definitely more civilized however, as the Celts had no writing until the Romans brought them the Latin alphabet. And while the Germans had the runes they seemed to use them only for simple purposes, not for real literary work.

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03-02-2015, 12:11 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
Quote: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!

Quite true, although the Romans did look to plant colonies in conquered areas but there is no reason to think that those would have been any more successful that the 17th century attempts to found European colonies in North America. They died in droves due to weather and crop failures. So the issue of crop viability in severe winter conditions is valid.

Still, there is recent archaeological evidence that in the 3d century there were Roman troops fighting East of the Rhine which sort of dismisses the idea that the Romans built a wall and stayed on the West side of it.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germ...96720.html

Quote:The wilds of Germany may not have been off-limits to Roman legions, archaeologists announced on Monday. At a press conference in the woods near the town of Kalefeld, about 100 kilometers south of Hanover, researchers announced the discovery of a battlefield strewn with hundreds of Roman artifacts dating from the 3rd century A.D.

In modern terms, this might have been relatively small scale assistance to one German tribe fighting another in a divide-and-conquer strategy that should be very familiar to us.

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03-02-2015, 01:32 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(03-02-2015 09:25 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(03-02-2015 09:16 AM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  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.

Billions seems reasonable for the last 1500 years and considering the current population.

So what do you think? Were barbarians too uncivilised to have running water or were they just too poor?

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03-02-2015, 04:52 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
(03-02-2015 01:32 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  
(03-02-2015 09:25 AM)cjlr Wrote:  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.

Billions seems reasonable for the last 1500 years and considering the current population.

So what do you think? Were barbarians too uncivilised to have running water or were they just too poor?

I'd bet they were just too ignorant. Took quite a bit of engineering know-how to build things like aqueducts required to supply water.

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08-03-2015, 06:47 PM
RE: Was the Roman empire truly civilised? Or was it barbaric itself and merely arrogant?
"Civilized"? Heh, no. "Civilization" to me, is more like the way the British society was in the early 1800's, and when they eventually came to Australia...

The Roman Empire, at least from what I know (and that's not much, to be honest) was a highly disorganized society...Although they did manage to get food and all their resources, the governments (or Kings) relied on the idea of Religion for control of their people.

People just seemed to get punished for everything, I mean the amount of violence that occurred was ridiculous, and that isn't civilized to me, that's barbaric.
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