Author Topic: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States  (Read 15700 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Phidippides

  • Emperor
  • Global Dominion
  • *****
  • Posts: 7238
  • Caesar
Ancient Rome...perhaps the greatest civilization of the ancient world, and still a topic which inspires awe when we consider all that she had to offer.  Engineering marvels, technology, military strength....these are some of the advantages that the city used to build success upon success.  Her glory lasted for hundreds and hundreds of years and have basically shaped Western Civilization to one degree or another.

Step ahead to modern times, and we have a nation which is arguably comparable to ancient Rome - the United States.  The U.S.'s strengths are similar, though not necessarily identical to, those of Rome.  What the U.S. possesses is the leading military and economy in the world; research and development (technology) which arguable leads the world; and a democratic form which has stood the test of time and become a model for other nations to follow. 

My question is thus: is this comparison fair, or is another comparison (e.g. Rome and 19th Century England, 16th Century Spain under Carlos) more appropriate?  If it is a valid comparison, what lessons can the U.S. learn from the downfall of Rome in hopes of avoiding a similar end?
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline Stumpfoot

  • Legatus
  • *****
  • Posts: 1634
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2006, 05:55:19 PM »
When you consider what th U.S. started with, a vast continent, and in two centuries built what we have today, I don't think any ancient civ. but Rome can compare, not even ancient Greece. Many of our Ideologys and ways of government are based on Roman ideas. The accomplishments; The Brooklyn bridge as well as the Golden Gate, the transcontinental railroad and the list goes on. The Exploration of the continent. I think the accomplishments are certainly comparable.
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. It illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity - Cicero

Offline Phidippides

  • Emperor
  • Global Dominion
  • *****
  • Posts: 7238
  • Caesar
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2006, 06:06:31 PM »
On second thought I should clarify what I wrote, because I realized that the U.S. is simply too young to compare its "effect" as a civilization.  So purely on a level of world influence (power, economic might, etc.) my question should be resubmitted.  In this regard, perhaps the U.S. is not alone.  The Ottoman Empire (referred to in another post) might be comparable, though less appropriate than the U.S.  Perhaps Napoleon's France could have been had he not decided to carry his battles into Russia.  England at some point - perhaps early 19th Century or early in the 18th Century.
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline Stumpfoot

  • Legatus
  • *****
  • Posts: 1634
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2006, 06:54:47 PM »
On second thought I should clarify what I wrote, because I realized that the U.S. is simply too young to compare its "effect" as a civilization.? So purely on a level of world influence (power, economic might, etc.) my question should be resubmitted.? In this regard, perhaps the U.S. is not alone.? The Ottoman Empire (referred to in another post) might be comparable, though less appropriate than the U.S.? Perhaps Napoleon's France could have been had he not decided to carry his battles into Russia.? England at some point - perhaps early 19th Century or early in the 18th Century.

Not necessarily, because with technology and communication the way it is now days we accomplish things faster, and ideas spread faster now. Think about it. An idea can be born and in minutes be spread around the world where as then it might take years, even decades.
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. It illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity - Cicero

Offline skiguy

  • Tetrarch Emperor
  • *****
  • Posts: 4065
  • Student
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 04:01:06 PM »
I agree with Stumpfoot about the speed in which we have gained prominence.

Phid, I think your first post was sufficient. 
I do believe that in a short period of time, we have influenced and affected the world in many positive ways.  The difference with the U.S. and Britain or France at the height of their power, is that those two were arrogant in their imperialistic ambitions. I'm thinking here how they treated Africans and Indians during their colonial conquests and the whole social Darwinism way of thinking they were guilty of.  We are not like that.  We're liked around the world because we have been better at accepting other cultures and religions and improving, not changing, ways of life.  We have also learned much of our current COIN warfare from the Brits, but I think we have learned from the mistakes they've made and improved on them. 
I think it's fair to compare us to the Romans.  I also think we "fixed" the things they did incorrectly. Contrary to some people's opinions, the prominence of the United States isn't going anywhere soon.  Many have said, and I agree, that involvement in the Middle East has been the downfall of many nations and empires.  I don't think that's going to happen to us.  We'll just have to wait and see, but we already see many improvements in relations and governments in that area of the world. 
This is of course just my opinion, but there have been many pro-American leaders elected in Europe and Asia recently.  And Africa is amazingly pro-American because of what we've done for them.  Why is this occurring if we're, allegedly, so hated?  I just read an excellent article about this, unfortunately I can't seem to locate it.
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."    - Michelangelo

Offline Phidippides

  • Emperor
  • Global Dominion
  • *****
  • Posts: 7238
  • Caesar
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2008, 02:26:41 AM »
Well I should say that if the Brits and French mistreated people under them then it probably wouldn't be much different from what happened in Rome...I don't think Rome would be known necessarily for its "human rights".  I'm also not sure that we've "fixed" areas where Rome when wrong.  Some of these are innate to human existence in terms of their passions - corruption, greed, indulgence in pleasure, etc.  We may have improved over certain errors the Romans made but I would say we could well fall for some of the same traps.  In fact, I would say one area where the U.S. is "sliding" is on its creeping toward a welfare state in which citizens develop symbiotic relationships with the government.  This of course leads to a sense of "entitlement" which - as minor as it may seem - has very large consequences on a large scale, IMO.
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline skiguy

  • Tetrarch Emperor
  • *****
  • Posts: 4065
  • Student
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2008, 05:16:51 PM »
I never said we were perfect.  ;D 

Although, I do think the welfare system started with good intentions, but then got abused as it Progressed. (little play on words)
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."    - Michelangelo

Offline BensGal

  • Centurion
  • ***
  • Posts: 148
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2008, 05:32:03 PM »
I agree with all that's been posted but my question is along the human rights line of thinking - the US has been guilty in the past in the manner in which African-Americans & American Indians were treated; is this  common when a country is gaining strength & dominance as a world power? I don't know if my question makes sense to anyone - I hope it does - but I've wondered about this many times.

Offline skiguy

  • Tetrarch Emperor
  • *****
  • Posts: 4065
  • Student
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2008, 05:47:17 PM »
That's a good question. I think when conquering or colonizing a country human rigths are going to be violated in one way or another.  The 4,000,000 Iraqi refugees bothers me a lot and I can't help to think we are most to blame for that.
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."    - Michelangelo

Offline Phidippides

  • Emperor
  • Global Dominion
  • *****
  • Posts: 7238
  • Caesar
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2008, 06:08:33 PM »
I think that some of it just has to do with the change in the global view of man as being endowed with dignity.  While I hardly think this concept has come to perfection (due to some glaring inconsistencies alive in the world today) I think that the view of an individual being "property" has become almost universally reviled.  For as bad as it may seem in regard to ownership of slaves in the American South, it was probably an "improvement" of sorts; I believe it was in ancient Athens where 9 out of 10 people were actually slaves.  We also know of the Roman slave rebellion led by Spartacus.  So slavery as an institution declined over time even as it lingered on in various forms.  Come to think of it, I believe it continues today in one form or another but more in underdeveloped nations.

I think that overall the degradation of individuals had less to do with living in a country which is a world power than merely living during a time when it was accepted.
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline DonaldBaker

  • Global Moderator
  • Tetrarch Emperor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3035
  • It be like all that...
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2008, 08:16:25 PM »
There are winners and losers all throughout history.  Nations rise and nations fall...one thing remains constant...there will always be suffering.

Offline BensGal

  • Centurion
  • ***
  • Posts: 148
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2008, 10:17:36 PM »
Donald, you're correct. I hate the suffering part, though. We seem to be able to solve the majority of problems in the world through technology, science, medicine, etc. but we can't solve the suffering.

Offline Beaumaris

  • Centurion
  • ***
  • Posts: 142
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 01:54:34 PM »
I would say we most resemble the British Empire.  Where as we have created democracy rather than Empiral states subservent to the Empire.  As Britain has continued to lose its territories since, well us.  The US is loosing its dominance economically.  We have assisted many nations to build economic and governmental stability.  Initially the US profited from this.  Now several of those nations have surpasses us.  The teacher is no longer the master.  Will we fall?  Not in the Roman sense.  Perhaps like Britain.  We will not be the economic superpower when the rest of the world decides to combine its financial power.  It is possible we could remain the backbone of the worlds various military alliances.  The core of our Constitution is timeless, Freedom will never fall.
I see your shwartz is as big as mine! - Dark Helmet

Offline DonaldBaker

  • Global Moderator
  • Tetrarch Emperor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3035
  • It be like all that...
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 08:06:02 PM »
America is in decline pure and simple, but it doesn't have to be irreversible.  I still believe in this nation's soul, but right now it is under attack by those who hate our freedom from within and from without.  It will take something to unify this people like World War II did....but what on earth would it be?

Offline Phidippides

  • Emperor
  • Global Dominion
  • *****
  • Posts: 7238
  • Caesar
Re: Comparing the glory of ancient Rome to modern-day United States
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 08:21:26 PM »
America is in decline pure and simple, but it doesn't have to be irreversible.  I still believe in this nation's soul, but right now it is under attack by those who hate our freedom from within and from without.  It will take something to unify this people like World War II did....but what on earth would it be?

Are you asking that question rhetorically?  I imagine you are, as we know the kinds of situations which would unify the people.  I generally agree with you that America is in decline, and I see these as a result of policies that feed on those things opposed to the ideals upon which the nation was founded.  Things such as entitlement rather than responsibility; imagined rights rather than Constitutional rights; government as the provider rather than government as the protector; popularity on the world stage rather than principled decisions based on truth.  Issues that pertain to these seem to tip in the favor of the worse choice, bringing America down gradually. 

Sometimes I imagine that if some apocalyptic scenario were to occur - whether it be a kind of Waterworld or The Postman scenario (hey, two Kevin Costner films!) - how would Americans proceed?  I think that many of the liberal policies would be abandoned and we would be reduced to many of the laws and policies from a more enlightened age. 
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal