HIST 3131 Lecture 9.docx
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Modern Explanations for Roman Imperial Expansion Part 2
Three questions for Harris:
What Roman bellicosity really exceptional?
What were the origins of Roman Bellicosity?
Why did weaker states frequently ask for the aid of a bellicose, expansionist state such as Rome?
o Why did so many states call upon Roman aid?
What are the origins of Rome's warlike character?
Eckstein: seeks to add to and revise Harris' viewpoints
Tries to explain the phenomenon of invasion by invitation
o Romans were very aggressive, but so what? All other states in the med. World were
Why did Rome succeed in taking all the others over?
Roman state existed as a rather complex system of states
Cant focus on Rome in isolation
Must look at the other cultures surrounding them, in looking for the Roman desire for war
o No effective systems of international law, live in international anarchy
o No effective diplomatic institutions
o The continuous threat of military violence between states
o High levels of security consciousness, paranoia, and militarization
o Constant "worst case scenario" are assumed
o The search for actual superiority over the states, and hence imperialistic behaviour
o Bipolar or multipolar balances of power that are quite fragile, and prone to 'power
o Major power collapses internally and this spreads chaos and anarchy and turmoil
Realist theory is sometimes considered "too bleak" an interpretation
Modern world, Eckstein believes whatever is applicable to the Modern world, can be applied to
the ancient world
Realist paradigm applies to both worlds
Western med, diplomacy was crude and rudimentary, conducted at the last minute, where two
states reached a point where the threat of war was present
International anarchy in the western med
o Crude and ineffective diplomatic practices
o Aggressive neighbours who attacked each other and Rome incessantly
o Militaristic cultures in all states, not just Rome
o Appeals by weak states to stronger states to try to guarantee their own survival
Gauls and Etruscans fought
Samnites have a record of aggressive behaviour
Samnites have a ritual where a band of young men are sent out to find a new territory to conquer
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