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Romanization and Empire

Introduction and key questions to Romanization


One definition of Romanization, or acculturation understood within its broader scope, is
the process of heavily influencing the adoption and application of key concepts (i.e. language,
architecture, and politics) from a superior culture into an inferior culture. This trend of
suggesting that a militarily (and to a lesser extent, culturally) superior culture is completely
active and the culture under its control is completely passive is, presently, a largely devalued
viewpoint which gained momentum in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries (Millet
1992: 1-2). Francis Haverfield and his professor, Theodor Mommsen, are both largely
responsible for educating many influential nineteenth and twentieth-century scholars about the
patterns of one-directional cultural matriculation (McGeough 2009: 300). As such, they are also
generally regarded as the primary proponents of Romanization. Romanization is understood
here as studying and documenting alterations in a native culture (i.e. pre-Roman Britain) in favor
of noticeably Romanesque material changes and historical processes (Millet 1992: 1).
Haverfield and Mommsens keen observances of cultural variance within provinces and cultural
subgroups have cast a large shadow because current scholarship (archaeology, history,
linguistics) is still weighing its academic significance against its modernist theory undertones
Haverfields major publications came in 1905, 1913 and 1924.
In addition to Romanization, we also need to attempt to define culture as it is repeated
throughout this argument. Culture is widely considered to be one of the most complicated words
in the English language (Williams 1983: 87). Culture, much like Romanization, is frequently
used and rarely given much persistent, purposeful thought. Morely attempts to provide a
defining focus to culture by identifying key archaeological concepts relative to its

interpretation, In archaeology, the term primarily refers to particular material assemblages, the
distinct combination of forms, motifs and types of artefact that can be used to distinguish
between different groups both over time and over space (Morely 2007: 105). I use this
interpretation as the scope by which both culture and Romanization is comprehended through
evaluating multiple ethnic assemblages.
It is against this backdrop that I will attempt to answer the following questions which, I
argue, will help weigh Romanizations appropriateness as a useful concept for thinking about the
past via current historical and archaeological discourse: 1) what is Romanization; 2) how is
Romanization perceived in modern society in relation to other acculturation processes; 3) did
Romanization ever actually exist, or was it constructed as a singularity by scholars in the
nineteenth and twentieth-centuries; and 4) what is the relationship between Romanization and
nineteenth-century imperialism? These questions, some of which will be tethered to larger,
overarching portions of questioning, will be addressed through, but not limited to, ancient
accounts (Juvenals Satires and Josephus Jewish Wars), modern interpretations (Saur and Millet)
and empirical remains (Greco-Roman architecture present in the Levant in the early first-century
CE).
What is Romanization
In order to fully grasp the way in which Romanization became, and remains, a part of
modern academia, it is first necessary to appreciate how and why the term was realized in order
to recognize its modern perception and application. Mommsen first used the term
Romanisierung (which Haverfield translated as Romanization in 1909 in contrast to W. P.
Dicksons 1886 Romanising translation) in his Romische Geschichte first published in its

original German in 1865 (Hingley 2008: 217).

Map of Roman Empire under Hadrian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_(cultural)

Before Mommsens writings of the late nineteenth-century, Romanization, as a theory, was


sparsely studied and paled in comparison to the study of Hellenization as a self-fulfilling
paradigm (Mattingly 2013: 207). Mommsen and his students recognized seemingly apparent
cultural differential patterns in texts, coins, and inscriptions (Mommsen 1865: 176), and ascribed
the novel discourse a term to help with its comprehensibility. Zeitgeist (mid nineteenth-century)
and bermensch (1883) are other German examples of philosophical perceptions which were
given designated linguistic expressions around the same time period. Romanization, as a
phenomenon explaining social modification, primarily noticeable in the provincial Roman
Empire (i.e. Britain and Gaul), was largely undocumented in the ancient world, but the ancients
were acutely aware of foreign ethnic infiltrations into traditional Roman norms. Juvenal (a
Roman poet who wrote in the late first and early second-centuries CE) satirized the infiltration:
Quae nunc divitibus gens acceptissima nostris
et quos praecipue fugiam, properabo fateri,
nec pudor opstabit. Non possum ferre, Quirites,
Graecam urbem; quamvis quota portio faecis Achaei (Juvenal Sat III: 58-61)?
But Juvenals discerning and documenting foreign (in this case Greek) permeation into a
superior culture, stands as a contradiction to Mommsen and Haverfields centripetal (fixed
central point usually causing circular, outward motion) cultural flow. Instead, according to

Juvenal, the Roman provincial territories are bringing their ethnic customs into Rome and the
Roman ethos in a sort of centrifugal (fleeing from the center) ethnic pattern. This pattern
recognizes that Roman behaviors were fleeing from Roman cities with the void being replaced
by foreign activities. A few pragmatical studies of Greek influences on Roman culture, which
will be further explained below, include entertainment, religion, and architecture.

McDonalds near Pantheon in Rome. http://blogostoso.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/delicias-para-saborearem-cartaz-doces-delicias-do-mcdonalds/

Hellenization vs Romanization
Foreign influences found in the Roman Empires largest cities survive in texts, as
Juvenal related above, and as empirical remains. Suetonius, the Roman historian writing in the
late first and early second-centuries CE, recounts how Augustus brought in Greek athletes to
perform as part of a program which included gladiatorial games and chariot races (Suetonius
Julius Caesar 39). The Hellenic games were a part of the program, but the gladiatorial games

(native-Roman munera) took up the majority of the agenda. The first emperors adopted the
eastern-style games as supplementary to traditional munera, but (Hellenic
games) were never fully embraced until the reign of Domitian in the years 81-96 CE. It seems
it took a few years before wide-spread Hellenic acculturation (Hellenization) was accepted as
part of Roman mos. Despite the relatively early systematic adoption of Greek philosophy and
literature, which was largely spread through Greek tutors and slaves (Duiker, Speilvogel 2006:
103-109) in Rome by the time of Augustus, it was the emperor Domitian, a philhellene more
despised and feared than Nero, who made Greek athletics a part of the Roman scene by

establishing the Capitoline Games in CE 86 (Miller 2004).

The ebb and flow of acculturation was further experienced when the Neronian Games
(established in CE 60) collapsed after only being held twice. In addition, the Capitoline Games
lost much of their Greekness (to hellenikon) when Domitian died (Livy 5.50.4). Pliny the
Younger, before Domitians death, said he applauded the abolition of the gymnicus agon in
Vienna and wished the games at Rome would be stopped too (Pliny the Younger Letters 4.22).
The odeon which Domitian built to hold music contests and the stadium which he built to hold
Hippodrome in Jordan. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hippodrome,_Jerash,_Jordan1.jpg

equestrian events, as well as womens running events in the Campus Martius (Aupert Fouilles de
Delphes II: Topographie et Architecture 1979; Suetonius Domitian 4.4; Dio Cassius 67.8 in
Jacobelli 2003, 18), were soon transformed to hold gladiatorial bouts and naumachiae
(Humphrey 1986). This trend of instituting Hellenic structures which progressed to hold
Roman games is not restricted to Rome; it is apparent throughout the Roman Empire and its

provinces including the Levant.

Romanization, as an overarching catch-all term referring to an apparent break of native,


ethnic traditions in favor of Roman customs, is an exceedingly broad label and does not take
centrifugal cultural patterns into account. Mattingly describes Romanization as an overly
simplistic practice which fails to account for complex realities, thus creating pseudo
homogeneity (Mattingly 2011: 207). Though Roman homogeneity may not have existed as a
universal truth spanning the Mediterranean world, Mommsen did succeed in creating a standard,
of sorts, which continues to generate a scholarly debate about Romes impact in the ancient and
modern world. Present-day historians and archaeologists must now, at least to some degree,
acknowledge Romanizations potential for explaining cultural variances which did seem to
spread geographically along with the expansion of Roman military influences starting in the mid
fifth-century BCE. While it may not be the self-fulfilling paradigm which explains all changes
in the vast Roman world, Mommsens Romanisierung demands the need for a well-developed
counter-argument in order to develop a deeper understanding of complex social patterns. In

order to better appreciate how general acculturation is assessed, it is worth taking a brief look at
localized ethnicities that seemed to adopt foreign norms which helped establish a different selfidentity. Because ethnic identities are social constructs, they are susceptible and non-impervious
to external and internal factors causing a continual ebb and flow of applied (etic) and selfdistinctiveness (emic), respectively (Ewin 2003: 69-71).
Speaking in greater detail about ostensive, novel self-distinctiveness, Hellenic cultural
traits permeating into non-Hellenic sites are noticeable in Augustan Rome, the caput mundi
(Lucan 2.136), and have been well documented and explained by Paul Zanker (Zanker 1990,
1995, 1998, 2010). The newly adopted, Augustan slogan of the first-century CE, Nothing is too
good for the gods, demonstrated the new, centripetal ideological approach Rome seemed to take
by implementing foreign ethnicity into Roman cities and provinces (Zanker 1990: 106). But
following and employing the newest and most exciting cultural traits encountered through trade
and war (empirically evidenced primarily through traceable, ethnic architectural styles) was
Roman in and of itself. Before Romes Hellenistic architectural preferences, Roman architects
synthesized native Latin and Etruscan designs to fit a coveted Roman tone. Most substantial
architectural features (the temple of Voltumna in Volsinii for example) before the early-Republic
which is generally accepted as starting circa 450 BCE with the aggressive expansion of
Roman boarders and assimilation of nearby townships (Grant 1979: 33)seem to portray an
Etruscan variance.

It was not

Model based on Vitruvius descriptions. https://bucks.instructure.com/courses/200544/files/2586260?


module_item_id=1474359

until 509 BCE, nearly one-hundred and fifty years later, that Hellenistic tropes started taking
shape in Roman cities reflective by their empirical features and literary commentaries (Colantoni
in Thomas, Meyers 2012: 21-40). It was the ushering in of the early-Republic which transported
Hellenistic architectural and social influences into Roman practice which, in turn, displaced,
what Stamper describes as Etrusco-Romanarchitectural production and character (Stamper
2005: 47-48). Greece eventually came under Roman domination in 146 BCE after the Battle of
Corinth, but Hellenistic preferences were largely apparent and practiced in Rome well before the
Corinthians defeat.
Shifting then, from Etruscan to Hellenistic cultural norms adopted in Rome and its
general sphere of influence, we can trace the transition from early Etrusco-Roman temples,

which left behind modest tufa masonry with heavy, cumbersome terra cotta ornamentation
(Stamper 2005: 19-49), to Greek-inspired temples. Vitruvius outlines Hellenistic-style temples
in the first-century publication, De Architectura. The Greek-style temple, mimicked by Romans,
is noted for its use of shining marble and gold decoration and was negatively viewed by Roman
traditionalists such as Cato the Elder (Horace Carmina 3.6) and Juvenal (Juvenal Satire 6). They
perceived the new architectural constructions and patrons interactions with them as contrasting
to Roman mos. This trend of manifesting Greek architecture to express a progressive Roman
identity is further evidenced by Greeks flocking to Rome and finding employment to design and
build monumental buildings (both in size and importance), the likes of which are depicted on the
faade of the Ara Pietatis (Beard et al. 1998: 82-85). This relief has the potential to elaborate on
the traditionalists literary interpretation mentioned above and perhaps express a more general,
popular assessment of how most Romans may have regarded and translated Greek architectural
designs. It may also support the theory for the widespread acceptance of foreign societal patterns
in Rome by extension, thereby, providing further examples refuting Mommsen and Haverfield.

Ara Pietatis Augustae.


it.abctribe.com/Wiki/archeologia_romana_sperti_ca_foscari_cons_beniculturali/il_tempio_di_apollo_palatino_
protettore_dell_imperatore/_gui_2307_5

As such, it is worth briefly mentioning a few characteristics of Hellenistic temples in


Rome depicted in the Ara Pietatis because they are commonly synonymous with most modern
connotations of Italys capital city. Some of these Hellenistic-style temples are described by the
Roman aristocrat and friend to the emperor, Vitruvius, as having steep, freestanding stairs with
an engaged altar and situated before the podium. There is often a dense row of tall columns
located behind the staircase on the podium that were frequently in the Corinthian style. The
Corinthian-style column may have been introduced to Greece circa 430420 BCE in the Temple
of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae in Arcadia that featured a single Corinthian column (Anderson et
al. 1903: 68-74). Vitruvius says the Greeks did not distinguish the Corinthian-style column as its
own order in the fourth-century but instead used it in conjunction with Ionic columns. The
Corinthian column came into its own under Roman architects who were seemingly influenced by
Greek engineers and their architectural partialities. Roman architects went so far as to feature
the Corinthian column style in the temple of Mars Ultor in the Augustan Forumthe cornerstone
of Augustan ideology (Luce in Edmondson 2009: 399-416; Eder in Raaflaub and Toher 1993:
71-122). The use of the Corinthian-style columns in the Augustan Forum serves as illustrations
of both etic and emic social constructs. The image can be construed as an outside culture directly
influencing the aesthetic appetites of a native culture, or the temples columns can be seen as
spoils of war being taken from a conquered civilization and taken back for the general public as a
symbolic gesture of dominationspolia opima (Flower in Richardson and Santangelo 2014:
285-320). Both points of view can be interpreted as either valid or false, but I argue that each are
valid. Augustus employment of Hellenistic architecture in his principle temple is a complex
suggestion which requires more than casual discernment; I argue the Roman aristocracy would

have understood the allusion to the Greek architecture as part of an illustrious past, but also as
part of Romes ability to assimilate other ethnicities achievements into their own.
Romanization and Cynicism
Shifting focus a bit leads to viewing Romes influence through a different discourse:
Romanizations academic impact is greatly comparable to cynicism. Cynicism was originally an
ancient Greek philosophical movement in the late fifth-century BCE promoting the rejection of
everything contrary to nature (i.e. money, fame, laws) which inspired our modern, skeptic
connotation. The modern philosophical movement, loosely based on the fifth-century BCE
teachings of Diogenes, had to be addressed before it could be laid to rest as a main-stream
academic trope. The French philosopher, Rene Descartes (1569-1650), is generally understood
to be the father of modern philosophy (Stokes 2002: 71-73) and was a major player in optics (a
branch of physics involving light and its interactions with matter (Osler 2010: 147-148)). He
based his optic observances largely on rationalism while he was facing our modern form of
cynicism which questioned the reality and reason of most everything. How do you know if
what you are seeing is real? is a question Descartes and his contemporaries regularly faced.
Cynicisms effects on society are still being dealt with as Hillary Clinton (2003) and Sir Kenneth
Clark (1969) spoke on the dangers of cynicism and its potential for destruction on civilizations.
Descartes used the opposing abstract force (cynicism) and facilitated it as a lifting mechanism
causing his hypotheses to be more logically sound because he was forced to define and expand
what was generally unquestioned. By challenging the most minute, seemingly insignificant
details, cynics caused a re-evaluation of basic observations which in turn accounted for a greater
appreciation and cognition of advanced science in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries. It
was from this response to cynicism we get one of historys greatest quotes, cogito ergo sum

(Descartes 1644). Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) would later challenge Descartes scientific
rationalism in favor of empiricism stating rationalism supported a deductive line of
reasoning while empiricism necessitated inductive cognitive skills (Stokes 2002: 71). This
relates to Romanization because both discourses, Romanization and Cynicism, force those who
do not subscribe to the theories to scientifically refute the philosophies by using sound, provable
logic. Descartes opposition to cynicism spurred Newton to do great things which are still
paying benefits. It is not completely accurate to assume Newton would not have accomplished
all he did without Descartes, however, there is no denying Newton was forced to counter
Descartes approach which aided in Newtons approach to science (Leigh in Cronk 2009: 79-92).
Romanization exemplified by Practice
It seems Romanization, like cynicism, can be seen as a necessity which forces academics
to deal with minutia in order to ascertain a deeper, more developed analysis of an ethnic group.
Haverfield described Romanization as the disassembling of a native culture in favor of Roman
ethos (Haverfield 1912: 18). He did not go as far as saying Roman provinces culture was
completely eradicated at once, but Brendel progressed the argument by saying Roman culture
was a pluralistic synthesis from multiple ethnic groups which synthesized into a cosmopolitan
framework (Brendel in Millett 1992: 1). Roman culture then, was always changing and adapting
as it expanded across the known world. But, it seems that while conquered cultures adapted to
new Roman ways, Romans were including new provincial ways as well. This process is
demonstrated again in first-century Judea when a self-described cosmopolitan society is effected
by foreign cultures (Greco-Roman). These Greco-Roman influences sway Judeas deeply
intrinsic Jewish way of living towards more of a contra-Torah lifestyle.

First-century Judean authorities were attempting to craft a new way of living by framing
their cultural development in accordance with Greco-Roman social characteristics. Even under
the Roman Empire and its mandated emperor-worship cult, most Jews living in Judea are
reported to have followed the teachings and laws presented to Moses as related in the Torah
(Schwartz 2009: 110-166; Smallwood 2001: 120-143). He is understood to have received the
Ten Commandments, and many others statutes exemplifying righteous living, from YHWH on
Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19. 3-25; 20. 1-26; 21 .1-36). This set of statutes, which can be interpreted as
their constitution, made up their perceived virtuous Jewish ethnicity from the day Moses stepped
off the mountain until now. Most scholars place the exodus in either the fifteenth-century BCE
(Shea 2003: 238-239) or the thirteenth-century (Finkelstein, Silverman 2002: 77-79; Hughs
1990: 40).
The Jewish monotheistic practices, which were literally set in stone, must have seemed
strange to the polytheistic communities surrounding the Jews (Tacitus Historiae 5. 2-5). There
are, however, many examples of Jewish negligence of YHWHs law, suggesting cultures, no
matter how devout, are not able to escape variant cultural distinctions. For example, firstcentury Judea was a time when the Jewish priesthood (Levites, sons of Moses bother, Aaron)
was in great favor with the Roman aristocracy. The good relationship between these two
administrations stands in staunch contrast to traditional Levitical Jewish norms (Josephus Jewish
Wars 2. 355-356; Leviticus 8. 15-19), but the association is consistent with Romes handling of
foreign affairs (Goodman 2008: 115-154). This may have stemmed from the nations Romanappointed king, Herod, and his ambitious inclinations toward more internationally-recognized
political power. These penchants for greater authority were demonstrated when Herod took a trip
to Rome in 40 BCE which he used to influence Augustus with the institution of an impressive

imperial (pagan) temple in a Mediterranean cosmopolis, Caesarea Maritima (Raban, Holum


1996: 454-468); Josephus Jewish Antiquities XV. 331ff; Jewish War I. 408ff). Josephus explains
Caesar was a great proponent of Herods ambition, so he gave Herod Romes assistance in
restoring order in Judea after its recent war with the Parthians (Josephus Jewish Antiquities
13.8.4. 249-253; Livy History of Rome 45. 12).

Aerial view of ancient Caesarea Maritima.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarea_Maritima#mediaviewer/File:Caesarea.JPG

In
addition, Augustus and Herod seemed to have enjoyed, and mutually benefited from, a pragmatic
business relationship after a Roman conflict in Egypt involving Antipater (Herods father) and
Marc Antonys fall from authority following the Battle of Actium (Josephus Jewish Antiquities
14.14.4). Inscriptions (OGIS 414 for instance) have been found on the Acropolis in Athens
which gives further evidence to Judeas positive communications with infusing Roman values.
Much like Augustus temple to Mars Ultor in Rome, the implications of inscriptions found in
remote national boundaries suggests a complex relationship between Rome and its territories.
The establishment of philo-Roman features outside Rome and the territory relative to Roman

influence (Judea in this case) may be Roman propaganda, but, as with most everything pertaining
to Rome, appearances are usually more complex and generally go beyond a strictly literal
interpretationVirgils multifaceted reading and omni-cultural considerations involving the
Aeneid is another example of this (Conte 2007: 23-57, 150-169; Smith 2013). Patterns like the
pro-Roman provincial inscriptions must have been crucial in terms of Mommsen and
Haverfields Romanization rhetoric. The first of these inscriptions (OGIS 414) is on a statue
base carved from Eleusinian marble where Judeas king is honored as a philo-Roman for the
admiration he showed toward Athens. The second example (IG 2.2.3441) also comes from the
Athenian Acropolis which refers to Herod as a philo-Caesar. This too honors a Roman
provinces king (probably better understood as a governor) by way of his ability to adapt to
Roman pragmatism and pietatis. Another fragmentary inscription, carved from Hymettian
marble and found in the Athenian Agora, appears to be similar in form to IG 2.2.3441 and has
been restored with Herods name. No context for any of these inscriptions was found. However,
it is clear that Herod was among those honored by the city, both for his policy as a supporter of
Rome and for specific, although unnamed, benefactions (Roller 1998: 76-99). Herod appears to
have been internationally recognized for his ability to implement and promote, on an
international scale, what Mommsen referred to as Romanisierung.
Romanization in modernity
Moving from seemingly textbook examples of Romanizations influences in the
provinces guides us back to more post-modern interpretations widely brought to light by Martin
Millett. Millett relates what I made mention to earlier as an initial standarda mark by which
all other studies could be measured. This standard (Romanization) was introduced by Mommsen
then greatly developed by Haverfield which, in turn, propitiated a wave of academic discourse

dedicated to better understanding migratory acculturation patterns. This innovative appreciation


for social configurations proved to be ground-breaking in the archaeological world because the
early goings? of the field (specifically the seventeenth-century) were little more than treasure
hunters (antiquarians) selling relics to the highest bidder (Dyson 2006: 1-64). Mommsen and his
students realized the need to enhance archaeology scientifically, thus appreciation was given to
cultural living styles instead of just Small Things Forgotten (Deetz 2010).
As stated above, Millett describes Romanization as a progression of dialectical
modifications instead of the overlaying of one culture on top of another (Millett 1992: 1). This
model of one culture being placed neatly over the top of another is accepted by one of Milletts
contemporaries, Richard Hingley, who goes on to explain Romanizations effects on the
provinces using the same base modelKeith Hopkins taxation and trade in the Roman Empire
synthesized with Immanuel Wallersteins world systems analysis in the modern world (Pitts in
Pitts and Versluys 2014: 69-98). The crux of Hingleys argument rests on the Roman Empires
implementation of imperial taxation practices onto Iron Age societies. This from the top down
matriculation theory suggests local, native authorities would have, first accepted the Roman
mandated system, and secondly forced it onto the general civitates (Hingley 2005). These
monopolistic trade practices, which directly and significantly impacted global economics to a
lesser extent, and localized economics to a greater extent, would have urbanized the villages,
towns and cities at a much faster rate leaving the largely subsistence-based country-side barbara
to fall behind in terms of cultural advancement (Laurence, Trifilo in Pitts and Versluys 2014:
103-104). Juvenal again proves himself as a useful source as far as a potential popular point of
view regarding those who resided outside townships:
ite, quibus grata est picta lupa barbara mitra!
rusticus ille tuus sumit trechedipna, Quirine,

et ceromatico fert niceteria collo (Juvenal Sat. 3. 66-68).


Romanizations direct impact on current academic discourses
Romanization, as a recognition of complex distinctions between native and seemingly
Roman-influenced historical processes, has proven itself to be the source of major contentions
within the field of classical archaeology in the late twentieth and early twenty first-centuries
(Mattingly 2004: 5-26).

Roman copy of Greek vase. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greek-Vase-Replica.jpg

The term brings about connotations like imperialism and fascism while also ostensibly
substantiating stereotypic expressions like country bumpkin and barbarian. Our post-modern
society is vigorously attempting to eradicate un-politically correct sentiments such as these.
Classical archaeologists, however, are not quite ready to leave Romanization behind. Instead of
completely eliminating the controversial expression, classical archaeologists have attempted to
quantify it by fitting it into a larger acculturation, assimilation and integration process within the
even larger, general field of archaeology (or anthropology in North America). This
quantification method for better understanding the current Romanization discourses is broken
into four categories: 1) non-interventionist, 2) discrepant identity, 3) acculturation and 4)

creolization.
The first category, non-interventionist model, consists of native leaders being influenced
to bolster their Roman social position by means of their perceived relationships with the
dominant Roman elite through culture (i.e. clothing, language, architecture and food
consumption). Promoting Roman culture provided the native ruling class with a largely
superficial power which was contingent upon Roman authority. The establishment of a civil
administration system was quickly imposed to solidify the permanence of Roman rule (Millett
1990: 35-44). The non-interventionist model of Romanization could be applied to further
understand Herods reign of Judea previously discussed. Herod promoted Romanisms and
attempted to bring his constituency along based primarily on Roman munificence (Roller 1998:
85-100).
The second category, discrepant identity, displays no identical homogeneity which can be
definitively designated as traditionally recognized Romanization, as Mommsen first described it.
Essential dissimilarities within particular Roman provinces are visible through economic
structures, religious peculiarities and emically ascribed identity. Not all acquired Roman
territories willfully joined the Republic or Empire, nor did all non-Roman, native leaders
universally strive to seamlessly assimilate into the new Roman localized power classes
(Mattingly 2004: 13). This model is primarily applied to Romes presence in Britain. Mattingly
begins his argument by giving a broad, basic definition of empire as rule of very large territory
and many peoples without their consent (Mattingly 2013: 75).
The third category, acculturation, represents the characteristics of native and Roman
values that have apparently been synthesized. Acculturation can often be observed by Roman
reception, and acceptance of, non-classical religious rites and rituals. Some of the more

noteworthy examples include the presence of Isis (Egypt), Epona (northern-Europe), Britannia
(Britain) and Dolychenus (Britain) into the wider Roman pantheon (Webster 1997: 324-338).

The

Temple of Isis in Pompeii.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Isis_(Pompeii)#mediaviewer/File:Brogi,_Giacomo_(1822-1881)__Pompei_-_Tempio_d%27Iside_-_n._5038_-_ca._1870.jpg

final category, creolization (understood here as the process of multiple cultures coming together
resulting in a new culture), implies that Romanization ensued because of fundamental differences
based the foundations of non-egalitarian cultures (i.e. Rome and Britain). Empirical remains
representative of a native, non-egalitarian culture are therefore unclear (Webster 2001: 209-225).
Creolization is currently employed by a number of disciplines including anthropology,
archaeology and ethnography as a conceptual framework for multicultural adjustments in
colonial and post-colonial areas (Palmie 2007: 433).
Romanization: unique to relative ethnicities
Millett progresses the argument by explaining Roman interactions greatly differentiates

itself based on geography, religious systems and governmental structures of ethnicities. This sort
of interactive variance, which is determinate on many natural factors, necessities a more complex
explanation than what Mommsen gives us. Modernity has much more material at its disposal by
way of the archaeological and literary record, so our investigations into, and analyses of, similar
points of interest must be more researched to do the site and our predecessors justice. At this
point in classical archaeology, Romanization is not, and has not been a credible explanation to
construe differing stages in a sites stratigraphy since British imperialism dwindled toward the
beginning of the twentieth-century. That is not to say Romanization does not have a place in
current academia. It still must be addressed, if for no other reason than proving Romanization
false by delving deeper into a site and its overarching cultural significance understood within a
larger conceptual framework.
Conclusion
In closing, Romanization is not, and cannot be, employed as an unambiguous method for
understanding unique cultural variation. Much like national constitutions, some of which, were
written hundreds of years ago, Romanization must be constantly adapting to new theoretical and
adaptive approaches of classical archaeology if it is going to stay relevant. Some would argue
Mommsens verbal attempt to express an abstract concept has outlived its usefulness, however,
there some who still argue for its temporal exemption (myself included). The hypothesis has
become an over-used and confusing term which has spawned many diverse characterizations
which hinder a singular, worthwhile conceptual application. Along with adapting present
theories to combat Romanization, archeologists and anthropologists are now creating new
abstract concepts to combat this idea. The main criticism with Romanization, as a self-defining
paradigm, is that it is dependent upon the haphazard apportionment of firm titles (i.e. Roman and

indigenous) to countless ethnicities and empirical components with little, if any, understanding of
why it is being done. We, as a culture, need instant gratification, so we attribute this lifestyle
onto the processing and allocating of materials which usually do not lend themselves to this sort
of treatment. My closing thought is that Romanization cannot be used to explicitly explain the
finer distinctions of a site; if we are to use it, it must only be employed in a theoretical sense
which prompts further questioning and reason skills necessary to deepen our understanding
of Roman provinces and not as an archaeologically verifiable practice in and of itself.

City limit sign of Rhome, TX. http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=6c3ee926-92fe4729-9ad2-52a14e7c50eb&gid=3

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