This page about the contributions of the ancient Romans focuses on outlining
a number of different aspects and contribution of ancient Rome to modern
society. A separate page has been reserved for a more in-depth look at
ancient roman inventions and another
dedicated to innovation in ancient Rome.
Various contributions of ancient Rome:
- "Emperor", "Caesar": It is interesting that the titles adopted by
Roman leaders were later reutilised
by other people and cultures. For example the name "Caesar", clearly derived
from Julius Caesar, is at the root of the
word "Kaiser". "Emperor" is of course broadly used in many languages and
- Latin Language (romance languages)
- Language (anglo-saxon languages such as English have many words with
- Roman Law: particularly the legal system of countries such as Italy.
Nevertheless even countries such as Britain have a great deal of latin
terminology within them, showing the extent of Roman contribution.
- A stable political system – the pax romana
– which allowed free trade and a relatively free exchange of ideas and
information, even if not fostering R&D as such. Many
ancient Roman inventions which we
enjoyed through the medieval ages and even today may not have existed if
Roman hegemony hadn’t allowed them to become widespread.
- A fertile ground for the development of
- The first encyclopaedic compendium by
Pliny the Elder (Pliny’s Natural History)
- Development of many military techniques,
such as used by modern Police forces for crowd control.
- Spread of many types of plant and agriculture as Roman contact
spread as far as India and linked with trade routes to the far East. An
example is the lemon tree, so common to us nowadays but only acclimatised in
central Italy at the time of
- Emperor Augustus is sometimes referred to
as the "godfather of Europe"
- Roads and international trade
All of these subjects are discussed in greater depth on their own pages. We’d
be happy to hear from you if you have other areas which you feel ought to be
added to the list.
We should not conclude this short section without considering that there may
be things which have NOT made it down to us because of Roman "interference" with
history. For example...
- a great many species of animals became extinct (this reminds me that in
the 19th century there were apparently many exotic types of plant
within the ruins of the Colosseum, brought over from afar and protected by
the relatively unusual microclimate it afforded. These have clearly since
been lost following its gradual restoration and cleaning.
- A number of civilisations were absorbed by ancient Rome, such as the
Etruscans. Whilst this would at first sight be considered as a negative
"contribution"; within the context of ancient Rome it is also important to
consider the effects of "Romanisation" which brought a civilising culture to
many of the peoples which were influenced (not just militarily conquered) by
Rome. An aspect which was considered positive even by some of the cultures
of the day and is attested by Tacitus when he describes ambassadors being
sent to the emperor to ask for inclusion within the Roman domains and not
necessarily being accepted or by rulers leaving their dominions in roman
control rather than at the mercy of claimants to the throne.
A quick look at the varied links at the bottom of this page will give a
general impression of the broad range and spectrum of contributions made by the
us if you feel a correction is required to the Rome information provided. Please
read the disclaimer
Ancient Romans" was written by Giovanni Milani-Santarpia for www.mariamilani.com
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