Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Roman Empire

The intellectuals see Ancient Greece as the fountainhead of the western civilization, but, in my opinion, the real fountainhead of the western civilization is the Roman Empire, which, at its height, stretched from Syria to Scotland, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, and endured for almost five hundred years (the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for fifteen hundred years). To conquer and rule such a large area is a towering achievement, unparalleled in history; so grand was the Roman influence that many so-called barbarians kingdoms, which ravaged the Roman Empire, gave up their own culture, and started calling themselves Romans—some historians suggest that the Roman Empire didn’t “fall” at all, it merely changed the character of its political leadership. Rulers from Charlemagne to Napoleon, from the British, Spanish, and Portuguese monarchs in the age of imperialism to Hitler and Stalin in the twentieth century were, to some extent, inspired by the Roman Achievement. Till this day, the idea or Roman Empire continues to play a role in politics and culture. The intellectuals, politicians, and journalists often rely on the parallels between our own time and the Roman history to defend or decry the existence of common defense initiatives like NATO, the herding of the European nations into a unified European Union, and the American wars in Middle East and other parts of the world. The influence of Roman Empire on modern world in the spheres of art, architecture, language, legal system, and trade is inestimable.


Ajit R. Jadhav said...


There is a factual mistake in your write-up, though, admittedly, its significance in the overall write-up is pretty small. But let me point it out anyway. (May be since I am into Data Science, data catches my eye!):

In history, there have been *20+* empires that had geographical area larger than that of the Roman empire. See:

Just think of the number of wars people must have fought!


Anoop Verma said...

@Ajit, you are right. In matters of size there are several empires that are much larger than the Roman Empire. But it is the Roman Empire whose culture and methods have come to dominate our world. They are the most successful empire in human history in the sense that they have had the maximum political impact for several centuries after the empire fell. Till this day, the politics of not only the western countries but also many Asian countries is inspired by the Roman experience.