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Divorce from wife, spread of Christianity, polytheism and other facts about the Roman Empire that will make you look at her differently
Divorce from wife, spread of Christianity, polytheism and other facts about the Roman Empire that will make you look at her differently
Anonim

The Romans in the New Testament were portrayed as something of a "universal evil" towards Christians. But it must not be forgotten that they are also the people who have "gifted" modern civilization with some of its most practical innovations. For example, everyone who uses a public sewer system should thank the Romans for this. Here are 10 reasons why the Roman Empire deserves careful study.

1. The Romans had polytheism

Oh, how many decent gods there were!

The Romans were polytheists, meaning they worshiped more than one god. For example, one of the minor gods was Nemesis, the goddess of revenge. From her name comes the English word "nemesis", meaning "an enemy against whom a person wants revenge." The primary 12 gods and goddesses, called di consentes, were taken from the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses. Of these 12, the most "important" were Jupiter, protector of the state (Greek Zeus), Juno, protector of women (Greek Hera), and Minerva, goddess of craft and wisdom (Greek Athena).

The Romans sometimes modified Greek myths so that they were more conducive to the spread of the values ​​of Roman civilization. While Greek gods and goddesses were anthropomorphized, in Roman myths, gods and goddesses rarely "visited the earth." Their power symbolized the hierarchical power of the state.

2. Cultural exchange

At the beginning of its expansion, the Roman Empire was influenced by the cultures of the Greeks and Etruscans. The decline of Greece began when the Roman emperor Maximinus I of Thracian captured the Greek city of Corinth in 146 BC, although the Greeks retained lands in present-day Italy. The Etruscans ruled Rome for about 100 years before the Romans overthrew them. Many of Rome's architectural innovations were built by Etruscan craftsmen, including the sewer system called the Cloaca Maxima; Temple of Jupiter on Capitol Hill; Roman hippodrome; The Circus Maximus and the Servian Wall (the fortress wall surrounding Rome).

The Romans adopted the Greek religious structure and theatrical genres. The Romans' acceptance of some of the practices of the cultures they conquered was for practical purposes rather than cultural tolerance. They adopted practices that were beneficial to them, regardless of who originally introduced them. In the case of the British and other subjects of the empire west of Rome, productive relations were encouraged on the basis of the subjects' willingness to adopt Roman practices.

3. The Roman Empire was actually two empires

One and two in the mind

By 286, the Roman Empire stretched from present-day Britain to the present-day Persian Gulf. The empire was regularly threatened by the invaders, so Emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD) divided it up to make it easier to defend. He appointed his friend Maximian to rule the Western Roman Empire from Milan (and fight against the invaders), while Diocletian ruled the Eastern Roman Empire from western Anatolia. When Diocletian reorganized the territory, he also ordered power. Under his rule, both parts of the Roman Empire were theocratic absolute monarchies.

Diocletian consolidated the former practice of separating military from civilian careers, and also contributed to the decline of the authority of the Senate. The Western Roman Empire eventually became the smaller of the two empires. During the reign of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395 AD), the advancement of Christianity by Theodosius, invasions of Germanic tribes and lack of resources weakened the Western Roman Empire.

4. Roman emperors spread Christianity more often

And no terror

Although Christians were publicly sacrificed at certain times in the history of the Roman Empire, they were never specifically killed because of their religious beliefs. Nero used Christians as scapegoats in an attempt to discredit the rumor that he himself had started the Great Fire of Rome (64 CE). In 250 and 303 A.D. Decius Trajan and Diocletian, respectively, adopted decrees requiring Roman citizens to make public sacrifices before Roman officials. Although Christians were sometimes offered as sacrifices, they did not figure in any of these decrees. In both cases, the emperors wanted to quell civil unrest by strengthening their authoritarian governments.

In 313, Emperor Constantine himself converted to Christianity. In the same year, he issued the Edict of Milan promising Christians tolerance. Perhaps Constantine did not have (as he claimed) a vision of a flaming cross in the sky on the eve of the battle. Many historians believe that Constantine's conversion to Christianity was another example of how a Roman adopted useful practices from another culture. Christianity is a monotheistic religion. There is one god who, as Constantine claimed, chose the emperor as his divine representative on Earth. Divine rule could be a very weighty justification for the consolidation of political power in one person. Moreover, Constantine's successor, Emperor Theodosius, persecuted non-Christians.

5. Roman society was rigidly class-based

Nobody canceled the hierarchy

Roman society was based on a hierarchical structure. It had three classes: the patricians, who, according to the Roman author Titus Livius, were the descendants of 100 people whom Romulus chose to form the first Senate; plebeians who were citizens; and slaves. After the Conflict of the Orders (500-287 BC), the transition between the patrician and plebeian classes became much smoother. During the Conflict of the Orders, the plebeians asserted their civil authority, which ultimately gave them the right to marry members of the patrician class and hold positions in government organizations. In 287 BC. Hortense's Act ended the Order Conflict. From now on, decisions made by the plebeian consul were binding on all Roman citizens.

Unlike the plebeians, slaves had no rights. The Romans valued dignity and restraint, but, of course, this was all determined based on their own sociocultural norms. For example, the rape of slaves was a common practice. For the Romans, the acceptability of sexual intercourse was determined by the status and position of partners, not their gender.

6. Divorce was not flawed in the Roman Empire

Divorced at will

Regardless of whether it was concluded "for love" or "of convenience," modern marriage is considered a personal event. For the Romans, however, marriage was a civil obligation. Marriage could create mutually beneficial socio-cultural and socio-political ties between families. As the head of the family, the father had the right to promote a marriage that would benefit his family. Divorce, however, was considered a personal matter between the members of the couple, in part because breaking one union to create another, more desirable one, was a socially acceptable practice.

Since wives were the property of their husbands, divorce did not require division of property, although the man had to return the woman's dowry to her family if he divorced her.Men were allowed to divorce their wives without giving a reason, although the most common reasons were fornication, sterility, excessive consumption of wine, and making copies of house keys. The Justinian Code, adopted in 449 A.D. e., allowed women to divorce men under certain circumstances. This was not the first such law, but it was the first that did not impose punishment on a woman if she was refused a divorce.

7. Pax Romana lasted 200 years

In 27 BC Augustus Caesar, Julius Caesar's nephew, became the emperor of the Roman Empire. His reign marked the beginning of the Pax Romana ("Roman peace") era. Augustus' reforms ensured the stability of the Pax Romana. He curtailed imperial expansion (admittedly only after conquering the territories of what is now Spain, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt by defeating Mark Antony). He ordered the construction of roads and aqueducts from "concrete". He reduced the size of the army, began to defend maritime commerce by ordering the fleet to capture pirates. August also promoted art. Examples include Horace, Virgil, Ovid, and Titus Livy, writers whose careers flourished during the Pax Romana era.

Although the reign of Augustus exemplifies the best times of the Pax Romana, this era outlived his reign. Incompetent emperors and invasions by Germanic tribes eventually led to the end of the Pax Romana in 180 CE.

8. Scientists can not come to a common conclusion why the Roman Empire fell

The reasons for the fall are still debated today

More specifically, no one can single out the single most significant factor that led to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. The Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire, lasted until the 1400s, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The division of the Roman Empire into two halves was one of the factors of its decline. Both halves did not prosper equally, and each half developed different sociocultural values.

Other factors included the following: the empire was too large to be successfully governed by one-man rule, and it was vulnerable to invaders, especially the Huns and Germanic tribes. After the third century, some of the emperors of the Western Roman Empire were not of Roman origin and this threatened civil unity. The growing dependence on mercenaries led to frequent military defeats, and the lack of successful conquests reduced the availability of slave labor, on which farmers depended. Historian Guy Halsell writes: “The Roman Empire was not overthrown … and it did not die of natural causes. She accidentally committed suicide."

9. Many modern words come from Ancient Rome

Thank you, Romans

Latin words are still used in the medical and legal professions today. However, some English words also come from Roman culture. “Senate” is the term that the Romans used to refer to their legislature, and the senator was a person who served in the Senate. Audience is Latin for listening position. For the Romans, a circus was any entertainment space built around a central circular area (often with treadmills). Civilized comes from the Roman civitas meaning citizen.

The Romans introduced the words "emperor" and "gladiator" into the English language. In military academies, a first-year cadet was called a "plebe". This is an abbreviated form of the word "plebeian", which in the Romans meant a citizen of the lower class.

10. Romans influenced modern politics

And they didn't forget about politics

Any democracy is descended from the Greeks. The concept of democracy, a political system in which each person gets one vote in determining legislative issues of state, originated in Athens. The word "democracy" comes from the two Greek words "demos" (people) and "kratos" (power).However, the structure of modern democracy, or any form of government that includes an elected legislature, is well worth the thanks to the Romans. Modern democracies are representative.

Like the Romans, voters elect officials who then vote on politics on behalf of their constituents. The patrician and plebeian consuls consisted of representatives of both social strata of the Roman Empire. The Senate functioned more like a parliament in a constitutional monarchy, since the extent of its powers was largely determined by the reigning emperor. The government of the Roman Empire was primarily authoritarian, since the emperor himself chose the policy and implemented it. However, government structures modeled by the Romans inspired other types of government.

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