Essay on Journal 2

Submitted By Becka-Olson
Words: 1023
Pages: 5

Roman Imperial Society was based upon a number of different cultural values (i.e., mos maiorum). Which of these values do you think had the largest impact on the development of the Roman Empire, and why?

Western Civilization Journal #2 Becka Brown The Roman Empire’s expansion was the greatest increase of population and territory seen in the ancient world. This was done by taking outsiders in as their own or conquering land using force. Rome’s social, cultural, political, legal, and economic traditions created close interconnections between many diverse peoples than ever seen before (The Rise of Rome and Its Republic, 139). There were many different cultural values in the Roman Empire. These values emphasized family loyalty, selfless political and military service to the community, individual honor and public status, and the importance of the law, and shared decision making. I believe the three most important cultural values of the Roman Empire were, mos maiorum (“the way of the elders”), virtus (“manly virtue”), and fides (“faithfulness”). These three cultural values were both social and religious traditions that were important in the Roman Empire’s history. It was believed that eternal moral values connected the Roman’s to one another and required them to honor the gods (The Rise of Rome and Its Republic, 140). In the next few paragraphs I will explain why I feel these values helped to expand the Empire. Mos maiorum, meaning custom of the ancestors, was the core concept of Roman traditions. It is said that the Roman Empire stood on ancient customs and heroes (The Roman Way). The value mos maiorum was an unwritten code that was a societal norm for the Romans, and shaped their behavior. The Roman Empire was founded on the old traditions of ancestors and lines of heritage. This phrase captures many things about ancient Roman culture such as, religion, martial traditions, government, and laws (Rome, The Mos Maiorum). This particular value was the most important of any cultural or social norm. It was the basis of living and followed by all Romans. Mos maiorum literally surpassed law, and emphasized virtue, faithfulness, and respect. I believe this value is this sole reason the Roman Empire was able to survive and maintain for hundreds of years. Mos maiorum was tested by time, and taught the priceless lesson of, learn from history or you’re doomed to repeat it. This value also required Roman’s to respect their heritage and were they came from. This aspect of mos maiorum is important because it provides history of cultural and equality in the Roman Empire. Virtus, meaning manly virtue or otherwise known as “acting like a man”; is the second important cultural value of the Roman Empire. This quality represented strength, loyalty, courage, excellence, and character especially in war (Rise of Rome and Its Republic, 141). The reason I find this value worth mentioning is because, the Roman Empire became so vast due to outsiders becoming Roman people. The growth of Rome was mainly due to the territory they conquered or the barbarians they took in. The term virtus can also be defined as, performing outstanding deeds, or moral purity. This value was not just for the men to live out but also for the Roman women as well (The Roman Concept). Virtus was a quality that was to be expected in display of public and private Roman lives. This particular value caused the Roman’s to be protectors and defenders of their people which I see as only beneficial to society. Virtus did not only mean to be a brave and a manly warrior but, also meant doing the right thing and simply being a good person. As Lucilus wrote, virtus puts the country’s interests first, then our parents’, then our own interests third and last. Virtus is a selfless value that required Rome to put the country before themselves, expanding the Empire even further. With virtus, Romans thought of other people before