The effects of Roman Imperialism
The effects of Roman Imperialism
There were many consequences of Roman Imperialism, which affected both the Romans and conquered peoples, positively and negatively. Although the Romans gained a variety of resources from new lands, they also had to deal with the problem of controlling a vast empire, which made it difficult to govern effectively. People of conquered lands were heavily taxed, but they also received protection from the Roman military, as their land was now Roman land.
One of the primary concerns of the Romans was the ever-extending size of their empire. It was certainly a difficult job for the central government to control the whole empire. When power was distributed among governors, civil wars between provinces erupted, and conflict throughout the empire increased. Rulers’ desire for power increased, and many used money for themselves instead of their people. Food shortages, epidemics, revolts, internal conflicts, and wars resulted in a gradual decrease of population. While there were many internal problems of the Empire, Rome had also made many enemies, namely barbaric tribes, in due course of conquering lands.
The Goths, Huns, Vandals, Franks, and many other tribes attacked the Roman Empire from all sides, thus weakening its military, unity, and strength over a period of time. Another major and troubling outcome of Roman Imperialism was the fate of farmers in Rome. As cheap labor and slaves were abundant in Roman provinces, many farmers in Rome lost their business, because provincial farmers were able to sell crops at cheaper prices and still earn profits. These unfortunate men headed for the city in search of jobs, but most could not find any, and thus were left unemployed. However, although Roman Imperialism proved to have many flaws it its functioning, it also held many advantages for the great Roman Empire.
As Rome’s power and influence spread across the Mediterranean Sea, it reaped the many benefits of its newly acquired lands. In almost all of Rome’s provinces were found many valuable resources, crops, and objects of desire. For example, Spain had such minerals as gold, silver, and copper, while Asian countries including China and India provided spices, tea, diamonds, jewels, silk, and wild animals. Perfumes, leather, ham, cheese, wine, and marble were also found in Rome’s conquered lands.
Other than providing many such riches and minerals as mentioned above, Roman Imperialism increased the Empire’s overall population and land, which resulted in there being more slaves and workers. At the same time, many of these people joined Rome’s military, thus strengthening its power. As a result, Rome’s number of allies also increased. However, the many consequences of Roman Imperialism that were beneficial for the Romans, proved disadvantageous for the conquered peoples.
The defeated peoples of Rome’s provinces were forced to do many things for the benefit of Rome and the Empire as a whole. They were heavily taxed, and thus, a large part of what they earned went in vain, as it was used by Rome for other purposes. Many people were enslaved, and lost their freedom altogether, while more influential men lost their power after Rome took over. In general, the lives of these people became more restricted than before, as much of what they did was for Rome, and not themselves. Because Rome completely took over these lands, the people living on it lost a lot of their beliefs, language, and culture. Everything was implemented according to Rome, and the conquered peoples did not have the power to make laws, or run the government. It can be said that they were somewhat oppressed by the Romans, but they were not wholly tyrannized by the central government and Roman governors. Clearly, as seen above, the effects of Roman Imperialism held many deprivations for the conquered peoples.
While people in Rome’s occupied lands lost much of their original ideas and beliefs, Roman Imperialism was successful to some extent in bringing about unity throughout Europe. Firstly, Rome introduced one language that was to be spoken commonly by everyone. This language, Latin, made communication, trade, and exchange of ideas much easier among various peoples. Another aspect of Roman Imperialism that stabilized the economy was a single currency that could be used anywhere throughout the Empire. This also made trade and business transactions a lot more efficient and organized. Governmental laws imposed by Rome applied to all provinces. This brought about uniformity, law, and order in the Empire, and the whole of Europe became more united and established. For example, before Gaul and Britain were conquered by Rome, they differed greatly in terms of laws and economic systems. But when Rome brought these areas under its control, law and currency became the same for both of them.
Although the conquered peoples suffered from many problems, Roman influence and ideas in construction and architecture unquestionably proved advantageous to them and their lands. For example, Romans build sturdy roads, elegant baths, fountains, and beautiful temples to glorify the cities of their Empire. Aqueducts were constructed for efficient flow and usage of water. Amphitheaters and stadiums were also built for entertainment purposes. Chariot races, gladiator fights, and many sports events were held in these buildings.
Resultantly, the influence of Roman architecture was evident in almost every town in the Empire. Roman skill in mosaic art and sculptures was also brought to the provinces. Altogether, the Romans were successful in spreading its positive influence all over their Empire. The aforementioned doings of Rome in its provinces clearly goes to show that Roman Imperialism was advantageous to the conquered peoples, even though it held disadvantages for them too, as mentioned before.
It seems that the effects of Roman Imperialism were quite complex, as some were favorable for the Romans, while others benefited the conquered peoples. While the subjugated people ended up losing their original ideas and beliefs, Roman knowledge and ideas that spread across the Empire were much more sophisticated, and this influence of theirs turned out to be beneficial for all lands that were under Roman rule. Although there were both positive and negative consequences of Roman Imperialism, it seems as if the positive ones outweighed the others, because such unity of Europe as under the Roman Empire could not have been brought about by any other civilization, as there was none to match the power of Rome. Although there were always some internal conflicts in Europe, without Rome’s influence over the vast region, countries in Europe would never have been as united as they are today, and one of the key reason’s of Europe’s immense power and economic success at present is in fact it’s unity, as shown by the European Union.