Historian Neil Faulkner on the Roman empire

This video is called Roman Slavery ..for people with short attention spans.

From British weekly Socialist Worker:

Empire of the Eagles: the myths of Rome

Modern leaders looking for a ‘civilised’ way to dominate the world refer to the Roman Empire. Historian Neil Faulkner explained the brutal reality to Ken Olende.

What motivated you to write your new book Rome – Empire Of The Eagles on the history of the Roman Empire?

Most histories, if they aren’t broadly uncritical, tend to make excuses for the Roman Empire. They admit that there was a lot of nastiness such as the massacring of enemies, slavery and gladiators.

But then they point to lots of good things, like towns, roads, central heating, bathhouses and mosaics – as if that cancels the other out.

When we look at a modern society we evaluate it on the basis of what is fundamental to it as a social and political system. People writing about Nazi Germany don’t say it was half good – “You got decent motorways as well as death camps.”

Rome was an exercise in imperialism – the use of physical force to dominate territory, labour and resources – and that is a bad thing.

And when people today argue that imperialism can be a force for achieving freedom, democracy and progress, they often refer to the Roman Empire to support that idea.

It is important to be able to engage with that argument. Of course capitalist imperialism is profoundly different from imperialism in the ancient world. But the Roman Empire was no different from any other empire in that it was an exercise in carnage and looting to enrich a few.

You present the story of the empire as a logical progression, covering a vast sweep of time from the founding of Rome to the collapse of the Western Empire.

There is a single thread that runs right the way through the history of the empire.

There was a period of about 250 years from the third century BC to the end of the first century BC when expansion was absolutely dynamic.

In that period Rome went from being the dominant state in central Italy to becoming the greatest empire in the world at the time, dominating the whole of the Mediterranean, and much of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Review of Faulkner’s book: here.

Roman gladiator’s 1,800-year-old tombstone blames his death due on a bad decision by the summa rudis: here.

Apollo Mosaic Found in Rome Tunnel: Photos: here.

1 thought on “Historian Neil Faulkner on the Roman empire

  1. Pingback: Scottish peace activists commemorate World War I dead | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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