Romanization as a disseminating process

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Considering cultural development, its dissemination and assimilation to be fairly extensive discourse, mainly cultures of the ancient world have been a subject of more complicated and thorough research discussions. Exploring those ancient cultures, it becomes very obvious that one of the first spread and strong cultures of Ancient Times was the Roman one. The facts which made this ancient culture very strong and significant for the continent were its power to maintain the huge empire so long, implemented policies and the impacts of the forms of the Roman governance.

Submitted: June 22, 2016

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Submitted: June 22, 2016

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Tokay Ahmadov
 
Bachelor degree in Public Affairs, ADA University,
 
2016,
 
Ahmadov, T. (2016). Romanization as a disseminating process. Retrieved from booksie.com
 
 
Romanization as a disseminating process
 
Considering cultural development, its dissemination and assimilation to be fairly extensive discourse, mainly cultures of the ancient world have been a subject of more complicated and thorough research discussions. Exploring those ancient cultures, it becomes very obvious that one of the first spread and strong cultures of Ancient Times was the Roman one. The facts which made this ancient culture very strong and significant for the continent were its power to maintain the huge empire so long, implemented policies and the impacts of the forms of the Roman governance (Faulkner, 2011). The process of the development and dissemination of ancient Roman culture can be divided into 3 periods: the ancient Republic (V – IV B.C), the late Republic (III – I B.C) and the Roman Empire (I B.C – V A.D). Therefore, I will elaborate on the progress and growth of the ancient Roman culture through these three forms of Roman governance, and explain the concept of Romanization which was formed through the Roman cultural development, its dissemination and assimilation.
 
In the days of the ancient Republic, when there were constant wars, the Romans were famous for their many virtues. Therefore, later descendants of Romans admired the preserved and in some period of time the revived Roman norms and traditions called "paternal morals". The keeper of "paternal morals" for that time was a Roman family (Trukhina, 1994, p. 70). The father was a strong head of a family and used to judge and punish the family members by his discretion (p. 70). However, not all heads of families were cruel and violent, and even too harsh fathers were condemned by the public opinion. The woman, especially a mother, enjoyed a special honor and respect, and children in a family obeyed them no less than their fathers. By religion, Romans were polytheists and had gods quite similar to Greek ones. The Roman culture as a whole was not endowed with artistic talent, but, on contrary, it had a propensity for law, order and calculation what basically became fundamentals for the future development and dissemination of this culture until its process of assimilation over the territories– the Romanization process.
 
Gaining different areas, mostly eastern ones, the ancient Roman Republic used to colonize the lands and their inhabitants. Development of a conquered town/city, later - a province, depended on the nature of colonization, which actually led to Romanization by usually entailing the spread of Roman institutions in the fields of social and economic life, as well as in the spheres of ideology of pure Romans – republic’s citizens (Golubtsova, 1985, p. 167). As Campbell claims, “Romanization refers to the process by which local peoples gradually acquired cultural practices that could be recognized as distinctly Roman and participated in the Roman way of life” (2011, p. 169). Moreover, after being exposed by the process of acquiring the distinct Roman “paternal morals”, cultural practices and the Roman way of living, the conquered lands and their inhabitants used to become appropriate (easier to be governed) figures for the Roman ruling class. The process of becoming appropriate or in other words – the Roman cultural assimilation in the conquered provinces – has created a reference as “Romanization” in literature. However, this cultural dissemination and its assimilation developed and became much stronger in later periods of the ancient Roman history.
 
In the era of the Late Republic, changes took place not only at the state level, but in the Roman society too. After the Romans conquered the Greek cities of southern Italy, the Balkans and Asia Minor (II-I B.C), the cultural upheaval occurred in Rome. Being closely acquainted with magnificent Greek culture, the winners were subjected to the charms of defeated Greece. It turned out that Greek science and Greek way of living became quite spread and very fashionable for Romans. However, despite the fact that Romans of the late Republic became more educated and well-bred than their ancestors, they lost their virtue. Adultery of husband and wife became usual accident in Rome, the ancient simple way of living was forgotten, a passion for luxury penetrated the upper classes, and the youth started to evade army service (Trukhina, 1994, p. 157). Subsequently, the corruption of the virtuous Roman way of living gave a rise to strengthening and enforcement of fundamentals of Roman culture and future governmental policies over the conquered territories. 
 
It is interesting that in the late Republic even ordinary people acquired vices. If in the early days, farmers tried to return to villages to produce more, now they did not want to burden themselves with heavy agricultural labor. By the first century B.C, people started to demand not lands to till and refine them, but instead they wanted "bread and circuses" (Golubtsova, 1985, p. 83). Despite the strict governance of Rome, its officials eventually, in the imperial period, went for compromises fully providing bread and organizing expensive and large-scale circus celebrations for people. However, even compromises and such stately celebrations of the Roman upper-class had attempts to show the importance of the emperor; to enhance his established cult and spread own interests and cultural purposes over the whole population. Altogether, many citizens of the late Roman Republic started to attribute this corruption of morals to the inevitable destruction of the Republic and its freedom. 
 
As it had been predicted by many citizens, the late Republic fell, and instead the Roman Empire was created (end of I B.C). The first emperor became Octavian Augustus (27 B.C – 14 A.D) who didn’t want to see himself only as a restorer of peace, but also as the one who would be curing the state. Moreover, the emperor tried to show that he is reviving the ancient Roman state, which once used to flourish with healthy “paternal morals”. Therefore, having a very broad territorial opportunities and a great influence on the conquered lands, called “provinces”, the restoration and enforcement of the ancient Roman traditions and morals gave impetus to fully “rominize” the whole Roman Empire. Besides this traditional and moral restoration and its enforcement, Augustus, recruiting local soldiers and behaving them according to the Roman worldview, organized a strong Roman “multicultural” army what in turn made a significant contribution to Romanization of the whole Empire (Faulkner, 2011). Octavian Augustus had a divine status in the whole Empire, because it was believed that his father was the god Apollo. Moreover, considering Campbell on the Augustan period, it is reasonable to understand that except reviving fundamentals of the Roman culture and their enforcement over the empire, he extended the dissemination of the Roman culture by the technological, engineering and architectural developments (p. 193). Exactly this enhancement of the emperor cult, his high importance and influential power created a stimulus for different rulers even after centuries to aspire to resemble him. Therefore, Octavian Augustus takes an extensive part in the process of Romanization and can be considered as the master of the Roman world and its cultural dissemination (Campbell, 2011, p. 95).
 
As many other concepts attached to the complex phenomena of culture, the term "Romanization" does not have a well-established interpretation. Although, without a doubt, one can identify some main consists of this process, but it is also necessary to clearly imagine to what degree of resilience and openness the cultural and spiritual life of conquered by Rome peoples were featured (Golubtsova, 1985, p. 258). At different stages of its history, Rome faced nations at very different levels of social and cultural development. The culture of some of them by itself had a great impact on Rome, however, other lands were inhabited by so-called barbarian peoples whose culture, from the perspective of the Romans, had to be restructured and changed according to the norms of the Roman worldview (AS of USSR, 1956, p. 660). The consequences of this ideologically filtered attitude towards the conquered lands are clearly visible in the completeness of Romanization of the whole Roman Empire where the conquered lands and their inhabitants finally acquired and assimilated the forms of Roman governance, its social norms and regulations. 
 
Having analyzed quite huge process of development, dissemination and assimilation of Roman culture, it becomes obvious that the ruling class of Rome by conquering lands made its best to maintain its power and properly implement and spread its policies, social norms and morals over the vast territorial extent. Keeping under the constructive control the provinces, powerful actors of Rome gave impetus to the broad process of Romanization of the conquered lands. Altogether, the crucial point to note here is that the fundamentals of this process were about a propensity for law, order and calculation, the ability to compromise seeking the interests and cultural purposes of the power elite, and the impacts of the forms of the Roman governance during and afterwards of its changes, while the process itself was about the spread and enforcement of Roman institutions in the fields of social and economic life, as well as in the spheres of ideology, and the acquirement of the distinct Roman “paternal morals”, cultural practices and the Roman way of living itself.
 
Bibliography
 
Trukhina, N. N. (1994). History of the Ancient Rome. Moscow, Russian Federation: International Affairs.
 
Golubtsova, E. S. (1985). Culture of the Ancient Rome. Moscow, USSR: Science.
 
Campbell, Brian. Romans and Their World: A Short Introduction. New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2011.
 
Faulkner, N. (2011). Romanization: The Process of Becoming Roman. BBC: History. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/romanisation_article_01.shtml
 
The Academy of Science of USSR. (1956). Cyclopedia of Universal History. Moscow, USSR: Science.


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