The roman identity Essay

This essay has a total of 917 words and 4 pages.

the roman identity




The Roman people were a overly proud and highly religious people, whose sense of identity
as romans came primarily from their accomplishments in war and their respect of their
ancestors. By examining Livy’s The Early History of Rome, we can identify these traits
through roman patterns of behavior and the foundation myths that their nation is built
upon.


The romans repeatedly display not only an overdeveloped personal sense of pride, but an
exceptional pride in their nation - taking precedence over even family loyalty. The first
example of this Roman pride is seen in the very first foundation myth of Rome, the tale of
Romulus and Remus. The second of the two versions of this story tells how after the
auspices have indicated Romulus as the rightful leader of this new nation, “Remus, by way
of jeering at his brother, jumped over the half-built walls of the new settlement,
whereupon Romulus killed him in a fit of rage, adding the threat, ‘So perish whoever else
shall overleap my battlements( P.40 Livy) .’” Not only do we see a foreshadowing of
Rome’s violent nature in this tale, but it seems to indicate a strong belief in the
superiority of this ( barely existant ) nation, one that necessitates a national pride of
greater magnitude than the even the strength of the loyalty between brothers.


This kind of loyalty to country, as displayed by the Rome’s founder, certainly sets a
precendent for later roman citizens. Not surprisingly then, we see this same kind of
pride with similar consequences later on following a battle between Rome and the Albans.
The victory had been decided, not by a full scale war, but by a contest between three men
from each country ( two sets of three brothers ). This contest left Rome victorious and
five people dead - only one roman brother stood living. The victor returned to rome
carrying the ‘triple spoils’ and,”slung across [ his ] shoulders was a cloak, and [ his
sister ] recognized it as the cloak she had made with her own hand for her lover. The
sight overcame her : she loosened her hair and, in a voice choked with tears, called her
dead lovers name. That his sister should dare to grieve at the very moment of his own
triumph and in the midst of national rejoicing filled horatius with such uncontrollable
rage that he drew his sword and stabbed her to the heart( Livy 62).” Again we see the
word “rage” used to describe this similarly extreme exhibition of extreme national pride.


Back in the foundation myth of Romulus and Remus, we see another aspect of Roman pride.
There is some indication that, In Livy’s time, there was some suspicion that Greek
infulence in Rome was detrimental to Roman society. Livy seems to emphasize the absence
of any kind of formal schooling ( which would have been greek ) in the adolescence of both
Romulus and Remus ( P.38 Livy ) The idea that Romulus in particular, was a self-made man,
Continues for 2 more pages >>