To What Extent Is It Valid To View Empires As Civilisers

1097 words - 4 pages

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]HI040713038822To what extent is it accurate to view empires as civilisers?This essay aims to encompass the rise of the Roman Empire, civilisation as a topic and then whether it is apt to conclude that it was the empire itself that drew about the change in citizens being classed as "civilised". Firstly, it would be prudent to determine what "civilised" actually meant at the time of the Roman Empire, or more precisely "cultus" and "cultura" as was more commonly known during that time period. It is often argued that an empire is needed in order to sustain international stability and prevent transnational anarchy. Nevertheless, the counterargument presents itself in that an empire relies upon power and the consequential relationship that then forms between said empire and its citizens, in which the fundamental foundation of stability depends fully on inequality. The question stated above finds support in various places, for example the cited works of Münklers, who states that empires "see themselves as creators and guarantors of an order that ultimately depends on them". This quote is an appropriate starting point as it allows the ability to expand upon it further in order to determine whether there is any credible substance behind it. [1: Bruze Mazlish, 'Civilization and its Contents' (Stanford, CA, 2004), pp. 1-19][2: Ferguson, Niall, 'Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire' (London, 2005) p. xxviii ][3: Hall, Catherine, Broadcast 'The Empie Strikes Back", BBC Radio 4, 7 April 2005][4: O'Reilly, Mark J. "Empires: Varying, Enduring, Controversial." International Studies Review 14, no. 1 (2012): pp. 152-156.]The Roman Empire was one of great power, stretching a pronounced distance of approximately five million square kilometres by the end of the second century AD. Arising from the Punic conflicts, its goal was simple; bring order and naturalise any inhabitants of the empire, as it is often argued that superior races have a "duty to civilise the inferior races". Furthermore, no area of the world was observed with a greater apprehension, and of greater inferiority, than that of the West. It was viewed as holding true barbarians, which is the exact opposite of the civilised nature that was viewed as desirable during this period. The Romans set themselves a goal to maintain the purity of their impressive mixed ancestry and to do this they aimed to prevent the blending of east and west in what would be seen as a truly degrading situation for their race. [5: Kelly, Christopher. 'The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.) pp 1-24 passim.][6: Ferry, Jules. 'A Mission to Civilise' Modern History Source Book, available at accessed 16.11.13][7: Gruen, Eric. 'Romans and Others', in Nathan Rosenstein and Robert Morstein-Marx (eds), A Companion to the Roman Republic (Oxford, 2006), pp. 459-475][8: ibid P.460]However, it...

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