Term Paper: History War and Peace in World History Ancient Rome

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History; War and Peace in World History;

Ancient Rome

All elements, whether economical, social, political, military strategic or tactical, point out towards the fact that Rome went to war for pure necessity. As a nation constantly surround by enemies, but also as a state that based its economy fundamentally on the existence of slaves (that is of free labor), Rome needed to go to war with the nations surrounding it.

From a military strategic or tactical perspective, Rome had to occasionally send out armies either to create buffer zones with other nations or to tactically infiltrate fortifications into enemy land. In terms of the latter, historical evidence has shown, for example, that Domitian constructed limiters laterally for a distance of over 120 miles into enemy territory.

From a military strategic perspective, expansion came as a mean to secure either rival nations (as was the case with Cartage, during the three Punic Wars, or with the Parthian Empire, despite the Roman incapacity to obtain decisive victories) or territories that would guarantee a higher level of security due to the creation of buffer zones in these areas.

The wars with Cartage are an excellent example of how the Romans saw to defeat their enemies first in order to expand their areas of interest, both political and commercial/economic. At the point of the First Punic War, Rome and Carthage were virtually the two superpowers of the Mediterranean Basin and war was inevitable in order to secure the actual area from the other part. At this point, there was virtually nothing that could be done to avoid the war, since a sharing of the sphere of influences on such a short geographical area was virtually impossible. So, again, war came as a necessity to eliminate a very dangerous competitor from the area where the Romans wished to become dominant.

Socially speaking, there were several social necessities for war during Roman times. First of all, war was the most important and fundamental instrument in the accession of an aristocrat to a consular position in the state. Sources mention the fact that a political office could only be held in Rome once ten annual military campaigns had been completed.

So, the warring nature of the Roman societies was in part also given by the fact that the upper classes needed war as a modality to advance politically on the Roman stage. It is no wonder that all remarkable individuals of the Roman society, from Cicero to Marius and from Sulla to Cesar were first reputably known as great generals than consuls or dictators.

The actual political structure in Rome was virtually determined by military activity. First of all, prestige was essential to being elected in Rome in a political function and a military campaign or a military function was the best way to obtain it. On the other hand, actual legions to back up a claim could be extremely handy, especially in times of political turmoil.

There are several different temporal periods where we can actually recognize the influence the military played on electing a Roman ruler. We have the most obvious example in Caesar, who marched across the Rubicon to challenge Pompei's rule and place his own candidature for supremacy. We have the distinct example of emperors in the 3rd and 4th century, who were virtually immediately named emperors by their troops. Finally, to a lesser extent, we have the example of Crassus who laid his claim to supremacy and the first triumvirate by defeating Spartacus's revolt. In doing so, he did not hesitate to raise more money and more troops than those officially supplied to him by the Senate. So, war was also a social and political necessity in Rome, because it provided prestige and allowed political advancement.

Even more so, there was a very basic necessity of war in Rome: all this very dangerous military mass of individuals needed to be kept busy, otherwise they would be meddling with the political situation in Rome itself or become a force that could not be controlled. War provided an opportunity both of providing this entity with an strategic objective and of gaining potential new territories… [END OF PREVIEW]

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History War and Peace in World History Ancient Rome.  (2007, September 12).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/history-war-peace-world-ancient/320399

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