Attitudes Roman Armies Barbarians Caesar's Conquest Gaul  Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #20413533

Excerpt from Essay :

attitudes Roman armies "barbarians" Caesar's Conquest Gaul? How Romans interact Celtic tribes? What Celts thought Roman civilization? Analysis supported citations Conquest Gaul.

The Roman Empire had an immense impact on the way in which civilization has come to be and a huge role in drafting the structure of the European historical, cultural, social, and economic background. In this context, the role of Caesar was essential. The vision as well as the historical context provided him the necessary means and abilities to undergo a series of conquests that would lead the Roman Empire to an impressive expansion during his reign. As part of this endeavor, the conquest of the Gallic provinces and territories is a historical event that would set the basis of the Latin nature of current France. Furthermore, the way in which this conquest was achieved reveals a pattern of Roman battles that, despite the fact that it was not used in conquering current Spain, provides an important source of defining elements for the Roman Empire at that time.

The current paper takes into account the way in which the Gallic conquest was achieved in the 1st century B.C. It focuses on the historical context that relates to the role Caesar had in the overall organization of the Empire. At the same time though, what is important in this aspect is the way in which the Roman armies dealt with the conquered people and the influences the Romans had on the "barbarians" and the reverse. Further, it is underlined the way in which Romans interacted with the Celtic tribes because it points out some of the traits of the Roman armies during conquests. At the same time, another question that is important to consider relates to the way in which the "others" saw the conquerors and would the Celts have thought of Roman civilization. This part of the analysis is furthermore important because it is often a subject for debate when dealing with the success or failure of a conquered space.

The historical background that allowed Caesar to conquer Gallia related to a deep need and sense for expansion of the Roman Empire. This is not to say that the Romans did not have this urge since the beginnings; however, the Roman Empire had not known such political stability since its early beginnings. This stability translated not necessarily thru the lack of political crisis, but rather thru a certain distinction among functions in the state. More precisely, during the 2nd Century B.C, Rome is on a constant quest to expand its borders thru current day Macedonia, Greece, before entering Minor Asia and Egypt (Bernstein and Milza, 1994). These tendencies would soon follow the need to further seek territories on the European continent.

The rise of Caesar was on the backbone of these tendencies and resulted in the campaign to conquer Spain and France. The Spanish case is rather different from the rest of the conquests particularly because the peninsula had certain benefits that would have further cater for the needs of the Roman Empire not as a Roman conquest but rather a mix. The commercial relations that existed between the Roman Empire and the Iberia region allowed the Romans to wage a one hundred years conquest war that eventually resulted in the conquest of the peninsula where Scipio the African had a crucial role to play. By comparison, the conquest of the Gallic region lasted from 58 B.C to 52 B.C.

The main reasons for such campaigns were the massive afflux of wealth that came the Romans' way. All eventual Roman provinces had provided the Roman Empire an impressive amount of wealth, from spices to slaves, to workforce, to actual wealth amounted in gold and other precious materials. The conquest of the Gallic region was however an inevitable event, largely due to the geographical position of the provinces and the lack of unity among the territories.

The conquest of the Gallic provinces was also a result of the need of the Roman Empire to fight the Germanic tribes that had endangered the ability of the Romans to connect with their already established Roman provinces Narbonesis. After the defeat of the Germanic tribes, the remaining Gallic provinces -- Trans Alpine Gallia, the Romans were left to deal with a population that was part Celtic part Germanic. The confrontations between the Romans and these peoples would relate not only to the actual acceptance of the latters of their status as Roman province, but also in terms of culture and economics.

It must be pointed out that the Romans always considered the conquered peoples as being "barbarians" (Bernstein and Milza, 1994). The term related to any individual that was not of Roman descent. However, the term came to be used in time in a negative manner and reflect an attitude towards the conquered people of inferiority. In short, all conquered people were inferior in nature and blood to the Roman soldiers and citizens. This can easily be seen in the writings related to the Gallic conquests. In one such writing it is mentioned that "The Gauls, confiding in the natural strength of their position, though they would not decline an engagement if the Romans attempted to ascend the hill, yet dared not divide their forces into small parties, lest they should be thrown into disorder by being dispersed, and therefore remained in order of battle" (McDevitte and Bohn, 2009). This comes to point out that there was a particular confidence that the Romans posed in relation to the conquered people that allowed them to consider their enemies to be inferior in nature and in the art of war.

At the same time, it must be pointed out that the Gallic wars were more complex than initially considered and often the Roman armies allied with the Gallic tribes in order for the latter to defend their territories form the Germanic threats. More precisely, the Gallic during the 1st Century B.C. were threatened by a less civilized, more barbaric in nature, civilization that was the Germanic one. In such, their choice to ally with the Romans allowed them to limit the damages to their territories. At the same time though, their choice was related to a need for defense from a larger evil that was the Germanic threat. Although they were more oriented towards the Germanics, the discrepancies between the Gallics and the Romans were not very significant. The region had no political unity and most often, the heads of the almost 60 independent tribes often fought for supremacy (Bernstein and Milza, 1994). Most of the Gallic dwellers were peasants, which resembled the demographic nature of the Roman Empire as well. However, in terms of the military structure and potential, the Romans had a considerably more powerful and capable military might. This offered Caesar the possibility to eventually declare Gallia a Roman province and have local princes govern the region. Before that however he ensured that these leaders would be fully committed to Rome. This attitude towards the Gallic peoples was standard for the way in which Rome would decide to transform a territory into a Roman province.

In terms of the attitudes the Romans had towards their enemies, Caesar openly saluted their courage and bravery. In his accounts of the wars, he noted "That there was no access for merchants to them; that they suffered no wine and other things tending to luxury to be imported; because, they thought that by their use the mind is enervated and the courage impaired: that they were a savage people and of great bravery: that they upbraided and condemned the rest of the Belgae who had surrendered themselves to the Roman people and thrown aside their national courage: that they openly declared they would neither send ambassadors, nor accept any condition of peace" (McDevitte…

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