Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

Sign in to follow this  
P.Clodius

USA/Rome Parallels

Recommended Posts

Perhaps oversimplified/generalized but this comparison is quite nice, though nothing new to these forums me thinks..!

Rome/USA

 

Methinks you might be interested in reading "Empire" by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt. Written in the 1990s, it attempts to define the concept of Empire and draws some interesting links between the Roman, and Globalisation/UN/Nato style conglomerates, rather than individual nation states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salve, Amici.

Perhaps oversimplified/generalized but this comparison is quite nice, though nothing new to these forums me thinks..!

Rome/USA

 

Methinks you might be interested in reading "Empire" by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt. Written in the 1990s, it attempts to define the concept of Empire and draws some interesting links between the Roman, and Globalisation/UN/Nato style conglomerates, rather than individual nation states.

"History is, in its essentials, the science of change. It knows and it teaches that it is impossible to find two events that are ever exactly alike, because the conditions from which they spring are never identical."

 

Marc LB Bloch (1886

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"History is, in its essentials, the science of change. It knows and it teaches that it is impossible to find two events that are ever exactly alike, because the conditions from which they spring are never identical."

 

Marc LB Bloch (1886

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Briefly :

 

"What we do about history matters. The often repeated saying that those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them has a lot of truth in it. But what are 'the lessons of history'? The very attempt at definition furnishes ground for new conflicts. History is not a recipe book; past events are never replicated in the present in quite the same way. Historical events are infinitely variable and their interpretations are a constantly shifting process. There are no certainties to be found in the past...

 

"We can learn from history how past generations thought and acted, how they responded to the demands of their time and how they solved their problems. We can learn by analogy, not by example, for our circumstances will always be different than theirs were. The main thing history can teach us is that human actions have consequences and that certain choices, once made, cannot be undone. They foreclose the possibility of making other choices and thus they determine future events".

 

Gerda Lerner (1920- )

 

And even more briefly...

 

"Patriotism ruins history"

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'I will be content if my words are useful to those who want to know what happened in the past, since human nature being what it is, this is going to happen in much the same way at some time or the other in the future. I'm not writing for the public of today, but for all time.'

Thucydides on the Pelopennesian War - one of the very first historians, and still one of the best.

 

But we are looking at Roman history, no? In which case I urge reading Polybius 'On the Roman constitution', book VI, not least because the founding fathers of the USA did so with great care, and which is what the writer is referring to (though it appears to have slipped from the reading list).

 

Just to nitpick, I suspect the confusion between America and the USA from which the writer appears to suffer - viz 'And so the republic is saved and goes on to defeat its colonial masters, ejecting them from American soil' may rather grate on some Canadians and Latin Americans, even as it makes parts of the text inaccurate.

 

[edited to add extra detail]

Edited by Maty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe I live in a Britain that resembles the Rome of, say, about 450.

I would definitely say not. We haven't reached the imperial stage yet with autocrats we can't vote out of office (though we came close with Tony Blair, and notice that Gordon Brown was given his position as prime minister without the vote of the british people, and steadfastly attempts to prolong his reign without having to do so. In terms of events, you may be right. In terms of societal development (surely a more accurate parallel given different circumstances) I believe otherwise.

 

Gloves off Neil :)

Edited by caldrail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is my belief that this topic should be under the empire category considering the changes the US has undergone, and the foreign policy it currently has. As in the Roman Republic, the US empire has kept certain republican institutions, but if analyzed thoroughly, it has clearly made the change from republic to empire.

 

ATG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salve, NN

"History is, in its essentials, the science of change. It knows and it teaches that it is impossible to find two events that are ever exactly alike, because the conditions from which they spring are never identical."

 

Marc LB Bloch (1886

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salve, M

Just to nitpick, I suspect the confusion between America and the USA from which the writer appears to suffer - viz 'And so the republic is saved and goes on to defeat its colonial masters, ejecting them from American soil' may rather grate on some Canadians and Latin Americans, even as it makes parts of the text inaccurate.

No confusion: the official name of the country is "United States of America" since 1777 (no other independent country in the Western Hemisphere until 1804) and it's today the only official name of any nation with the word "America" included, while the words "United States" are included in the official name of Mexico (and formerly of four other countries too during the XX century). "American" is the official demonym for this country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salve, A III

It is my belief that this topic should be under the empire category considering the changes the US has undergone, and the foreign policy it currently has. As in the Roman Republic, the US empire has kept certain republican institutions, but if analyzed thoroughly, it has clearly made the change from republic to empire.

 

ATG

We're dealing again with the persistent confusion of the use of the word "Empire" for two quite different applications:

- Geopolitically (American Heritage Dictionary), "a political unit having an extensive territory or comprising a number of territories or nations and ruled by a single supreme authority"; such definition would encompass both the Roman Republic (509-31 BC) and the contemporary United States; ie, they both rule over other countries.

 

- The domain ruled by an emperor (or empress), ie. a monarch with a particular title; this is what we commonly mean by "the Roman Empire" (31 BC - 1453 AD). The latter fulfilled of course the geopolitical definition quoted above, but that's not always the case;ie, as for Japan after 1945.

 

In spite of the recurrent allusion to the so-called "dynasties" of American presidents (a metaphorical term at best), I can see no sign that the US may be evolving into a monarchy; au contraire, they are quite more representative now than in 1776.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe I live in a Britain that resembles the Rome of, say, about 450.

I would definitely say not. We haven't reached the imperial stage yet with autocrats we can't vote out of office (though we came close with Tony Blair, and notice that Gordon Brown was given his position as prime minister without the vote of the british people, and steadfastly attempts to prolong his reign without having to do so. In terms of events, you may be right. In terms of societal development (surely a more accurate parallel given different circumstances) I believe otherwise.

 

Gloves off Neil :)

Hmm.. depends wether one sees brown as a Sulla, or as a Ricimer. I see him as the latter (but more boring) with the current Royal family as 'shadow Emperors'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see Brown as a flop, but thats not the point. The current royal family are irrelevant since they only rubber stamp the governments initiaitives anyway - they have no ruling function beside that and haven't for a long time, further, the labour party has diminished their role further as a deliberate policy toward attaining their socialist ideal, which invoplves reconstructing british society. If you view the parties and characters involved as direct analogies of past influences then there isn't one, bevcause the circumstances are different. However, stand back, and view the changes without direct comparison.

 

If we assume the Punic Wars were equivalent to WW2 for us, in that both conflicts involved multiple exhaustive all out wars, then it serves as a starting point for our current cycle.

 

Punic Wars =WW2

 

Roman civic duty and moral behaviour = 1950's 'Leaving the door unlocked' and treatment of unmarried mothers.

 

Marian Reforms/Augustan Reforms = Increasing rationalisation, professionalism, and use of mercenary contractors in the British armed forces.

 

Increasing female influence = Womens Lib, equality legislation

 

Decreasing moral behaviour (Sempronia et al) = Emanuelle, Swinging Sixties, modern *or*, rise of the paedophile.

 

Increasing prevalence of violent entertainment = Politicisation of Olympic Games, modern action, thriller, and horror films.

 

Mob violence on the streets of Rome = Gang violence on british streets

 

Those are the equivalent changes that I could think of. I'm sure there are others.

Edited by caldrail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically, playing Plutarch requires at least five steps (the last one may be optional):

 

A - Idealizing a carefully selected remote past.

 

B - Developing good doses of national narcissism.

 

C - Straining even the most tenuous similarity that you may be able to find between A & B.

 

D.- Utterly ignoring the overwhelming differences between A & B.

 

E.- Determining how some known-in-advance predictions were clearly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Salve, M
Just to nitpick, I suspect the confusion between America and the USA from which the writer appears to suffer - viz 'And so the republic is saved and goes on to defeat its colonial masters, ejecting them from American soil' may rather grate on some Canadians and Latin Americans, even as it makes parts of the text inaccurate.

No confusion: the official name of the country is "United States of America" since 1777 (no other independent country in the Western Hemisphere until 1804) and it's today the only official name of any nation with the word "America" included, while the words "United States" are included in the official name of Mexico (and formerly of four other countries too during the XX century). "American" is the official demonym for this country.

 

Um, I beg to differ here. America is two continents - North and South America. The United States of America designates those states - e.g. Rhode Island and New Hampshire which chose to unite. This did not make those American states which did not choose to unite - e.g. Chile and Canada any less American. There was an America before there was a United States thereof, and simply because one set of states chose to unite does not take the other states less American.

 

I am a citizen of the European Union. I am European. I certainly would not say that the Swiss and Norwegians (who are not part of the EU) are any less European. That said, I am again outside my sphere of competence here, so will happily bow to more qualified opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×