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Theses on the rise of Rome

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Imperator Invictus View Drop Down
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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Theses on the rise of Rome
    Posted: 22-Mar-2005 at 00:52
Following Winterhaze's style of posting, here are theses on the Rise of Rome

1. Rome was success out of pure luck, because it was against all odds that a backward city on the Tiber could dominate the Latin league, and eventually overcome the powerful tribes and nation in Italy.

2. The Roman Republic was successful because its location, resources and societal build gave it tremendous military manpower. Neighboring Macedonians and Carthaginians could only afford repeated victories against Rome, while the Romans could easily raise army after army after defeats.

3. The Romans rose because of skillful adaptation of foreign cultures, and use of their neigbbor's knowlege to create innovate, especially in military aspects.

4. The Romans could easily expand because of their skill in integrating conquered cultures into their republic.

5. The Rise of Rome happened because of skillful leaders such as Scipio Caesar, and especially the half-legendary figures of the critical early times.

As with the thread on capitalism, feel free to support or challenge any of the points above.


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  Quote Marcus Regulus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2005 at 09:51

Response to the above:

1) When a Empire goes from a single city to a world dominating empire it has to do with more than luck.  It is because they have developed a culture, military and economic system that allows them to do so.  Can't buy the luck theory.

2) There is some merit to the second theory, but it is not military alone that allows a military to stand -- a professional army is not possible without a political system and economic system to back it.  The Republic in the early days of Rome was about the best interests of the republic and produced people that had to rise to power through competition -- this made them great people that wanted to do great things for the state.  I am not sure about location because there were others in similar situations.  The fact is Rome had all the luxuries of being a sea town without being on the sea thanks to its rivers

3) Not sure about this theory.  The Romans definitely had better tactics and well trained troops, but technology at times was slow nad they never really developed calvary to where it needed to be.  They had their own culture, but accepted others but i don't see the adaptation with every culture.  When they saw something better they sometimes adopted it, but other times they did not.

4) Not always but they were rather accepting to a point.  They had their own culture they beleive to be superior as well. 

5) Between 2 and this one I think you have the answer.  The republic produced very capable individuals who lead with brilliance.  Cato, Scipio Africanus, etc. etc. the list gets very long becasue it was these men who lead their people to victory time and time again.

I think Rome developed a political and economical system that could support a standing army that was lead by competitive but patriotic men.  In such cases you are going to be tough to beat.  You are also going to build something others can build on later.   

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  Quote white dragon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2005 at 16:00
about 1) it they were pretty luck with all the skillful commanders they had at just the right time
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  Quote Marcus Regulus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2005 at 17:19

Luck has very little to do with the creation of great leaders and skillful military commanders -- they must have some natural ability true, but the fact is that most senators served with the military at other levels and when the time came people were promoted to Counsel due to previous successes.  The fact remains that if you beleive the luck theory -- THAT IS A LOT OF LUCK. 

Rome had a system for everything and the republic provided ambitious and skillful leaders who had to make their own way to the top.  This made them great leaders. 

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  Quote Roughneck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2005 at 23:26

All of those reasons are true...even luck, to a small degree.

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  Quote Marcus Regulus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Mar-2005 at 15:34
Unfortunately I don't beleive in luck.   People make their own or come up with a better plan.
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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Mar-2005 at 19:43
I don't believe in the first thesis either, but it's something that I have seen said informally, so I just included it for discussion.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2005 at 23:58

I would place my bets on theses 2,3,4.... I think location ensured favourable farming conditions while the proximity to Greece meant that Greek institutional innovations could be employed and adapted to specifically Roman purposes. I won't comment on the rest of the theses- instead I will toss a few comments into the ring concerning the role of political and economic institutions in the Roman empire.

A major reason why Rome became the colonial empire par excellence and the model for future colonizing variants such as Spain and Britain was because their system of property relations reinforced the incentives for colonial expansion. Power in the Roman republic was held by a self-governing aristocracy of land-owners. In the Roman economic system land ownership rather than state office (as in China) was the principal source of wealth. The complex of economic, legal and political institutions hugely favoured the landed aristocracy, while at the same time it managed to defuse the potential for widespread peasant unrest. Roman citizens were immune to direct taxation up until 217AD; the empire siphoned the greater part of its revenues from colonized provinces. Peasant-citizens became increasingly militarized, forming the backbone of the imperial expansion. Peasants away on lengthy military campaigns were vulnerable to expropriation at home. Land ownership at the core became increasingly concentrated. Institutionalized slavery was used as an alternative source of surplus labour for large farm owners. There was migration of peasant-citizenry to urban centers, and to the provincial colonies. As colonial acquisitions were made the organizing structure of landed aristocracy was imposed on the new provinces. Local propertied classes were mobilized,  or a new class of propertied elites was established by conferring ownership and special privileges to war veterans. From the outset there were economic incentives for the acquisition of new colonial territories. Colonial lands were a direct source of wealth for some Roman citizens, they also functioned as an outlet for pressures caused by the concentration of land ownership at the core, and they were the main source of revenue for a militarized state ruled by the colonizing imperative.

 

 

 



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