Why is the Roman Empire seen in a better light than more recent Empires?

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DraftMeteor
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Comparisons between the Roman Empire and more recent empires such as the British Empire are numerous, both used military force to conquer less technologically advanced peoples, and expanded far beyond their own lands. Yet people are more willing to marvel at how advanced Rome was and are happy to use the word Barbarian to describe the native Gallic and Celtic tribes that were destroyed. However the British Empire, equally guilty of wiping out native tribes and cultures, seems to be viewed much worse, and the technological advancements they brought poor compensation for the damage they did. Where is the difference?

P.S I'm not saying that we should view the British Empire in a positive light, but just inquiring as to why the Roman Empire seems to receive special treatment.
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DJKL
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Different times different sensibilities, however the Romans granted the right to be a Roman fairly widely throughout territories they controlled, to be Roman appears , to a degree, to be more a position of rights (and responsibilities) rather than to be driven on a racial basis (albeit family/lineage played a very important part in Roman life)

However do not confuse above with any though process re democracy in a 21st century context, Rome ran with different rights and obligations to different classes and of course only a limited number of those living within the empire were citizens and those citizens were then each considered as being a member of distinct segments of Roman society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_...n_ancient_Rome

To be Roman was akin to being a member of an exclusive club and the Romans were very clever in encoraging people to aspire to being allowed to join.
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DraftMeteor
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(Original post by DJKL)
Different times different sensibilities, however the Romans granted the right to be a Roman fairly widely throughout territories they controlled, to be Roman appears , to a degree, to be more a position of rights (and responsibilities) rather than to be driven on a racial basis (albeit family/lineage played a very important part in Roman life)

However do not confuse above with any though process re democracy in a 21st century context, Rome ran with different rights and obligations to different classes and of course only a limited number of those living within the empire were citizens and those citizens were then each considered as being a member of distinct segments of Roman society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_...n_ancient_Rome

To be Roman was akin to being a member of an exclusive club and the Romans were very clever in encoraging people to aspire to being allowed to join.
Very interesting, that does seem to be better treatment of conquered peoples, though I don't really think time should come into play with modern perspectives, empires were present and accepted both in Roman times and British Empire times, attitudes to imperialism weren't that different were they? So surely we should judge them equally.
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DJKL
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(Original post by DraftMeteor)
Very interesting, that does seem to be better treatment of conquered peoples, though I don't really think time should come into play with modern perspectives, empires were present and accepted both in Roman times and British Empire times, attitudes to imperialism weren't that different were they? So surely we should judge them equally.
I think the purpose of empire was pretty similar, albeit the British by the 19th century possibly, in part, thought that what they did was for the good of those they governed whereas I am not sure the Romans acted in the belief that part of their purpose was for the betterment of those within their extended empire; albeit I suspect they believed that might , in their eyes, be the outcome of their influence.

The Romans certainly tolerated widely differing views within their empire provided no trouble was caused, later empires I suspect in part largely had a more evangelical component. Certainly the papal division of the New Worlds/ Japans etc by various papal bulls were not just to avoid conflict amongst European powers, they were charters for missions to convert- by word, by sword, by fire.

Empire may be considered as a precursor to current globalization and the actions of countries today (zones of influence et al) may just be a modern manifestation of historical type empires.
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william walker
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The British wiped out and adopted just like Roman did. However the main reason people hate British Empire is that is enforced Protestant morality on its empire. Rome was terrible and immoral compared to the British Empire. Also Rome lasted for half a millennium and Britain lasted 200 years through its ascent and peak.
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capitalismstinks
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you know, subject people used to be proud of being part of the British empire, just like Roman subjects were proud Romans.

It's only since the rise of Marxist historical narrative that has instilled a sense of grievance and hate towards the empire.

The empire brought unprecedented peace to large swathes of the world. India for example was a war torn land which had been invaded for 800 years by various Islamic factions. British empire imposed stability and Indians growing success is large part down to British legacy. British empire also brought prosperity to large parts of Asia. Hong Kong for example is one of the worlds richest state but was just a small port before British.

Was it perfect? No. But compared to the barbarity and chaos that is unfolding around the world, British empire was a beacon of peace and prosperity.

Remember the point of successful empire is always about trade. Trade needs stability. Trade brings wealth.

People forget empires are about stability. Most people in the world dont have stability, and so they welcome empires, it's only because empire was so successful, that people eventually forgot the barbarity of the unstable times. And so thought empire was not needed.

Empire is needed now. Look at the chaos in Middle East and Africa. This is what is was like before empire.
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Copperknickers
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Partly because they were not just another empire, they founded Western civilisation. Without the Romans, history would have turned out completely differently. They were centuries ahead of their time: arguably no European city was as technologically advanced as Rome until the Renaissance. Also because unlike the British the Romans were not incredibly racist and chauvinistic and didn't commit any major genocides (not to say they didn't wage some pretty brutal wars). By the standards of the day, Rome was no worse than anyone else. By the standards of the day, the later British empire was starting to look rather like America today: a little dated in its mindset.

But mainly because the British empire is still within living memory.
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DraftMeteor
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(Original post by Copperknickers)
Partly because they were not just another empire, they founded Western civilisation. Without the Romans, history would have turned out completely differently. They were centuries ahead of their time: arguably no European city was as technologically advanced as Rome until the Renaissance. Also because unlike the British the Romans were not incredibly racist and chauvinistic and didn't commit any major genocides (not to say they didn't wage some pretty brutal wars). By the standards of the day, Rome was no worse than anyone else. By the standards of the day, the later British empire was starting to look rather like America today: a little dated in its mindset.

But mainly because the British empire is still within living memory.
I agree that Rome revolutionised Europe and brought about huge technological advancements, but the same can be said for the British Empire and the industrial revolution. The technology was centuries ahead of many of the 'barbarian' tribes they conquered, and one could argue that the empire is largely responsible for allowing countries such as India to be catching up western technology so rapidly.

But I would disagree with Rome not being racist. They openly called native tribes barbarians, razed Carthage to the ground and salting the soil, enslaved many people and openly viewed themselves as superior to all other peoples.

Yet we can openly say Rome was ahead of its time and greatly benefited Europe's civilisation and technological advancement, yet suggest the same about the British Empire and one is at risk of being called imperialistic and possibly racist.
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Copperknickers
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(Original post by DraftMeteor)
I agree that Rome revolutionised Europe and brought about huge technological advancements, but the same can be said for the British Empire and the industrial revolution. The technology was centuries ahead of many of the 'barbarian' tribes they conquered, and one could argue that the empire is largely responsible for allowing countries such as India to be catching up western technology so rapidly.
Sorry but that's blatantly untrue. India was the richest country in the world at the height of the Mughal empire, and was no less advanced than anywhere else in the world in the 17th and early 18th centuries (outside of Western europe) until the enlightenment and the industrial revolution. And India is not catching up to Western technology quickly, countries like Japan and China (which were never ruled by European imperial powers) are doing much better, largely because they weren't British and so weren't plunged into a power vacuum after the British left like the Middle East, Africa and India (obviously countries like Australia, Canada and Singapore are doing better because Britain built them from scratch rather than invading and disrupting native power structures).

But I would disagree with Rome not being racist. They openly called native tribes barbarians,
They called everyone barbarians, they even called the Greeks barbarians, people who were demonstrably more advanced and more civilised than them. I don't think being extremely nationalistic is grounds for calling them racist, they weren't chauvinistic racialists who thought non-olive skinned Italians were inferior, they just thought that they themselves were exceptionally warlike and virtuous (like every other nation at the time).

razed Carthage to the ground and salting the soil, enslaved many people
Everyone did this at the time, it was just the way wars were conducted.

Yet we can openly say Rome was ahead of its time and greatly benefited Europe's civilisation and technological advancement, yet suggest the same about the British Empire and one is at risk of being called imperialistic and possibly racist.
I don't think anyone seriously thinks that Britain has not served as the most important agent of advancement since the beginning of the modern period.
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DraftMeteor
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(Original post by Copperknickers)
India is not catching up to Western technology quickly
India has a space program now, and has probes orbiting Mars. Also you mention that the Mughal Empire was behind western civilisation, supporting my point.


(Original post by Copperknickers)
They called everyone barbarians, they even called the Greeks barbarians, people who were demonstrably more advanced and more civilised than them. I don't think being extremely nationalistic is grounds for calling them racist, they weren't chauvinistic racialists who thought non-olive skinned Italians were inferior, they just thought that they themselves were exceptionally warlike and virtuous (like every other nation at the time).
So they thought everyone that wasn't Roman were barbarians and inferior, sounds like racism, they persecuted/conquered non-Romans to incorporate them into the Roman Empire.

(Original post by Copperknickers)
Everyone did this at the time, it was just the way wars were conducted.
Oh, so if everyone has slaves its not a problem?

(Original post by Copperknickers)
I don't think anyone seriously thinks that Britain has not served as the most important agent of advancement since the beginning of the modern period.
Thank you for agreeing with my fundamental point.
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Copperknickers
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(Original post by DraftMeteor)
India has a space program now, and has probes orbiting Mars.
What's the point in having a space program when you're also the only place comparable to central Africa in poverty and premature death rates? Your claim was that Britain helped India's technological development: technological development is just an aspect of economic development, and in terms of economic development, India and its neighbours are among the worst countries in the world. Yes, India has a space program, because it's horrifically corrupt. Perhaps if it weren't for Britain then it would be more like Japan and China, and less like the Congo. But hey, at least it can send little metal boxes to orbit Mars, I'm sure the lepers dying of malaria in the streets of Kolkata look with pride at their country's spectacular development.

(incidentally, these are not my words, these are the words of my relatives in India).

So they thought everyone that wasn't Roman were barbarians and inferior, sounds like racism, they persecuted/conquered non-Romans to incorporate them into the Roman Empire.
It's not racism, because Romans are not a race, and they persecuted everyone, even other Italians. It's the equivalent of trying to claim it's racism for Americans not to like Canadians.

Oh, so if everyone has slaves its not a problem?
Um, no, not really. You can't judge a culture by how it compares to future cultures which have the benefit of millenia of scientific and moral development.
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NJA
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History has been hidden / ignored. No doubt some will immediately do the same when they see the subject matter of this video which told me a load of stuff I hand't heard before.
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capitalismstinks
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(Original post by Copperknickers)
Sorry but that's blatantly untrue. India was the richest country in the world at the height of the Mughal empire, and was no less advanced than anywhere else in the world in the 17th and early 18th centuries (outside of Western europe) until the enlightenment and the industrial revolution. And India is not catching up to Western technology quickly, countries like Japan and China (which were never ruled by European imperial powers) are doing much better, largely because they weren't British and so weren't plunged into a power vacuum after the British left like the Middle East, Africa and India (obviously countries like Australia, Canada and Singapore are doing better because Britain built them from scratch rather than invading and disrupting native power structures).
I have to disagree strongly here. Japanese for example did terrible things to China during their empire. Then just a few years after China was free from Japanese rule, the Marxists overthrew Chinese society and introduced the 'great leap forward' which resulted in tens of millions of deaths. Between 40 or 80 million.

Then, at the end of WW2 Japan was nuked.

These nations had terrible struggles, far worse than areas ruled by the British, yet still they are extremely successful.

Also, India was not the richest country in the world before the British. thats just an old wives tale. India did not even exist as a unified nation before the British. The area of India had a large population and because of this, people say it was rich, but it wasn't, its GDP was just naturally higher because of massive population. Same as today. Modern India is poor but high GDP because of massive population.

Only reason the British became richer in terms of GDP was because of the massive technological advancements the British invented. British invented machines which did the work of a thousand people in a fraction of the time.

GDP is based on production. If you invent machines then you have massive GDP growth.

But, this is all details, the facts are east Asia is rich because despite the horrors of Japanese imperialism, the Marxists and Nuclear bombs they adopted western values, and so became rich. ( China is now basically western values )

North Korea is Marxist, and South Korea is Western. Take your pick! lol
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Pwyll
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(Original post by Copperknickers)
What's the point in having a space program when you're also the only place comparable to central Africa in poverty and premature death rates?
This is such a ridiculous thing to say. Space programmes have in the past yielded technology that has been applied in wholly different fields. NASA alone can be held responsible for dozens of spin-off technologies. Most of the benefits tend to be in aeronautics and other fields of engineering, but also in public health, recreation/consumer goods and medicine. If things like that wouldn't help developing nations, what will?

But then I suppose this was all for nothing because what is the point of a space programme when you're the only place with racial policies comparable to South Africa? That statement is as valid as yours.
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24yearsSpurs
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(Original post by DraftMeteor)
Comparisons between the Roman Empire and more recent empires such as the British Empire are numerous, both used military force to conquer less technologically advanced peoples, and expanded far beyond their own lands. Yet people are more willing to marvel at how advanced Rome was and are happy to use the word Barbarian to describe the native Gallic and Celtic tribes that were destroyed. However the British Empire, equally guilty of wiping out native tribes and cultures, seems to be viewed much worse, and the technological advancements they brought poor compensation for the damage they did. Where is the difference?

P.S I'm not saying that we should view the British Empire in a positive light, but just inquiring as to why the Roman Empire seems to receive special treatment.
Because there are people alive today who lived it and we have good records. And we live in the recent wake of colonialism, like wars in Africa, Asia.

And which hisorian says the Romans didn't do bad ****? Only a ******.

I think the consensus is mixed. Even the Third Reich did good things (economic recovery for one). The Romans had great technology, ruled an immense area, laid down language for half of the world now, and had great architecture. but this doesnt excuse killing people in Gaul, Germania, Carthages, Brittania, etc. Again, I doubt there are many historians out there who dont demonise the Romans in those terms.
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Copperknickers
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(Original post by Pwyll)
This is such a ridiculous thing to say. Space programmes have in the past yielded technology that has been applied in wholly different fields. NASA alone can be held responsible for dozens of spin-off technologies. Most of the benefits tend to be in aeronautics and other fields of engineering, but also in public health, recreation/consumer goods and medicine.
The American space program maybe, not the Indian one. India isn't breaking any new ground to speak of so it's not going to yield anything exciting.

If things like that wouldn't help developing nations, what will?
Even if the space program did yield benefits, it would still be nothing comparable to spending money on what India needs, which is investment in economic growth, infrastructure, sanitation and anti-corruption initiatives.

But then I suppose this was all for nothing because what is the point of a space programme when you're the only place with racial policies comparable to South Africa? That statement is as valid as yours.
It's not valid. In fact I don't even know what country you're talking about? India doesn't have the caste system any more, and China and the US don't have any apartheid policies...
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the bear
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(Original post by DraftMeteor)
Comparisons between the Roman Empire and more recent empires such as the British Empire are numerous, both used military force to conquer less technologically advanced peoples, and expanded far beyond their own lands. Yet people are more willing to marvel at how advanced Rome was and are happy to use the word Barbarian to describe the native Gallic and Celtic tribes that were destroyed. However the British Empire, equally guilty of wiping out native tribes and cultures, seems to be viewed much worse, and the technological advancements they brought poor compensation for the damage they did. Where is the difference?

P.S I'm not saying that we should view the British Empire in a positive light, but just inquiring as to why the Roman Empire seems to receive special treatment.
Well you are quite right. The Romans could be complete *******s when the mood took them. They crucified Our Lord which was a bad move.
The British Empire brought Christian civilisation to untold millions of savages. You only have to see the complete mess which countries have made of themselves after they rejected the wholesome shelter of our Glorious Empire. None of this ISIS *******s would have been allowed. smh.
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24yearsSpurs
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(Original post by capitalismstinks)
you know, subject people used to be proud of being part of the British empire, just like Roman subjects were proud Romans.

It's only since the rise of Marxist historical narrative that has instilled a sense of grievance and hate towards the empire.

The empire brought unprecedented peace to large swathes of the world. India for example was a war torn land which had been invaded for 800 years by various Islamic factions. British empire imposed stability and Indians growing success is large part down to British legacy. British empire also brought prosperity to large parts of Asia. Hong Kong for example is one of the worlds richest state but was just a small port before British.

Was it perfect? No. But compared to the barbarity and chaos that is unfolding around the world, British empire was a beacon of peace and prosperity.

Remember the point of successful empire is always about trade. Trade needs stability. Trade brings wealth.

People forget empires are about stability. Most people in the world dont have stability, and so they welcome empires, it's only because empire was so successful, that people eventually forgot the barbarity of the unstable times. And so thought empire was not needed.

Empire is needed now. Look at the chaos in Middle East and Africa. This is what is was like before empire.
So why did the Indians mutiny? And why were there so many uprisings? You have heaard of the Boer Wars, right?
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24yearsSpurs
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(Original post by theamericaboo)
Historians have always overrated Rome, don't know why. The only special thing it did was nearly last 2000 years. Otherwise it's a fairly average empire, that was devoid of culture (Ancient Roman culture is just a *******ised, stolen version of ancient Greek culture).
But if gave the world languages, law, architecture, and more or less modern European cvilisation. small legacy.... And devoid of culture...ok, so this is why it's military prowess was superor tto the Greeks? Or you don't really know what you're talking about if you reckon god concepts is the only part of culture... And British culture is stolen, because the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and Celts didn't come from other places.
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24yearsSpurs
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(Original post by the bear)
Well you are quite right. The Romans could be complete *******s when the mood took them. They crucified Our Lord which was a bad move.
The British Empire brought Christian civilisation to untold millions of savages. You only have to see the complete mess which countries have made of themselves after they rejected the wholesome shelter of our Glorious Empire. None of this ISIS *******s would have been allowed. smh.
No Rome, no Christianity. read some history idiot.
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