Political Life in the Ancient Roman Culture
The democratic approach as applied in the context of Rome is one that investigates the championing for democratic and social right of the Roman people/citizens. The adoption of democratic system of governance between different communities that eventually united to form Rome was not an easy process. Divergent views on the idea of democracy and independence resulted to conflicts between different groups that were either for or against the idea, though eventually the advocated democratic system of governance carried the day.
Characters that were supporting the formation of democratic government agreed that for Rome to be a successful state, the different opportunities that existed in different communities could be best exploited under a unified force. This could only be possible if each state had a representative who was championing the interest of the region he/she represents. In addition, the democratic system was a means through which political stability could be attained in the entire Rome and this would consequently create a good environment for wealth generation. However, those opposing democracy had different opinions regarding the issue of representation. The representatives were to be a ladder through which power could be transferred from the people who were considered the majority to the lower echelons of the community.
In the Roman societies, culture and social aspects played a critical role in determination of the direction the empire was to take. As a result of this, the democratic approach employed in Rome has respect for opinions and diverse ideologies. This created room for different religions to thrive in the country and ensured that opportunities exist for all the people. This aspect enabled the country’s citizens to attain development based on one’s efforts rather than one’s background. This ensured that there was minimized occurrence of economic imbalance in the empire amongst the states and amongst the citizens.
Despite the fact that Rome strived to be a country that offers equal opportunity for its people, there are some factors that threatened its attainment of this objective. Racism for a long time had been a major challenge for attainment of equality. One of the fronts that experiences increased rate of racism is in the Roman jail systems with the most affected populations being those from the minority communities, and not from well-publicized communities. The cause of this animosity between these two groups can be traced back to the era of slave trade where the blacks were subjected to economic inequality, abuse of their basic human rights and other forms of exploitations that they were subjected to.
The society today reflects upon people who are good role models in the society. In addition, it is worth noting that such people are admired by other people while those who do not appreciate the likes of Cato and Eunus. To such people, one Damophilus will indeed cringe with shame when the two are mentioned. The culture in Rome has been divided into two perspectives, with some choosing to value people based on their beauty and riches while others are left relishing in poverty and how to limit the shortcomings. This is why Henry Dale stresses on the role played y the phrase, ‘As always in Rome’ an indication that there are things which remain the same. Those who have been gathered for the dedication of the Tarperian Rock could suggest that democracy is now no longer the norm and that the any democratic movement that once reflected these values will soon be no more.
On the other hand, the political scene in Rome and the rest of the world had always been clouded by scandals. For instance, many believe that despite the fact that Roman leaders may have performed well during their reign, continuing to rule may just be the beginning of problems. A good example that has been cited here if the situation when Eunus and his men learnt that Demophilus and his wife had hid in the garden for the fear of being exposed; this threatened to damage the reputation of the ruling leader. Majority of those monitoring the performance leadership in the entire Rome were not keen on the political games that were being played in politics where a competitor may seek to tarnish the incumbent using various ways in order to destroy public image. This is what the author of the book refers to as always in Rome where something was generated with a meaning.
Despite the presence of all these cultural values and orientation, Cata acknowledged that Rome was having a new face (p. 156). This is why every Roman had to remain steadfast and shun any form or kind of despair. This is why the problems that were being experienced in the then Roman empire; from community hostility to different political scandals, led to the Romans being divided. It was at this time that every Roman had to realize the need to appreciate themselves and their empire, Rome, which was termed as the empire with great democratic space where everyone was allowed to share in equal opportunities despite their class or societal status. In addition, no was able to take pride in the greatest empire on land when the citizens themselves did not appreciate it. This is why Rome was considered as a well-established empire and thus admired by all across the globe.
It is true, that, In Roman culture, the ideals of their culture were shaped by their social conditions at that time leading to the valuation of different attributes. To some extent, the Roman cultural heroes reflect the societal values that created them. Rome had just come from a very violent civil war by the year 27 B.C. After this chaotic past, Augustus emerged. He was an able emperor who established a peaceful reign covering 200 years, called Pax Romana . At this time in Rome,a famous philosophy, Stoicism, was the leading philosophy touching on the then current affairs. Zeno, a Greek philosopher of the third century B.C., founded stoicism.
The appealing factor found in this Stoic among the majority of Romans was due to the fact that its core principles were similar to traditional Roman values. At the beginning, Rome was predominantly a martial and agricultural culture. Resultantly, the earliest Romans emphasized on strength, simplicity, and toughness, which are necessary for both martial and agricultural lifestyles. Thus, the values of fortitude and strength are similar values that are emphasized under stoicism. Other aspects of stoicism entailed “logos”, which is an idea that purports that every occurrence is a portion of a divine plan. This fundamental reason explains why Stoics held a firm belief in the acceptance of destiny. A new but different idea in Roman culture was “pietas”, which simply means the devotion to family, duty, the state, and the gods. All these aspects were essential to the established Roman culture especially at the time of Augustus.
All through the epic, Cata demonstrates various kinds of devotion. Among them, include the two kinds of devotion, which he manages to display early in the epic, and entail devotion to family and his gods as well.