The Roman Empire was one of history's most successful melting pots. In comparison to some of history's more recent super-powers, Roman society was relatively tolerant of foreign cultures and religions, provided they did not disturb the peace. Issues of skin color and physical characteristics, as far as can be told, were of little or no importance in the Empire, presumably due to the cosmopolitan nature of its major cities from the early Republic.
By the 1st Century AD, inscriptions and historic writings attest to the many cultural and national groups represented amongst the political and military elites of the Roman Empire. Gaulish chieftains were serving in the Senate at least as early as the reign of Claudius. Jews, Greeks, and Syrians were holding military commands from Egypt to Britain. Some of the most rich and powerful men in 2nd Century Rome were Africans and Spaniards, many of whom still spoke their Latin with Celtiberian or Punic accents.
It's not surprising that, by the 2nd Century, most of the Caesars were not even Romans - if one defines a "Roman" as being an Italian born in Rome or in the traditional Roman territories of Italy. In fact, most of the Emperors after the Julio-Claudians were provincial, or at best non-Roman Italian in origins.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Quote of the day
If you are going to look back to Rome as an example of how Europe should be (or Europeans in general):