Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
barca

ATHALARIC (516-534)

Recommended Posts

According to what I have read, Theodoric's successor to the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy was his grandson who was only child. His mother served as regent and tried to give him a Roman education, but many of the Ostrogoth "Nobles" resented him for becoming too Roman, and they pulled him away into drunkenness and debauchery.

 

What does this say of the theory that "Romanized" Goths could have provided better continuity of Roman Civilization if only the "wicked" Byzantines had left them alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me it illustrates the persistence of gothic culture despite the trappings of Roman lifestyles. The Romans themselves used to sneer and jibe the provincials for their attempts to emulate them - Tacitus is quite contemptuous of the Britons for that very reason - and unless you're born to that culture, emulation must have seemed laughable to those socially-concious Romans for whom society was second nature.

 

It also illustrates indirectly the reasons why barbarian tribes were attacking Rome in the late empire, or at least one reason for that pressure on the west. It wasn't a war of conquest as such, although the various barbarian tribes would have eagerly done so had they thought it possible, but rather to loot and plunder Roman settlements. Of course once they did occupy Rome, as in the case of the Ostrogoths, they adopted Roman dress and customs to some degree because they wanted to rule. In order to rule they needed to be part of the system. That doesn't mean they gave up being Ostrogoths, just that they addeed a Romanesque layer to give 'Roman' authority to their social status.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Romans themselves used to sneer and jibe the provincials for their attempts to emulate them - Tacitus is quite contemptuous of the Britons for that very reason - and unless you're born to that culture, emulation must have seemed laughable to those socially-concious Romans for whom society was second nature.

 

Weren't the Romans also proud of their ability to Romanize the people that they conquered?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. They didn't try to romanize populations, they simply encouraged them to behave as they did both for practicailty and ego. The native populations continued right alongside, though in fairness, some provinces were more willing to assume Roman culture than others.

 

Britain is the case in point. A lot of literature simply regards Roman-occupied Britain as nothing more than Rome elsewhere. Not the case. If you look more closely at the subject you discover that the southeast was the most roman-influenced, and the north and west extremes the least. Hative housing styles are known to have survived into the dark ages for instance in southwestern england, and I know from my own neck of the woods that farmers were still making roundhouses in the 3rd and 4th centuries.

 

It is true however that the Romans respected local religious beliefs (usually) and brought these deities into their own system even if only on a local scale. That was a matter of political control as much as spiritual respect. In any case, the Romans showed far more pride in looking down on provincials than educating them. Trajan, in his first senate speech, reduced the patricians present to hysterics with his spanish accent.

 

The 'romanization' effect is a poor concept in general. It assumes that the Romans demanded everyone become as they were. Not so. The Romans left that to the wisdom of those who wanted to get along with them and pay their taxes. This effect may well have been less pronounced in the 6th century since Rome was no longer the centre of a mighty empire. Having said that, I seem to recall that Gratian was heavily criticised for his habit of dressing as a goth in the 4th century.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. They didn't try to romanize populations, they simply encouraged them to behave as they did both for practicailty and ego. The native populations continued right alongside, though in fairness, some provinces were more willing to assume Roman culture than others.

 

Britain is the case in point. A lot of literature simply regards Roman-occupied Britain as nothing more than Rome elsewhere. Not the case. If you look more closely at the subject you discover that the southeast was the most roman-influenced, and the north and west extremes the least. Hative housing styles are known to have survived into the dark ages for instance in southwestern england, and I know from my own neck of the woods that farmers were still making roundhouses in the 3rd and 4th centuries.

 

It is true however that the Romans respected local religious beliefs (usually) and brought these deities into their own system even if only on a local scale. That was a matter of political control as much as spiritual respect. In any case, the Romans showed far more pride in looking down on provincials than educating them. Trajan, in his first senate speech, reduced the patricians present to hysterics with his spanish accent.

 

The 'romanization' effect is a poor concept in general. It assumes that the Romans demanded everyone become as they were. Not so. The Romans left that to the wisdom of those who wanted to get along with them and pay their taxes. This effect may well have been less pronounced in the 6th century since Rome was no longer the centre of a mighty empire. Having said that, I seem to recall that Gratian was heavily criticised for his habit of dressing as a goth in the 4th century.

 

Agreed. Typically it was the elite of the conquered peoples who were incorporated into the Roman system of government. This did not mean that the conquered became romanized right away. As you pointed out, the conquered peoples had to want to adapt to roman culture, it was not thrust upon them.

 

Hadrian was also laughed at because of his accent so it did take longer for the Roman elite to accept a provincial as Emperor.

 

What I find fascinating about the Roman Empire was how successful they were at incorporating conquered territories into the Roman system and hold onto these lands for so long. This was hard to do if the people resented them at every turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×