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WotWotius

Roman Imperialism

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So what would you say, in your eyes, was THE definitive reason for the rise Roman Imperialism?

 

Obviously RI arose as a result of combined factors, but making you narrow it down into one reason may create a nice discussion.

 

I am not sure if there are any posted discussions on this question. If there are, just post a link.

Edited by WotWotius

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well i think the real reason julius caesar went into gaul was b/c he was not protecting a gaul tribe like he said but the real reason i think was that gaul had resources that caesar wanted like gold and silver,it goes the same way for dacia when rome invaded them,dacia had gold and silver so i guess u can say rome invaded people over greed,money= power

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During the American Civil War Abe Lincoln made a speach where he voiced his wish that the USA be the first republic to avoid being destroyed by factionalism.

 

By this logic I would have to say that the Roman Republic (along with all/most (?) of them) became a victim of this and, by extension, the rise of a monarchy grew from the remains.

 

If the question is to do with making much of the known world Roman colony's....I would attribute this to the 'death before dishonour' attitude of the country.

 

Just look at the beating they took from Carthage. And they came back to win and anihilate them!

Any other civilisation would have licked their wounds and sued for peace. It was never even an option to the Romans.

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So what would you say, in your eyes, was THE definitive reason for the rise Roman Imperialism?

 

I'm not sure, but provisionally, I'd say it was the democratic elements of the republican constitution that led to imperialist policy.

 

The people of Rome loved to feel superior to their neighbors and line their pockets with booty (see Livy). Consequently, they lavished honors and offices on aristocrats (like the Scipiones) who brought them victories, and they rejected aristocrats who were soft on foreigners and even allies (like Livius Drusus).

 

This popular nationalism, of course, wasn't unique to Rome: look at how quickly Athens bent toward imperialism after she became a democracy, and consider especially the popular agitation for the disastrous Sicilian expedition and the shameful punishment of Mytilene that the people endorsed. As long as the people have power, they are allow themselves to be persuaded by imperialist demagogues like Alkibiades and Kleon.

 

Contrast this with the Persian and Egyptian empires, which--lacking citizen armies that shared in spoils--could never sustain the advances that they made.

 

Thus, at least in the ancient context, to the extent that a constitution incorporated popular rule the more expansionist was the state and the more capable was the state of maintaining its conquered territories.

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The late republican army was a dangerous weakness politically. The soldiers were loyal to their general, not the state. This encouraged ambition in generals leading to civil wars. The senate was unable to restrict the generals when it came to the test. Now although the roman public did not want monarchies, a populist leader like caesar could and did use popularity to justify a permanent dictatorship. Augustus did the same thing by another name.

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The late republican army was a dangerous weakness politically. The soldiers were loyal to their general, not the state. This encouraged ambition in generals leading to civil wars. The senate was unable to restrict the generals when it came to the test. Now although the roman public did not want monarchies, a populist leader like caesar could and did use popularity to justify a permanent dictatorship. Augustus did the same thing by another name.

 

And how exactly is this tale relevant to the question that WotWotius posed?

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well if i had to pick a defintive reason why rome went to imperialism it would be 1 i would blame julius caesar since he was the first roman elite that really expanded its borders over really nothing besides personal ambition and greed and maybe for rome and thats a big maybe. 2 its always for money, when you get the money you get the power, maybe thats why caeser invaded gual, maybe he wanted something that they had, look at dacia when rome invaded them, dacia was very rich with gold and silver, rome would always invent reasons to go to war

 

lol just like now....

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well if i had to pick a defintive reason why rome went to imperialism it would be 1 i would blame julius caesar since he was the first roman elite that really expanded its borders over really nothing besides personal ambition and greed and maybe for rome and thats a big maybe. 2 its always for money, when you get the money you get the power, maybe thats why caeser invaded gual, maybe he wanted something that they had, look at dacia when rome invaded them, dacia was very rich with gold and silver, rome would always invent reasons to go to war

 

lol just like now....

 

I think there's also a constitutional reason. If you had any political ambition, then in the course of your progress through Roman politics you necessarily spent some time as a general/commander, and you would need to demonstrate success in this role as well as others. Success is most easily demonstrated by conquest (just keeping a province peaceful is not nearly as impressive).

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The cultural values of Rome demanded it on some level. Virtus was moral and physical excellence, best expressed by courage in a military situation. Dignitas was one's good good social standing among one's peers, gained in no small part from virtus. Auctoritas , and even more powerful concept, understood as the supreme social standing of someone with many clients.

 

On a micro level we see the various aristocrats asserting their supremacy through military campaigns, gaining social capital back in Rome among their clients and peers. On a macro level we see Roman culture as a whole asserting its "right" to rule and civilize its neighbors.

 

 

 

Let me share a quote from a modern thinker on the subject, apropos to Rome's cultural values inciting imperialism.

 

The wretched Europeans preferred to play their Armagnac versus Bourguignon war games, rather than assume throughout the world the great role that the Romans were capable of taking and holding for centuries in the world of their own times. Their numbers and means were nothing compared with ours: but they found more justifiable and logical ideals in their chickens' entrails than are contained in all our political sciences.
-- Paul Valery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what would you say, in your eyes, was THE definitive reason for the rise Roman Imperialism?

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:lol: why would rome have a right to the so called civilize it neighbors?I think the celts had a decent civilisation before rome destroyed it and destroyed its history and culture,Sorry i dont by the civilize thing that we were taught,rome would always overblow the things that other cultures did and for the most part painted a one side view on things, rome would invade people b/c rome wanted something they had, examples....dacia and gaul

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:lol: why would rome have a right to the so called civilize it neighbors?I think the celts had a decent civilisation before rome destroyed it and destroyed its history and culture,Sorry i dont by the civilize thing that we were taught,rome would always overblow the things that other cultures did and for the most part painted a one side view on things, rome would invade people b/c rome wanted something they had, examples....dacia and gaul

 

Ursus is speaking of the Roman belief in their cultural superiority that dictated its "imperialism". Whether it was right, wrong, moral, immoral or generally indifferent doesn't matter, because in its most simple terms it is laced with the truth. Did Rome have other reasons for invasion and conquering? Absolutely, and many have been recorded, but at their essence, Romans believed they were superior.

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So what would you say, in your eyes, was THE definitive reason for the rise Roman Imperialism?

 

In my opinion it was the Senate who prompted the rise of Imerialism, indirectly anyway. Had the Senate been a little more people friendly, and at least listened to people like Gracchus, then soldiers would not have been indebted to their general, and remained loyal to the state.

The Emperors always made a point of making it known that they were the soldiers paymaster, and rewarder, if the Senate had done the same, it would be far less likely that an army would be willing to follow its general to Rome. That coupled with soldiers being drawn from the unlanded poor.

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let me ask this,you think rome would of lasted longer if it would of stayed a republic and not an empire with one single leader like a dictator of emperor? i know its off topic but i wonder about this.

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i would refer you to this thread :lol:

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