What would a society look like if all it knew was war? This is the sort of question you'd expect to be tossed around in storyboard meetings for dystopian sci-fi films. Would you believe it's the kind of question that can shape an entire history of one of Earth's greatest civilizations?
Ancient Rome: "It was a culture in which it wasn’t war that broke out, it was peace that broke out." Such is the way respected classical scholar Mary Beard plunges into a fascinating discussion of militarism and society, and how the echoes of marching legions fueled the everyday ambitions of countless men. What would it have been like to live in such a time? Does anything today even remotely compare? Mary Beard's newest book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.
Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/mary-beard-on-the-military-of-ancient-rome
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Transcript - Rome is an extremely highly militarized society in a way that is I think inconceivable to us. The level of military activity is something that it sort of approaches what we were familiar with in the first and second World Wars but kind of for long stretches of time. I think one of the things that you should always remember about Rome is that it was a culture in which it wasn’t war that broke out, it was peace that broke out. The standard kind of position that Roman society was in was one that was at war. That said we do have to realize that Rome probably wasn’t much different in its militaristic ambitions from other cultures. We tend to think of the Romans as unusually devoted to warfare, conquest, that pretty brutal and bloody conquest. They certainly were devoted to that. But so was everybody in the ancient world and there was no culture in Mediterranean antiquity, Greece, Rome, anywhere – Italy where people were nice pacific sort of society where they’d much rather get on with doing their knitting than going out and thrashing their neighbors.
Tagged under: Ancient Rome (Film Subject),War (Quotation Subject),Military,history,mary beard,army,culture,classics,Greece,soldier,warrior,warfare,big ,bigthink,bigthink.,EDU,lifelong learning
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