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Roman Imperialism

Submitted by rmmcdonald on Fri, 09/20/2019 - 11:44

I think Roman Imperialism took an interesting and slightly unexpected approach towards annexing new territories. Rome emphasized idea of “empire of fides” (Potter, 62) where the territories were given a certain amount of respect if they followed the outlined treaties. However, these territories were held under military threat so the empire seems more based on threat of destruction rather than desire not to break trust. In addition, "’citizenship without the vote’ (civitas sine suffragio)” (Potter, 61) offered a way to make territories feel part of the Roman empire. I doubt that this sentiment really altered the feelings of the newly acquired territories because they had no authority to change it. With the perspective of contemporary imperialism in mind, Rome might have taken a more humane approach to annexing new territories. I wonder how Roman imperialism would compare and contrast to British imperialism. I think that the story about how the Etruscans defeated the Gauls by violating the law of nations is a good example about how Roman and British imperialism are similar. The Roman senate reacted to this violation, “here personal popularity and influence had so much more weight that the very men whose punishment was under discussion were elected consular tribunes” (Potter, 169). Even though these soldiers violated laws of war, they still were rewarded which strikes a strong similarity to British officers that abused their power and still were promoted.


Potter, D. S. (2018). Ancient Rome: a new history. NY, NY: Thames & Hudson.