up be in a separate social class

 up to buy their freedom. Unlike Greek city states, Rome allowed slaves to become full citizens when they became free (“libertus” or “liberta”). However, Roman manumission in retrospect, was quite respectable for that time period, freedmen were still considered to be in a separate social class from citizens who were never enslaved and held different rights. Although masters and slaves had entirely different rights, it was possible to move from one position to another. In Plautus’s Pot of Gold, slaves have a pivotal part in the plot sequence because the presence of Lyconides’ slave and his own ignites Euclio’s unwarranted paranoia. After being granted his freedom, having been a slave himself, he understands the significance of libertas and appreciates it even more fiercely. The slaves also serve as comic relief in this story following the common trope of inept master/ clever slave. This contrast, I believe, shows the internal conflict within Roman society. The dichotomy is less rigid than previously conceived because in modern American Slavery the slaves were kept ignorant because they were thought to be inherently inferior and therefore deserved that state of being. Conversely, in Roman literature, the slaves tend to be depicted as intelligent and adept and therefore worthy of the royalties that come with freedom, because slavery was a means to an end (war spoils of cheap skilled and unskilled labor) instead of the society’s ruling ideology of cultural supremacy of one ethnic group over another. WARFARE/ APPRECIATION OF THE LIBERAL ARTS Before Leo Tolstoy, there was Rome’s battle between War and Peace. The foundation of Rome essentially began with a merger of people new to the land and some who had already begun colonization, initially there was tension between the two groups as to who should rule the land that was settled through war. Their culture was engulfed by vehement, militaristic tendencies with a nearly insatiable bloodlust. However, the Romans were also a people that valued sophistication, the creation of art, and the practice of moral philosophy. Ancient Rome is very well known for its liberal arts practices, advanced technology, and appreciation of refinement. Ancient Rome was home to theatrical endeavors, philosophical findings that are still contemplated to day, and technologies and architecture that are still standing and functional today such as their premature sewage systems and unique architecture style. This dichotomy is especially evident when examining the Seven Kings of Rome: Romulus, Numa, Tullus Hostililus, Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, Tarquinius Superbus. Romulus, Rome’s first true king is notorious for his violent nature and conquering the Sabine people and after kidnapping their marriageable women and ravaging their resources, integrated them into their society. Numa was well-known for his peaceful disposition and construction of Rome’s first institutions such as: the temple of Janus which ironically was formed to be a symbol for war and peace. Tullus Hostililus was as his name suggests a war-oriented, ferocious king who died in battle. Ancus Marcius was also war- oriented, but like Numa was involved in the creation of Roman institutions. Tarquinius Priscus was a relatively average king who faced a violent demise with contribution to Roman military successes as well as the Cloaca Maxima. Servius Tullius was a king of humble origins with great administrative contributions. Lastly, the Roman monarchy ended on a bad note with Tarquinius Superbus, a tyrant who was eventually exiled. These first seven kings showed that foundation of Roman civilization was placed on a seesaw teetering back and forth between war and peace. Moreover, even though Romans did not like to admit that Roman society was influenced by others at the time, these kings of all different origins: Roman, Sabine, Etruscan, etc. demonstrated the diversity of Rome’s origins. Furthermore, Virgil’s literary work, The Aeneid depicts how closely war and peace are juxtaposed in Roman civilization: “Roman, remember by your strength to rule Earth’s peoples—for your arts are to be these: To pacify, to impose the rule of law, To spare the conquered, battle down the proud.” (6.1151-1154) These words, spoken by Anchises to his son Aeneas in the underworld, similarly put Aeneas was given this advice by his father while in the underworld. This put Roman colonization is a positive light by implying that those that were oppressed needed to be shown a better path, which became the justification for countless other conquests. That kind of mindset is ingrained deep in the culture of western civilization with countries like the United States and Great Britain that attribute their imperial ways to what British novelist Ruyard Kipling refers to many centuries later as: The White Man’s Burden. Ironically, Aeneas was not able to fulfill his father’s request, because in a bout of rage he murders Turnus after making him beseech for mercy to spare his life. The idea that those who conquer others should be the ones to teach their oppressed the path to peace would be abstract to most in this day and age. Which one could interpret that to be Virgil’s commentary on the juxtaposition of Roman militarism and the philosophy of peaceful interaction, perhaps suggesting the two are not quite compatible in practice as they are in speech. Additionally, many know of the Roman poet Catullus and his many literary endeavors that tell beautiful tales of his forbidden lady love, Lesbia; which many of his poems actually prove to be quite raunchy when analyzing his ambiguous prose. However, none of his other poems quite clearly demonstrate the dichotomy between the violent, feral Roman behavior war and the otherwise refined, sophisticated Roman attitude peace as Catullus’ poem #16: to sodomize them but says that a poet should live his life peacefully and purely. This poem like other literary works reflect the struggle between the ferocious and war- like disposition the urge to conquer and ravage that was deeply rooted within Roman society and their more peaceful tendencies. ROMAN MONARCHY/ REPUBLIC GOVERNMENT In the beginning Rome was a monarchy, a powerful one that had essentially three classes of people that inhabited the land: patricians, plebeians, and slaves. The two main groups were the patricians and the plebeians, as slaves were not initially considered for any form of citizenship. The distinction between these two groups was solely based on what family you were born into. The patricians were the aristocrats that initially held the majority of the political power and wealth, and the plebeians were the simple commoners who until Rome officially became a republic could not vote nor hold any political office. It was not until the Civil Rights of Plebeians came into question around towards the later era of the Republic did there became a shift in the power dynamic between patricians and plebeians where plebeians gained basic civil liberties and garnered some of the wealth of the society. The Roman influence on how modern civilization operate in terms of wealth distribution, government activity, and classification of citizens was significant. The United States is evidence of that influence, because just as Roman citizens- how successful you were in life was almost linearly connected to what family you were born into with the slight distinction of skin color also becoming an important factor after Bacon’s rebellion in which the distinction between poor blacks and whites were made, and a small percentage of the population had access to the majority of the wealth were considered aristocratic nobility while the rest of the population slummed in poverty. Although, Rome made the transition from monarchy to republic after the unsuccessful reign of Tarquinius Superbus; the republic/ empire at its roots still functioned with the same corruptions as when the kings ruled. Men in power ran about conspiring against one another, killing each other to install themselves in even higher positions of ranking. In the introduction of the very first book of Tacitus’ The Annals and the Histories it stated: “Rome at the beginning was ruled by kings. Freedom and the consulship were established by Lucius Brutus. Dictatorships were held for a temporary crisis. The power of the decemvirs did not last beyond two years, nor was the consular jurisdiction of the military tribunes of long duration… when the world was wearied by civil strife, subjected it to empire under the title of “Prince.” But the successes and reverses of the old Roman people have been recorded by famous historians; and fine intellects were not wanting to describe the times of Augustus, till growing sycophancy scared them away.” Initially, Tacitus’ intention for writing the Annals was to present a work that told the histories of the political reigns of Augustus, and his successors without any partiality or biases because describes himself to be far removed from any ulterior agenda. However, his tone indicates otherwise, he uses suggestive language like ‘civil strife’ and ‘sycophancy’ as an appeal to the emotions of his audience, which at his time were Roman citizens. These words were used because in the time of the Roman republic, consuls were elected by the people who elected the magistrates that would elect the consuls but were ultimately influenced by which candidate had the support of the leading patrician and plebeian families. The governments of the United States and United Kingdom most closely mimic the Roman shift in government and civil hierarchy. In the United States, we went from being ruled by the monarchy of Great Britain to having presidents that were elected by a representative body The electoral college who could serve for nearly unlimited terms with an ungodly amount of power to more restrictive titles. Moreover, just as in Roman society with the patricians, a very small percentage of the U.S population has access to the majority of the wealth and thus power and influence. Similarly, the United Kingdom has followed the mold of ancient Rome, with their own political duality: having both a Prime Minister and parliament juxtaposed with monarchial royal political figures. In conclusion, Roman society consisted of many contradictory ruling ideologies and practices that created a path for how modern societies, especially those in the western world, behave in today’s age. The dichotomies of Roman multifaceted identity, being a slave- owning society with the freedom, Rome’s ruthless militaristic prowess adjacent to more peaceful tendencies like engaging in academia, and the duality of their government created a society like no other of its time. Regardless of whether or not these antithetical concepts were effective; Roman civilization was considerably influence and left large footprints for other nations to follow in. WORKS CITED Catullus, Poem 16. Gaius V, and Peter Green. The Poems of Catullus. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Print. Plautus, Titus Maccius. The Pot of Gold, and Other Plays. Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin Books, 1965. Print. Tacitus, Cornelius. The Annals and the Histories. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb. 2003. Online Print edition. Virgil. The Aeneid of Virgil. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1981. Print.


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