Being Roman

Salvete, new amici; tell us a bit about yourselves! But this is no ordinary Intro forum; you will learn quite a bit about the rest of us too. >({|:-)

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Being Roman

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Sep 15, 2002 12:31 pm

Salvete.

When we started out with SVR, this was one of the first topics. And man, it sure is an evergreen. We've gained a lot of new members since that day, and some went away. So, for the old veterans as well as the new people out there (welcome aboard ;)), here's the following question:

<< As you can clearly see, this list still looks kind of chaotic and empty (vasto gurgite...), but to spark an initial debate, I would like to ask everyone (well, that's about six people :-D); what does Romanitas mean for you? Why and how do you feel a Roman? What attracts you so in Roma? >>

If you feel Greek (or Carthaginian) you may also expound on that. After all, we are fond of other cultures too :D.

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Postby Anonymous on Sun Sep 15, 2002 5:43 pm

I, like most people of Occidental origin, had been exposed to the Greco-Roman myths from an early age. I absolutely adored the powerful mythos, and it was not long before I fell in love with the cultures that spawned them. I remember in sixth grade the teacher showing my class an educational film concerned ancient Rome; the rest of the class seemed lulled into sleepy apathy, but I was firmly glued to the images of the Consuls and the Senators conducting the affairs of the imperium. I have studied various religions, philosophies, and cultures over the years, but my reverence for Hellas and Roma has never wavered.

I suppose Greece and Rome speak to me as the apex of Western Civilization that was later tarnished by Christian medievalism, Industrial Age materialism, and most recently Postmodern ennui. I consider the culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans the zenith of human endeavor, and whatever nobility still exists in our Modern (or Postmodern) world we owe largely to them. The intellectualism of the Athenian philosophers, the warrior spirit of the Spartan troops, the practical genius and grandiose enterprises of Roman society - all elicit a level of reverence that I simply cannot invest in our oft too ridiculous contemporary society. Such glorious atavisms from antiquity must no longer be atavisms lest Western Civilization and the human spirit be crushed under the weight of alienating “philosophies” and societal machinery.

On a less abstract level, I see history repeating itself. America (for better of for worse) as a New Rome. Fundemantal Islam as a new barbarism eating away at our periphery. China perhaps as a possible rising Carthage. Postmodernists as the twenty first century Christians, a militant cult that would seek to topple the Empire and plunge Western Civilization into a thousand years of cultural darkness.

I do not seek to offend, but those are my views, and I am quite happy with them.

Yours,
Romulus Iulius Ursus
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Bein' a Roman (It's hard work, but *somebody's gotta do it!)

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Sep 15, 2002 10:27 pm

[Originally part of a letter to a friend years ago, this essay was recently posted to the old SVR Main List.] -- MariPere


Salvete, Romani viatores:

A long time ago a friend asked me whether I thought I might have been a Roman in a previous life. She thought I must have been, because my Legionary armor looked so natural on me and I was so steeped in Romanitas otherwise. She wondered whether I felt more comfortable in the mundane world or at Renaissance Faires and other reenactor gigs. This was my reply; I share it with you as just one Roman's outlook on the question of his Roman identity.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
You're not the first person to tell me that I must have been a Roman in a previous life. I hear that a lot, from friends, faire-goers, and even people on the 'Net who have never seen me in my armor, only gotten e-mail from me. To tell the truth, it kind of tickles!

But to answer your question, I'm pretty comfortable at Faire *and* in real life. I make but little distinction between the two. I'm a Roman all the time...just ask my coworkers, my fellow students, my roommate... What makes Faires fun is that I actually get to dress like one; and even so, I *have* been seen in that red tunic at work (goes good with jeans, sandals and a rope belt). At Faire I play Lucius Marius Fimbria, slightly-lost Legionary. The rest of the time I'm Marius Peregrine, Roman computer hacker extraordinaire. Same personality, same outlook (typical reaction to news from Bosnia: "They didn't have those troubles when it was called Illyricum and *we* were running things..."), same sensibilities (on Roman statuary in the Americas: "What are the poor things doing so far from home!?"), same warrior spirit...pretty much what Lucius would have been if he'd been born in our era. Even the computers fit in; what better way for a modern Roman to follow his people's basic urge to organize everything in sight than by becoming a database wizard? And there are some things you just don't mention around me: the battle of Cannae; Teutoberger Wald; simplistic explanations of the Decline and Fall. And it's not because mentioning those things will get you an industrial-strength chewing-out (it won't); it's because I still have strong feelings about such events from so long ago!

I say "still have", as if I'd witnessed and survived the events in question. It is difficult to explain without sounding like a freak just how completely I have identified with the ancient Romans. I talk about the Legions and say "we" did this or had a problem with that. I dream in Latin sometimes. I treasure what the Romans treasured, mourn what they mourned, and miss them terribly sometimes. Like my lost Legionary I stick out in society because, almost alone in vulgar, sensualist America, I practice gravitas, dignitas, pietas and virtus--dignity of purpose, dignity of character, respect for one's ancestors and traditions, and moral courage.

And yet, with all this, I do not consider myself a reincarnated Roman. (The Romans themselves didn't believe in it except as material for poetry.) I'm not a former anything; I'm a Roman right here and now, where it counts. To the extent that "Roman" was not something you were born as, but something you became, I qualify in spades. It doesn't hurt to have Romans for ancestors either; my family comes from a part of southern Spain that was a Province of the Empire for 600 years--plenty of time for lots of troops to get frisky with the local gals on town pass. But my adoption of Roman culture was a conscious decision which I made several years ago; it is the closest thing I have anymore to a philosophy or a religion. The armor fits because it is worn by one who is both Roman and military; because it was custom-made; and because it expresses something in my heart.
---

In amicitia et fides (In Friendship and faith),
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
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Romans and such

Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Sep 16, 2002 8:42 pm

Salvete omnes,

Grrrr... the Forum won't allow usernames long enough for me to include Britannicus. :evil: I would like to point out to all that I am feeling incredibly Britannican - alright? Good, that's sorted then. 8)

As to the topic, I confess to coming to Romanitas much later than most of you did - judging by the other posts, anyway. I have always harboured a certain fondness for "the big picture" part of history, as well as for the ancient civilisations. However, when I was 16, I looked up some books on Akkadia, and found, by relation, a review of Colleen McCullough's Roman books. I read them, and thus began my plodding down the road of Romanitas.

Rome has been called the Eternal City. But, to me, Rome is not a city. Perhaps that's what it was in 753 BC. (Or 0 AUC) But Rome is more than a city. It administered vast tracts of the world, and was a major player in all the arenas it knew - any nation that had contact with Rome treated it with respect/fear.

Of course, all here will no doubt agree with my paean of praise, leading up to the statement: Rome is an ideal. We all look back to Rome, admire it's greatness, learn from their mistakes, look up to the virtues of many of the individuals.

Who here cannot claim at least one Roman among their heroes? I myself admire Charles Darwin, Odysseus, Guiseppe Garibaldi, Captain Manfred Schonner.... and Gaius Marius.

For myself, I do not believe in re-creating the glory of Ancient Rome. We can discuss, consider, and live Roman. But we cannot be Rome. Rome was one of a kind, and shall never be surpassed.

**Those who know him well are slightly alarmed to see Curio, normally a pessimistic cynic, with a slightly faraway look in his eyes.** :shock:

Bene valete,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Britannicus.
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Being a Roman

Postby Diana Moravia Aventina on Mon Sep 16, 2002 9:31 pm

Nice Forum by the way. I like it better than all of the emails. This gives a better overview of who is saying what and replying to whom.

Ok, being a Roman: I have it easy because I am part Roman (1/8 and the rest Sicilian. Before that, we were Greeks). To me being interested in all things Roman & Greek is part of my cultural identity. I have been seriously studying religion since the ripe young age of 16, and to me, the Greek Tradition is the one that hits 'closest to home'. I was in awe when I went to the Acropolis, just to think what the Athenians built to honor their Goddess. But there is still sooooo much that I need to learn.

Even though I tease people and say 'if it weren't for the Romans, you'd still be living in a grass hut without running water', I find the other European cultures should be equally proud of their heritage. The Germanic people have a very rich culture, with Asatru still being a an 'official' religion in Iceland. And from living in Flanders, I have learned a great deal about Germanic religion & culture and probably know more about it than my own... :roll:

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Romanitas

Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Tue Sep 17, 2002 10:57 am

Salve Scorp,


I didn't answer your question when you asked it the first time. I was just a new member, and I was a bit scared of the reactins of the other people... things can change :wink: ...

Romanitas? I feel Romanitas as a matter of honour. When do you do several things, when are you allowed to do those things. How should you react on provocations etc. Although you should keep some things in mind: Romanitas is more then 2000 years old, and cannot be used in the same way it once was. We don't drag our wives with her hair through the street anymore when she has done something wrong. Fortunately! I'm afraid too many people think of romanitas as a 'take-away' package of rules, behaviour, thoughts, etc. We still have to adapt it to our times and to our personality.

I try to use romanitas when talking to other people, when having official contacts and when family matters are spoken of (and dealt with) by the outside world.

I also see Romanitas as interest for other cultures, arts and politics. Although the plebs in Rome had to work very hard to stay alive, politics were something that was interesting for everybody. The people still were listened to. Art was everywhere on the streets, making things beautiful was very important. That is something I'm missing now. And the interest in other cultures is changing in hospitality for other cultures. It's a shame where our world is going too... oooops getting too cynical, this is something I should save for the Col Phi!


Valete,



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Being a Roman

Postby Anonymous on Thu Sep 19, 2002 6:30 am

Salvete,

As for feeling -and being- a Roman, I really had no choice. Having been born and raised in a distinctly Roman region with all the historical remains, the folk tales deriving from mythos and the culture in general. I had read the Graeco-Roman Myths when I was around, well can't remember, I had this children's book, telling the shortened versions of them, so it must be very early.

I think the Greek and Roman Culture is the most familiar tradition for a Westerner to live with, after all we have most of our modern institutions and laws from them. I hold the Roman ideals high and the Gods of Rome dear. My only problem about the past is the role of women in Greek and Roman society, but that was then and this is now. You can not judge people from the B.Cs to the first centuries by 21st century standarts. Another thing about Rome that I love is that its culture was so tolerant of other cultures and absorbed what it saw fit without hesitating. Having a major interest in various cultures from around the world it really suits me well.
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Question for Locatus

Postby Diana Moravia Aventina on Thu Sep 19, 2002 10:52 pm

Salve Locatus,

Locatus said: That is something I'm missing now. And the interest in other cultures is changing in hospitality for other cultures.

Did you mean 'into hospitality for other cultures' or 'into hostility for other cultures' ?

Since you listed your first interest as politics, I was just wondering if it was a type-o, which would change yur sentence entirely.

Vale Diana
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Cultures

Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Fri Sep 20, 2002 10:09 am

Salvete,


Good you noticed Diana!

It should be 'into hostility for other cultures". A whole change of sentence, isn't it? My English isn't that good...

In Europe extremely Right parties are winning votes, Racism is increasing; In the US the extreme party is ruling and nationalism is on a very dangerous level. Why do we do this to ourselves? Can't we stop this dangerous evolution?


Valete,


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Postby Anonymous on Fri Sep 20, 2002 2:47 pm

I'm not sure which extremist party is allegedly ruling in the US. Disagree with some of their policies as I might, the Republicans are from extremists in the grand scale of things.

I'm not sure why nationalism is on a very dangerous level either. For the first time I can remember in my 25 years of life Americans have been roused from their pathetic, television induced stupor and are finally concerned with something besides who wins Monday night football game. Most of us are committed to crushing a dangerous foe. Despite the call of alleged intellectuals around the world to negotiate with criminals who want to gas or nuke our cities, we're fighting back.

The legions are marching, and after they return from crushing the barbarians they will be given accolades of State. In other words, we are behaving like Romans.
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Extremists

Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Fri Sep 20, 2002 5:14 pm

Salvete!


Let me first say this: I don't want to hurt anyone!

But :wink: ...

I'm not sure which extremist party is allegedly ruling in the US. Disagree with some of their policies as I might, the Republicans are from extremists in the grand scale of things.


Well, it is maybe not what you would call an extremist party, but it is certainly what we (most Europeans) would call it. Unfortunately fundamentalists are on the rise here too.

I'm not sure why nationalism is on a very dangerous level either


There has been said a lot in Europe about the whole case about the oath to the flag (or something like that). I wouldn't like to do this everyday at school, and I wouldn't like to say 'one nation under God' every day. The senate of the US approves this every day... Personal choice, I guess, but this is not something for country that calls itselves 'the country of liberty'...
And there is suspicion about censorship in the American press too.
I think nationalism is more tolerated in the US than it is here, and the US citizens are used to it. But we Belgians have an allergic reaction on the word 'nationalism'... Personal feelings I guess.

For the first time I can remember in my 25 years of life Americans have been roused from their pathetic, television induced stupor and are finally concerned with something besides who wins Monday night football game

Do they play on mondaynight in the US? strange...
No, seriously: I don't think many americans know what is going on in the other parts of the world. During an inquiry only 48% of the Americans knew that in Israel more Palestinians were murdered than Iraelis. Strange... Don't they say that on television?

Despite the call of alleged intellectuals around the world to negotiate with criminals who want to gas or nuke our cities, we're fighting back.


Mmmm... I don't think it will be that bad. I think you mean Iraq here. If they allow weapon surveyers (I don't know what the exact english word is) the problem is partly solved. All right, I admit that you can't talk with Saddam, but attacking Iraq will be an attack on the whole arab world, and that should be avoided. These people allready had to ran through a lot of problems.

The legions are marching, and after they return from crushing the barbarians they will be given accolades of State. In other words, we are behaving like Romans.

This is true. And the Romans massacred whole nations. They also had the capital punishment. And I don't approve that. I admire the Romans for their culture, not for their crimes.

The attacks that have been on the US were cruel, useless and a real crime. But these problems should be prevented on a peaceful way, not punished by bombing anyone you don't like. The US should stop with their unilateralism, and the Arab world should show more understanding. And once again, Europe is in the middle; nor saying this, nor saying that.

We should look at the people, not at the nations or at the leaders. Huge problems like the Iraq-matter should be solved peacefully, not by killing more people.

I support all victims of any war, where-ever they may be on this planet; but the best thing to do is prevent war, and not by making war.

In amicitia and fides,


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Hail Bush: a new Roman Empire

Postby Publius Dionysius Mus on Fri Sep 20, 2002 10:32 pm

Salvete!

In relation the this recent discussion here, on the US etc.: this is a very nice article from The Guardian:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/09/ ... 15705.html

Valete bene
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Re: Extremists

Postby Anonymous on Sat Sep 21, 2002 4:49 am

Thank you for your comments. Please allow me to respond kindly. :D

There has been said a lot in Europe about the whole case about the oath to the flag (or something like that). I wouldn't like to do this everyday at school, and I wouldn't like to say 'one nation under God' every day. The senate of the US approves this every day... Personal choice, I guess, but this is not something for country that calls itselves 'the country of liberty'


The nature of controversy arises not so much from the oath to the flag itself (and the Republic for which it stands), but from the religious phrase you mentioned which was a later addition. As a non-Christian I, and some other people, do object to the belated insertion of reference to their god in the oath. But this entire argument is framed between conservative Monotheists and their opponents over one religious phrase. Most Americans as such I think have little problem with making an oath to the flag. Furthermore, those that don't want to say the oath for any reason have the option of remaining silent. It is not as though they have secret police monitoring the room willing to arrest anyone who fails to honor it :wink:

By the way, did you know when the Pledge of Allegiance was first written, American citizens were taught to revere the Flag with the Roman salute? This practice was only abandoned in the thirties after the gesture came to be identified with fascist parties. I found that most interesting ....

A little nationalism is a good thing, IMHO, at least in countries who have some proud record to enshrine. Nationalism helps cement the bonds of union among citizens, and between citizens and State. Excessive nationalism, of course, can lead to woeful policies, and I understand why Europeans with their history are taught to be wary of it. But we Americans can take assertive pride in our country without sending the stormtroopers marching into Poland.


Do they play on mondaynight in the US? strange...
No, seriously: I don't think many americans know what is going on in the other parts of the world. During an inquiry only 48% of the Americans knew that in Israel more Palestinians were murdered than Iraelis. Strange... Don't they say that on television?


On the news, not on popular programs. The deplorable state of American civic awareness is a valid criticism; however, it does not in and of itself invalidate the people's right to defend themselves from foreign aggression.




Mmmm... I don't think it will be that bad. I think you mean Iraq here. If they allow weapon surveyers (I don't know what the exact english word is) the problem is partly solved. All right, I admit that you can't talk with Saddam, but attacking Iraq will be an attack on the whole arab world, and that should be avoided. These people allready had to ran through a lot of problems.


I meant Al Qada, but I have no love for Iraq. Al Qada's ultimate goal is to attain weapons of mass destruction and detonate them in American cities. It is not currently a question of if, but when.



I support all victims of any war, where-ever they may be on this planet; but the best thing to do is prevent war, and not by making war.


"Those who want peace prepare for war."

"War is the extension of diplomacy by other means."

Peace is preferable, but not always obtainable. When a clash of wills cannot be resolved peacefully the result is conflict. Our enemies see as their highest religious duty the destruction of America's global influence. They will wage war on us one way or another. We aren't interested in negotiating with people who want to kill us in the name of their deity. We aren't interested in forging peace with people who want to wipe us from the face of the map. What we can do is meet the challenge with the best traditions of courage, strength, and cunning as exemplified by our Greco-Roman forebears.

You said you admired the Roman culture; in my personal opinion one cannot separate the warrior ethic from Roman culture. Or Grecian culture. Or any culture influenced by our Indo-European forebears. It was the warrior spirit that allowed Spartan troops to defend Greece at Thermopolye, and it was the warrior spirit that allowed Rome to defend herself from Carthage. If it weren't for the warrior spirit, the cultures we all admire and revere would have been annihilated by foreign foes, consigned to the forgotten ashes of history.

The Europeans, victims of two great cataclysms of the last century, are understandably wary of violence. But they can afford the luxury of their new found pacifism as they are not directly in the crosshairs. We Americans are. And I suspect if for some reason American influence is ever destroyed, the barbarians will turn to the next great bastion of Western Civilization whose very existence threatens their delusions of a worldwide Islamic state - Europe.

Cordially yours,

Romulus Iulius Ursus.
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current Political Discussion

Postby Diana Moravia Aventina on Sun Sep 22, 2002 11:54 am

Salvete collega's,

Locatus: I liked your post better when I thought that you meant 'hospitality for other cultures'. Since I am one of the right wing people that you are talking about, I just want to point out that it is the European Media machine that says that everyone who is right wing and nationalistic is 'extreme right' and a 'racist'. This is far from the truth. Nationalism is a good thing. Why shouldn't we be proud of our culture and our countries? Most Nationalists are neither against another cultures, nor racists.
In my neighborhood, I have been attacked/harrassed by Arabic gangs of youths more times than I can count. The entire neighborhood is filled with African pimps selling women, drugs and weapons. These people also receive unemployment benefits, which our taxes pay for... The Mayor & the police won't do anything to stop it because they are afraid of being called 'racists'. I am literally afraid to leave my apartment (and I grew up in the heart of New York City!). The crime is so bad where I live (between the De Coninksplein and Rooseveltplaats) that I am moving to Bilzen into the middle of nowhere....
I am not a racist when I point out who the criminals are, just because they are not white. A criminal is a criminal and should be stopped no matter what color his skin is. Period. The same rules have to apply for everyone. Zero tolerance works--Mayor Guiliani made NYC one of the safest cities in the world and it was not that way 10 years ago when I lived there.

As far as the Pledge of Allegence in US schools go, it has been a tradition in the US since the country began and it is a good one. It takes 30 seconds and reminds children that many people have died in order to give them the good lives that they enjoy in the US. And the words 'with liberty and justice for all' is a very positive phrase.

I am not at all pro-US foreign policy. I believe that US foreign policy is influenced by the media, which is 90% owned by Hebrews who of course support Israel. Even though I think that George Bush is a bit too aggressive, he is neither a member nor represents any extreme-right party in the US. And when the WTC got blasted to the ground, he couldn't turn the other cheek... Who could?

So just for the record, I am surely 'right wing' but I am happy to say that I have many friends of different races, religions, cultures and political opinions. But my eyes are wide open as far as who are the criminals and who is maniplulating whom to get what they want. And for Locatus and anyone else: I hope that the moderators of this list do not mind this non-Roman discussion! I look forward to having friendly political discussions with anyone when we meet in person. This is the way that we learn from eachother and understand eachother's viewpoints, even if we don't agree.

And by the way, the US football teams mostly play on Sunday. Monday night football is something extra :-)

With friendly greetings,
Diana
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Sep 22, 2002 8:51 pm

Salvete.

Yes yes, back from our much-needed trip to the sea!

Okay. Impressive answers on Romanitas. Allow me to add my own 2 denarii. Much like Curio and Locatus, I wasn't "born Roman". Actually, I have no real ethnic or nationalistic feelings other than a general sense of belonging to a slowly growing group of people that considers their European identity as important as their own national identity.

My intrests in Rome (and Greece) have always been more intellectual. It's amazing to see how detailed laws, economic systems and problems that we think of as modern also occurred in an empire that existed for over a millennium. And much more than civilisations like Egypt or Mesopotomia, Rome has a highly dramatic potential: the lives of people like Caesar, Sulla, Marcus Aurelius or the Gracchi still inspire people today.

On the right-wing / left-wing problems in the USA / EU.

Yes, there are parallels (a lot of them) between the US of A and the Roman Empire. Some of these are positive, others are negative. But it's also true that for Europeans, even the American Democrats are fairly conservative. For John Averge in America, on the other hand, some legislation as it exists in Germany (where the state interferes a lot with the economy) or Belgium and the Netherlands (legal gay marriage) would be too progressive.

For me personally, there's nothing wrong with conservative / progressive people, as long as they don't force their opinions down other people's throats. However, from an outsider's point of view, I do see a tendency among the so-called "hawks" (Rumsfeld et al) in the American government to do everything on their own without real consent or agreement from the allies (or a manufactured consent because the EU is politically divided and weak). Personally I think that in a globalised world like today you can't do this.

Saddam *is* depraved and evil. But the economic sanctions against Iraq only made his people suffer. A new war will do likewise and may destabilise and extremely explosive region. And once again, there are ulterior economic motives. I don't blame the US for this. The EU might do the same if it had the power to do it.

Valete bene!
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To Be Roman (and get a buncha people to do it with you!)

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Oct 03, 2002 3:43 am

Dragging this thread back on-topic, whether Iraq or the Prez will it or no... >({|;-)


It begins with a readiness and a willingness on one's part to identify oneself as a Roman whenever and wherever possible. I introduce myself that way at work and in classes; on forms that request my ethnicity for statistical reasons, I put either 'Hispanic (Roman)' or 'Other (Roman)'. I say I'm a Roman to people whom I am meeting for the first time. Time for conversation permitting, I may even pull out my reenactor photos (a few of which are posted on my humble Page).

This tends very naturally to lead to the question: "Marius, why do you call yourself a Roman?"...this said in a puzzled or fascinated tone of voice by those who approach me about it, perhaps a few days later. At that point I explain my Hispano-Roman roots and my pride in that part of my heritage; and if I haven't done so already, I inform the interviewer of my Legionary activities and show them the pictures. In most cases I am the first person the interviewer has ever heard refer to themselves as a Roman; the way our history is taught in schools, people tend to think we've been extinct Lo, these many years! ("The barbarians didn't get *all* of us," he says with a solemn wink...) >({|;-)

For most people, this information is enough. But some few will be intrigued; and these are the ones who, over the next days or weeks, will want to find out from you just what 'being a Roman' *means*.

There are two kinds of these 'groupies': Those who want to know what Romanitas is and means to a Roman (the 'students'); and those who think that information may have some application to themselves (the 'seekers'). I treat both groups the same, as one never knows when a Student may evolve into a Seeker. Even those who remain Students will have gained the unique, possibly once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear about Roman civilization from the perspective of a Roman. This may change the course of their studies, and certainly the spirit of any papers they may write. No more the Dry and Dusty Academic; how can he be, when he knows at least one person for whom Roma LIVES? But of course the greatest reward is in seeing someone find their own inner Romanitas; that Mater Roma may live for them, too, however small their initial grounding in the subject.

Ergo, everything I do from that point is designed to give a Student-type the unique perspective of a Roman-in-spirit, and to get a Seeker-type off to a very good start and give him firm grounding on the Roman Way.

In no particular order (you will note that the entire process has been driven by the queries of the curious person, not by me), I teach:

-- the Four Cardinal Virtues: Gravitas, Dignitas, Pietas, and Virtus

(I'm sure everyone has their own list, and comparing notes could
lead to some fascinating discussions on this and other Lists,
but those are mine...)

-- Discipline (if you ask me, *the* defining trait of the Roman character),
with historical examples

-- A bit about our history (that there were Kingdom, Republic and
Empire, and how long the whole thing lasted, how 'together' the
world was for a time, and how long it took to come undone)

-- A bit about the Legions (since that's my 'freak', if you will!)

-- Answering questions in a way meant to correct commonly-held
misconceptions (especially those resulting from Christian
propaganda)

-- Stories about exemplary Romans (I share most of Titus Livius'
favorites)

-- Anything else Roman that comes up in conversation, optionally to
include enough Latin to 'meet and greet' with

It is entirely possible that this could take a little bit of time. It is also entirely possible that the person(s) benefitting from this will become your friend(s), that you will meet with them fairly often in the course of your daily life, and that you will rap a little bit about Roma every time. Congratulations--You have a Buncha Romans!

As you may note, there is nothing formal about such a grouping whatsoever. It has no constitution or bylaws, any more than any other friendship does, and attempts to impose same are bound to drive away a prospective member and will look ridiculous besides. So I don't know how (or even if) we should go about incorporating these 'circuli' into the Societas Via Romana. Perhaps it will be enough simply to share with each other the fact that we have them, and how many 'disciples' in each.


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US as new Roman Empire

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Oct 03, 2002 5:48 am

Salvete

I have been reading through a few of these posts. I was not going to respond at first. Some comments made by fellow Americans has brought more attention to me than others. A few observations.

I found the Guardian article parallelling the US with the Roman Empire well done, understated at points in its allusions to certain things the US has done in the past. The more you know about the history of Rome and of the US I think you will find more parallels than a superficial knowledge lends. The US, like Rome, and later like Britain, did not set out to build an empire. A few people are now awaking to the fact that the US has an empire, a dirty word in how the US thinks of itself. Some leaders think we should accept the fact and try to act as a leader to bring forward a better world. Others seem to think that the US should use its position to do whatever it wants without considering the interests of other states. That debate has only really begun and it will be a long time before this is settled.

Having served in military intelligence in the US Army I saw a lot of things, learned about a lot of things that the US government has done in various parts of the world. The vast majority of Americans, including members of Congress, do not know what the US has done, is doing, and if they did they would probably not tolerate it being done on their behalf. The US is not a monolith, nor is the US government a monolith. I find it somewhat amusing that a proxy war is now in progress in Columbia with one branch
of the US government at war with another branch.

Nationalism does not play quite the same in the US as in Europe. In Europe there seems to be an element of ethnicity to nationalism. In the US nationalism attempts to bridge differences in ethnicity. US nationalism does at times attempt to have people conform to an ideal of patriotism that does not always regard individual differences. But in that, there is really a difference in how some Americans see nationalism. In recent events certain portions of the US population tried to equate patriotism with Christianity and a lot of flag waving. While others made an effort to be inclusive towards Muslim Americans. Some of my neighbors noted that I am one of the few in my neighborhood that does not have an American flag hanging out in front of my house. Instead, when confronted, I put on my beret and remind them that unlike them I did serve in the military, and was injured in the line of duty, for which I have been paying for ever since.

Right wing/Left wing. The spectrum is not very wide in US politics. In El Salvadore during the 1980's Ronnie Raygun would have fit in as a communist, Adolph Hitler as a leftist, liberal socialist. The only commendable thing about Napoleone Durante was that he didn't want to kill everyone. Can't say that about his political opponents in the El Salvadoran government. And among the rebels, by that point they were mainly fighting to stay alive. Some of the other regimes in Latin America at the time, Liberals or Nationalists, they were far to the right of anything in US politics, kept in power by elements in the US government. Guatalmala, Brazil, Chile, what I know about US policies in those countries is a disgrace to any civilized nation

With regard to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, I did not serve in the army and defend the rights of others just to have some people try to force their opinions on others. When joining the army I had to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Part of that document guarantees citizens and non-citizens alike to rights of free speach, to free assembly, to freedom of religion, to the right of habeas corpus. It seems to me that Americans need to be taught exactly what those freedoms mean, begining with the members of George Bush' administration.

I do not know what cities in Europe are like today. I do not live in New York city. I did notice the other week that Joan Collins said she was moving to NYC because she felt safer there than in her native London. That seemed a little odd to me. Growing up in Cleveland and Detroit, it was a bit violent at times. More than a few of my acquaintances were murdered. Of my childhood friends only two of us were not murdered or went to prison. It is less violent today than I recall back in the '50's and 60's, in spite of the amount of violence we do have today.

Regarding Iraq, Israel and so forth, I know a little about Iraq and its ruling party from the 1970's, last time I was involved in the Middle East. I know a good deal about Sharon. I do not think that any country in the world could really tolerate the Iraqi regime having weapons of mass destruction. Economic sanctions have not worked to prevent it. UN weapons inspectors are unlikely to erradicate such weapons. It does not leave us with many options. The US unilateralism is not the proper approach to resolve the problem. Bush may not realize that but Congress does and some of the strongest voices opposing Bush' unilateralism are within his own party. No action against Iraq is really feasible while the situation in Israel and Palestine remain as it is. A first step in any move against Iraq should be to remove Sharon. And removing Sadam Hussein is not about to change anything in Iraq unless you eliminate his entire government.

A note on Iraq's use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran. The US has admitted to providing the Iraqi's at that time with intelligence, but denies it provided "operational assistance." Nonesense. The way the weapons were employed, on the type of targets they were employed, is a feature of the American way of conducting operations. It is not the way Soviets employed chemicals weapons, the Iraqi's supposedly having been trained by the Soviets. The US, like Rome, has become very proficient at using clients to fight its border wars.

The death penalty. I would have to be considered far left for American politics. One of those old New Leftists, member of the Ogelsby faction of the SDS, involved in a certain incident at Kent State in 1970. To me Clinton was a conservative Republican and George McGovern was a sorry compromise. I am an active member of the ACLU which opposes the death the penalty. But I do support the death penalty. The last person executed in Ohio murdered a person I knew personally. The next person Ohio will execute later this month is a man who raped and killed an eleven year old girl in my city. I really do not think it should have taken twenty some years to await his execution. Meanwhile I am awaiting the result of another case involving some people I know, an inocent man convicted of a murder, whose sentence we are trying to have overturned.

And yes there is one game of American football played on Monday nights. Most professional games are played on Sundays and holidays. College games, that I find more interesting these days, are played on Saturdays. The only American football game I watch is the traditional Army-Navy game. The only other sporting event I watch with any interest is the World Cup. Once every four years is enough sports for me. Politics is more entertaining.

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Re: To Be Roman (and get a buncha people to do it with you!)

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Oct 03, 2002 6:07 am

Salvete

A little odd of a topic for me to consider. I have always thought myself a Roman because I was raised to think of myself in that manner. What does it mean to me to be Roman? For me it is tied to how I feel about my family, our religious tradition, what we extol as virtue. Several complex issues involved in all that.

[quote="Marius Peregrine"]Dragging this thread back on-topic, >({|;-)


In no particular order (you will note that the entire process has been driven by the queries of the curious person, not by me), I teach:

-- the Four Cardinal Virtues: Gravitas, Dignitas, Pietas, and Virtus

(I'm sure everyone has their own list, and comparing notes could
lead to some fascinating discussions on this and other Lists,
but those are mine...)

I would include fidelitas, pietas, and virtus. Proper behavior towards others, especially those under you or of lesser means. Proper behavior towards the gods, the ancestors, and family members. Then proper self conduct. To me one's dignitas depends on these other virtues. It is a matter of personal integrity, with yourself as much as with others. Honesty, and with yourself first; keeping your word even when it may be to your disadvantage, and standing up for the rights of others even if it is against your personal interests. Gravitas and severitas, well I am often accused of exemplifying those virtues to the point of frightening others, so maybe they do not seem as important to me.

-- Discipline (if you ask me, *the* defining trait of the Roman character),
with historical examples

As in self discipline, a proper Roman virtue.

-- Stories about exemplary Romans (I share most of Titus Livius'
favorites)

The source I look towards to define the Roman virtues.

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right/left

Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Thu Oct 03, 2002 4:36 pm

Salvete,



I agree with Marcus. My rethotics aren't as good as his, but this is mainly what I meant. Except for the death penalty. Only the risk that you punish an innocent person is enough to be against it.

About our right-wing diana :wink: :
In my neighborhood, I have been attacked/harrassed by Arabic gangs of youths more times than I can count. The entire neighborhood is filled with African pimps selling women, drugs and weapons. These people also receive unemployment benefits, which our taxes pay for... The Mayor & the police won't do anything to stop it because they are afraid of being called 'racists'. I am literally afraid to leave my apartment (and I grew up in the heart of New York City!).

Why are these people "non-whites"? When does somebody get into criminality?
You will steal something when you don't have the money to buy it. Or yopu will steal the money you need to buy it. When these people will have the money to buy their stuff, they won't steal anymore.
The easy answer is that we should help these people to get higher education levels, to learn the language, to give them a job etc.
Alerting reports from those migrants reach us. I personnally know a man of 35 with three different degrees (all obtained at university), who speaks very good dutch; but the only job he has got is to clean buildings. Why? because he is a north-african. He has done more than 250 sollicitations (if this is the right word) but they didn't want to hire them because he is a 'stranger'. If I was him I would get frustrated, and frustrated people start using alcohol and/or other drugs, will have a bigger need for money and start stealing. They eventually end up in organised crime.
Many of those 'youth gangs' are created by these kinds of mechanisms. The young migrants don't have (or see) any perspective, quit school and end up in criminal envirronment. We should give these people more changes, in stead of creating walls around them, what the extremely right perties try to do. No gettos, but open societies.

Valete,


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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Oct 04, 2002 9:41 am

Thanks Mari for your on-topic reply ;)

And sure we've drifted off topic. But that's what "general discussion" is all about.

My friends and I recently had a discussion about death and justice. When I was younger I used to be totally against death as a means of punishing anyone. However, now I do believe that there are situations where people are better of dead. To put it crudely: a living psychopath in jail costs the state more money than a dead psychopath.

But. If an innocent person dies, the decision can't be revoked if the person is already dead. If there is the possibility of a death penalty, it will be used and we can't be sure it won't be used against innocent people even though I think psychopaths and mass murderers deserve to die. So... I still think that saving the life of a potentially innocent person is more worth than destroying the life of a clearly guilty one.

Another question that is somewhat related to this discussion: if someone were to kill your brother/sister or a very close relative for no good reason (meaning your relative was totally innocent and bears no guilt for his own death), and you know who the killer is, would you kill that person yourself? Perhaps more something for ColPhi but let's do it here :).

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