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Thoughts on Romanisation


Dhalo
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Thought I was without internet for a few hours, (my ethernet cable was unplugged, turns out!) so I wrote a bunch of stuff including this.

 

Romanisation (Romanization in American spelling) is when a people being attacked or conquered by another people adopts their methods, sometimes to live with them, sometimes to fight them. The word comes from the Roman Empire, and how conquered clans adopted Roman ways, or how resistance movements and nearby nations adopted Roman tactics to fight them with.

A fun piece of knowledge about this whole thing is that the Romans were not the first ancient nation who led by example and who were steadily copied. Many of Rome's earlier concepts were traded, stolen or mimicked from the Etruscans. The Etruscans did not last very long, meaning Rome did a better job of using those skills.

Greek city states had a variety of cultural and martial traditions that Rome gained the use of, although Roman culture was distinctly different in several ways. Even as the Romans conquered and defeated the Greeks, they mustered knowledge from the Greeks to combat them, then gained even more knowledge by assimilating them into the Roman people.

Rome's favourite sword, the gladius, was not a Roman invention. It was Spanish-made. During one of the wars between Rome and Carthage, the Romans encountered Spanish mercenaries called Iberians who were fighting on behalf of Carthage. At the time, the Romans used longswords along with their shields. This was effective against some enemy infantry, but it did not match up to the Iberian short sword. Although Rome won that war hands down, they saw many fighting men cut or ripped to shreds by smaller weapons wielded by smaller armies belonging to a people they barely knew.

Their response was to copy the short sword, and the copy-catting happened so fast that they almost immediately adopted the weapon and called "gladius". This weapon was so deadly when used alongside a shield that it remained their primary weapon aside from the spear and arrow, for hundreds of years. Modifications were made to the overall design, and the last rendition of the gladius was short, weighed less than one pound, and was still a monster on the battlefield.

Rome learned from the Etruscans and the Greeks when they were still peers and equals, then conquered both groups of people. Their defeat of Carthage led to the acquiring of an Iberian sword that sent their infantry skyrocketing into the top tier of combatants. Etruscans, Carthaginians, Greeks, Iberians and Egyptians and various other peoples all contributed towards the Roman Empire, even when it was a fledgling republic that had barely made it's mark upon the world.

With this understanding of history, I have reached my own understanding; Romanisation is not merely the occupied, downtrodden, cthe conquered and assimiliated learning the ways of the ruling power. It is also a fledgling or ruling power learning the ways of defeated or victorious people around them to make their country better.

Romanisation is human adaptation with invention and concepts in mind. It requires a nation to keep it's eyes open, to be willing to accept some new ways of doing things, and there needs to be a humility wherein the nation can acknowledge that it does not have all of the answers, but has means to find all of the answers.

A lesson to take away from this: When you are small and not very well known, you can learn. Pick up concepts from those around you who are prospering in some parts of their lives and figure out how to use those concepts for your advantage. And when you are winning, do not give in to the allure of pride. Instead, look at your limited failings or parts where you can improve, and choose to adapt by introducing yourself to things other people have done successfully so you can fill those gaps.

Rome itself, as a clan, a republic and an empire, had many problems. Some of it's glaring social issues led to cultural and religious uproar, and it was a nation that killed hundreds of thousands of people in the name of wealth and continual resource production. Authors could produce many essays on these errors and why they existed, but the Romans also prospered by overcoming a number of their flaws and incorporating new traditions and technologies from the winners and losers around them.

The argument that Rome was morally or governmentally impure and bound to hurt people, I think, is an argument that Rome did not take their ways of adaptation far enough. Romanisation can be carried out by a willing person or party until only a few flaws remain.

So trade with the Etruscans, chat with some Greek philosophers, and grab your gladius! You have much learning ahead of you. Stay true to the task of learning, and stay true to yourself, and you will succeed.

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