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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

IX. THE EARLY EMPIRE: THE WORLD UNDER ROMAN RULE, 31 B.C.-l80 A.D.

Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


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Page 23

THE GRAECO-ROMAN WORLD

THE NEW COSMOPOLITANISM

Just as the conquests of Alexander, by uniting the Orient to Greece, produced a Graeco-Oriental civilization, so now the expansion of Rome over the Mediterranean formed another world-wide culture, in which both Greek and Roman elements met and mingled. A new sense of cosmopolitanism arose in place of the old civic or national patriotism.

UNIFYING AND CIVILIZING FORCES

This cosmopolitan feeling was the outcome of those unifying and civilizing forces which the imperial system set at work. The extension of Roman citizenship broke down the old distinction between the citizens and the subjects of Rome. The development of Roman law carried its principles of justice and equity to the remotest regions. The spread of the Latin language provided the western half of the empire with a speech as universal there as Greek was in the East. Trade and travel united the provinces with one another and with Rome. The worship of the Caesars dimmed the luster of all local worships and kept constantly before men's minds the idea of Rome and of her mighty emperors. Last, but not least important, was the fusion of alien peoples through intermarriage with Roman soldiers and colonists. "How many settlements," exclaims the philosopher Seneca, "have been planted in every province! Wherever the Roman conquers, there he dwells." [30]

[30] Seneca, Minor Dialogues, XI, 7.

 

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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