By the end of the 1st Cent., AD, the Romans had conquered and pacified the Mediterranean World. That the conquered areas would adopt the Latin language and Roman civic institutions was not of course inevitable, yet that is indeed what happened especially in the West. The peoples of North Africa and Europe (west of the Rhine and south of the Danube) did learn Latin and did develop cities on the Roman model. The evidence for this transformation may be seen in the surviving Roman monuments and heard in the Latin-based languages used from Portugal to Romania. The maps here measure these linguistic and cultural transformations and suggest reasons for them.
This module is divided into three parts.
In Section I, we chart the process of Romanization by mapping the dramatic growth in citizen numbers, the origins of Roman senators, of Emperors and of major Latin writers.
In Section II, we measure the degree of Romanization by considering two factors: the density of inscriptions written in Latin and the density of the quintessential feature of Roman urban life, the theater.
In Section III, we turn to a "case study", the Romanization in the provinces of Ancient Gaul.
Why did individuals begin to speak Latin, and to dress and live in the Roman style? Many provincials may have been attracted by the continuing peace that the Romans maintained throughout the Mediterranean, by the higher standard of living (aqueducts, theaters, etc.) or by the advantages of living under Roman law, and/or by the opportunity to advance to the highest offices of the imperial government. The material provided here measures the spread of some of these institutions.
Romanization was not homogeneous. The scholarly study of Romanization continues to focus on elites and on urban settings where the evidence is most apparent. There is also a considerable body of evidence that indigenous and local culture did not disappear. Nonetheless, there is every reason to believe that Roman values were indeed internalized by the provincial elites of the ancient world and that the modern European identity owes much to the process we call Romanization.
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