Jump to content


Photo
* * * * - 3 votes

Are Italians the direct descendents of Romans?


  • Please log in to reply
82 replies to this topic

#46 mariusj

mariusj

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 2,061 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History

Posted 22 September 2008 - 11:39 PM

First, I am no historians. If this discussion is only for historians then most people wouldn't be qualified. I am only in this discussion b/c 1) I enjoy Roman history [mainly the Republic] and 2) I like devil's advocate. It wasn't I who began the 'don't you dare' but someone who asked was I joking. But that was the past, and I suppose barking at a dog who barks at you makes me the same as the dog. So I do apologizes.

That'd be true for every single family in Rome, then, since Rome has a date of foundation, and before that it was not populated. But the Julian and Cornelian family has been at Rome since the earliest times immemorable (C. Iulius Iullus was consul at 489; Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis at 485). You're right about Pompey, however, and that the Pompeians were descended from the Gauls which settled in Italy at Picenum.

Hum. I never said the Julii was not part of the Republic, but the time period of Roman existence goes back to the kingdom does it not? My point was more like, at the founding of Rome, Juli wasn't part of it, but eventually towards the latter part of the Roman history in its kingdom stage did many famous families join the kingdom. Since the Roman kingdom was supposed to be founded at 1000 B.C, and the first [I assumed?] Juli consul was in 489 B.C, I don't see what I said contradicts this.

I never said that no Romans spoke Greek. But you're conflating the "upper class" with all Romans, and this is not true. Many Americans learn Chinese, and that is just as irrelevant to inheritance as it is that educated Romans spoke Greek. And Romans only started learning Greek en masse after the acquisition of Greece. And that was just among certain elite. Cato the Elder staunchly opposed Greek, and he himself educated his children so that they wouldn't be "corrupted" by Greek teachers.

How is the example of many American learn Chinese even close to the many upper class Roman learn Greek? It is more like many upper class Europeans learn French during certain period during the history of Europe.
And I did noted that Greece was only acquired by Rome after Rome acquired Italy, and like I said, my 'Roman speak Greeks thus Greeks could be Romans' came only after 'Romans speak Latin thus Italians could be Romans;' it wasn't an academic statement, since I am no historians and I don't keep history books on any civilization at my book shelf, but rather doubt on the 'b/c Romans speak Latin, and Italians speak Latin, thus Italians are direct decedent of Romans.'

It would make more sense that Italy be the inheritor of Greece rather than Greece be the inheritor of Rome.

It would only make sense if Roma was the inheritor of Greece, and that were Italy to be inheritor of Roma then and only then could Italy be inheritor of Greece.

But nevertheless, in my understanding, inheritances goes both way, if A could inherit B, then B could also inherit A; if Italy is inheritor of Greece then Greece is also inheritor of Italy [which.... really doesn't work if I think very hard, if.]

That is most certainly not my claim. Read it again if you're still interested.

I read yours. Did you read mine? I asked a general question, then I went on stating that your points were based on genetic and cultural, and I posed other questions such as 'are Romans really an ethnic group' and then continue on with 'Romans are no more an ethnic group anymore then HRE was' and that was my point.

If you can read Greek or Latin:

...both of which deal with granting citizenship to the Italians after the Social War. You can read about in Wikipedia as well for a primer.

I can't read either Greek or Latin.

However, I do know of the granting of citizenship of Italians after the Social War [it would be silly of me to not know and argue about Italian allies] and I want to point out a key fact, perhaps my understanding of history wasn't clear, but the citizenship was only granted to any clan who did not revolt. But certainly, my understanding of Lex Plautia Papiria is close to neil, and if this law actually did change something about how citizenship was granted, please enlighten me.

The Italians supplied citizens to fight in Rome's army. They were not allowed to have actual armies or troops, nor make any alliances with foreign nations, etc. Read Livy to get a better grasp on the situation.

Hum. Did not know that.

I could go on about the extent of the empire under Trajan (largest in Roman history), the civil wars of Constantine (ruining Domitian's vision), the sound economic policies starting from Trajan to Marcus Aurelius (most sources would attest). I will instead quote the foremost author of the 19th century on the fall of Rome, Edward Gibbon. If you are not convinced, I'll track down statistics and others to attest:

"If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus. The vast extent of the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded respect. The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws. Such princes deserved the honour of restoring the republic had the Romans of their days been capable of enjoying a rational freedom."

I suppose I should rephrase.

I don't think there are much time in Roman history that could surpass Pax Romona, nor do I think Constantine was the greatest Emperor, but I do think he is a great Emperor and under him there was a rejuvenation into Roman Empire. So I would disagree that during Constantine's reign, the condition was worse then Constantius and Galerius' reign. In fact, it was to my understanding [and some google research that should amount to nothing in the academic world but its easily accessed.] that Constantine recapture many lost parts of the Empire and have reunited the Empire under one Emperor [which I believe is better then having co-emperors].

The whim of one man does not alter history past. Constantine's shift of Rome (which, mind you, remained an important center of civic services) does not alter the fact that for over 1000 years Rome was the capital of the Roman empire. Besides, the capital shift was done for many reasons, and Byzantium was always understood to be although a part of the Roman empire actually part of Greece.



For 1000 years Rome was the capital. The Roman empire began in Italy. It was only on the whim of one emperor that it changed.


Wait. That is not fair. I brought up an example of Byzantine, the capital of Roman Empire after Constantine, was closer to Greece and you said that was only b/c the whim of one emperor, and then you go on saying the whim of one man doesn't change historic past; so b/c Rome was capital for 1000 years Byzantine amounts to nothing?

B/c Luo Yang and Chang An were capitals since long long ago and had been for maybe majority of Chinese history [well at least longer then most cities], Bian Liang, Da Du/Yan Jing/ Pei King/ Bei Jing meant nothing?

You can say it until your face turns blue, but the difference are far too profound to include under one homogenous label.

Very well. My face turned blue. [I also said Obama will become President alone with it.]

I have asked for a while now, how do we define Romans in this thread. [Maybe I did.] Are we talking about Romans from the Republic to the fall of the Western Empire? Are we talking about the Republic? Are we talking about the Empire?

The topic began with a giant homogeneous label, like who are the decedents of Han. Are those who stayed in the northern plain and intermarried with the nomads, or those who fled to the southern plain and intermarried with the locals. Was Southern Song any less of Song then Northern Song? Did Ming end when the Emperor hang himself on the mountain or did it end when the last Emperor was hunted down?

For that you might actually have to read what I actually wrote.


That's really unfair to compare the later Byzantine empire with the Roman Republic. You're comparing apples and oranges. Calling yourself Roman doesn't make you one. Who was ruling in the later Byzantine empire? They were Greek rulers, and the subjects were Greeks, not Romans. Rome isn't a mere appellation. It actually meant something ethnically.


So, we are clear. This topic will ignore Byzantine Empire.

But funny how you could say Italians were decedents of Romans but Byzantine was not.


This isn't doing you any good. And on top of the condescending and sarcastic attitude, it's full of strawmen.

Believe it or not. I was actually serious. Since no one was [key word, WAS] interested in any real conversation but instead are all interested in demanding on why Romans speak Greek or demand my acceptance of Romans do not speak Greek.

#47 ShingenT

ShingenT

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 676 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:甲府の躑躅ヶ崎館
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Asian History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    computers, asian and western history

Posted 27 September 2008 - 02:00 PM

I think to keep the topic in check is to define what constitutes an Italian and what a Roman.
So people won;t jumping all over the place.

For example, would Romans be only from the city of Roma? or elsewhere in the Empire. Would the mercenaries/tribes from the North be Romans?
Are people from Sicily also Romans?
As Chris said, are the Byzantines really Romans?

Italians are people that lives in Italy? From what time to what time? Are the Venetians also Italians? Tuscany?

the above are all example questions.

If we can have basic definitions, I think it would help discussing this topic a bit flow a bit more nicely :)

Edited by ShingenT, 27 September 2008 - 02:02 PM.

Posted Image
疾如風徐如林侵掠如火不動如山
南無諏方南宮法性上下大明神

#48 peepee

peepee

    Grand Tutor (Taifu 太傅)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 353 posts
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    NE Asia anthropology & archaeology

Posted 28 September 2008 - 04:38 PM

I think ancients of what's now Greece and Italy were originally of different ethicities,later interbred with each others by a percentage just like all other peoples around the world.

I think the Romans owed much of its technological innovations to some great Greek inventors like Archimedes.

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Archimedes
我相信一個原則:

國與國之間,沒有永遠的朋友和敵人,沒有絕對的公理和正義,永恆不變的只是國家利益.

#49 ShingenT

ShingenT

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 676 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:甲府の躑躅ヶ崎館
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Asian History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    computers, asian and western history

Posted 28 September 2008 - 06:08 PM

I think ancients of what's now Greece and Italy were originally of different ethicities,later interbred with each others by a percentage just like all other peoples around the world.

I think the Romans owed much of its technological innovations to some great Greek inventors like Archimedes.

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Archimedes


Ironic that Romans also killed him?
:P
Posted Image
疾如風徐如林侵掠如火不動如山
南無諏方南宮法性上下大明神

#50 peepee

peepee

    Grand Tutor (Taifu 太傅)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 353 posts
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    NE Asia anthropology & archaeology

Posted 28 September 2008 - 10:00 PM

Read this ...

According to sparse historical writings, the Greek mathematician Archimedes torched a fleet of invading Roman ships by reflecting the sun's powerful rays with a mirrored device made of glass or bronze.

Attached Files


我相信一個原則:

國與國之間,沒有永遠的朋友和敵人,沒有絕對的公理和正義,永恆不變的只是國家利益.

#51 mariusj

mariusj

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 2,061 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History

Posted 28 September 2008 - 10:34 PM

Read this ...

According to sparse historical writings, the Greek mathematician Archimedes torched a fleet of invading Roman ships by reflecting the sun's powerful rays with a mirrored device made of glass or bronze.


I think its now proven impossible for such feat.

I believe some European professor tried this feat, and he can only torch the sails and as long as mast doesn't catch on fire [and unless all Romans just stand there watching their sails burning the mast, and even then] the fleet is safe from the mirrors. [Damned AOE]

I think its more likely the Romans were just blinded by these shinning mirrors/shields, and got their fleet sunk by the opposing fleet.

#52 ShingenT

ShingenT

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 676 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:甲府の躑躅ヶ崎館
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Asian History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    computers, asian and western history

Posted 30 September 2008 - 12:05 AM

Myth!

Let's stay on topic guys lol.

Go start a "ancient crazy heat ray myth or fact" thread if you want to discuss that. :P
Posted Image
疾如風徐如林侵掠如火不動如山
南無諏方南宮法性上下大明神

#53 YuwenTai

YuwenTai

    Commissioner (Shi Chijie 使持节)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 72 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Milano - Italy
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    none

Posted 19 October 2008 - 06:15 AM

May I... :rolleyes:
I'm not expert about that subject at all, but since I'm italian and I have studied at the classical high school (latin, ancient greek and philosopy stuff) maybe I can say something I hope will contribute to this topic.

The first thing to notice is that Italy is not an homogeneous country, they are a lot of differences in language, physical appearance and mentality among north, center and south.

The second one is that we do not feel especially related to greek culture and people of nowadays, but about past we think that greek culture influenced deeply the roman empire. Usually is said that Rome conquered phisically Greece but Greece conquered culturally Rome.

The italian feelings about the roman empire are purely personal, I know people that admire Rome and people who would have preferred that barbarians won.
In the south they are some community that speak something like a greek-related dialect, but that come from something about Bizantyum...

Here in north Italy they are a lot of blue eyed people and an average of red/blond haired people, even if fair hair AND fair eyes is a rare combination.
Uh, and generally speaking women are taller.
Posted Image
One talent can change a life, one genius can change his world.

#54 TwinkieDP

TwinkieDP

    Grand Mentor (Taishi 太师)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 499 posts
  • Location:U.S.
  • Interests:Tennis, Running, Computers<br />And sometimes, just a nice cup of tea or coffee will do!

Posted 20 October 2008 - 12:11 PM

Read this ...

According to sparse historical writings, the Greek mathematician Archimedes torched a fleet of invading Roman ships by reflecting the sun's powerful rays with a mirrored device made of glass or bronze.


The Mythbusters on Discovery channel already attempted this feat. Its possible to set fire to wooden ships using mirrors arranged in a parabolic configuration, but due to many factors, it is totally impractical. There are better, more efficient ways to fight off an enemy fleet. I'm thoroughly convinced that was just a Myth.
Posted Image

"Lay down your cowardly sword and let Buddha into your heart"


#55 peepee

peepee

    Grand Tutor (Taifu 太傅)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 353 posts
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    NE Asia anthropology & archaeology

Posted 20 October 2008 - 12:34 PM

Usually is said that Rome conquered physically Greece but Greece conquered culturally Rome.



I learned something from you,thanks :clapping:
我相信一個原則:

國與國之間,沒有永遠的朋友和敵人,沒有絕對的公理和正義,永恆不變的只是國家利益.

#56 babo

babo

    Prefect (Taishou 太守)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 29 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Languages spoken:Italian, English, Chinese, Japanese
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    none

Posted 20 December 2008 - 08:13 PM

I'm just wondering. Are today's Italian the direct descendents of the ancient Romans?


Yes I am. I'm a Roman.

#57 Tibet Libre

Tibet Libre

    Grand Marshal (Da Sima/Taiwei 大司马/太尉)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 1,428 posts
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History

Posted 21 July 2009 - 07:34 PM

How do ancient Romans look like? Do they have the "meditarraneans look" (with black hair) like today's Italian, Spanish?


I find it curious that you ask for an opinion. Due to the survival of a large corpus of ancient portraits on coins and mosaics, as well as sculptural portraits and busts, and the general Roman fondness of naturalism, we are better informed about the appearance of Romans (and Greeks) than about any other people prior to the introduction of Renaissance oil painting.

Heck, we can even establish with a fair degree of certainty the individual looks of many ancient personalities. In contrast, who could say how Qin Huangdi or Ashoka looked like?

#58 Tibet Libre

Tibet Libre

    Grand Marshal (Da Sima/Taiwei 大司马/太尉)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 1,428 posts
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History

Posted 21 July 2009 - 07:37 PM

I'm thoroughly convinced that was just a Myth.


It is. The first report to that extent dates from a Greek writer of Byzantine times, a thousand years after the event. However, Archimedes' ship claw is testified in ancient sources and must have given the Roman navy a hard time.

#59 GreekHistorian

GreekHistorian

    Prefect (Taishou 太守)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 25 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece
  • Interests:History in general, Sci-fi, blogging, Greek politics
  • Languages spoken:Greek, English, learning Spanish
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    biology, greek history

Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:44 PM

As my knowledge on Roman history is lacking, I hope someone can clarify my doubt.

I'm just wondering. Are today's Italian the direct descendents of the ancient Romans?

How do ancient Romans look like? Do they have the "meditarraneans look" (with black hair) like today's Italian, Spanish?


As Dionysius of Halicarnassus says the Romans were a mixture of people.
Their lineage was Greek, Etruscan and Trojan.
Rome was built as a sanctuary for the exiles and the outlaws
This is why, according to legend, they kidnapped the Sabine women.
As a city of outlaws most, if not all, of its inhabitants were men
This event is known as the “The Rape of the Sabine Women”, though it has nothing to do with rape.

Afterwards Rome continued to be a mixture of people around the world.
As the center of the roman empire one could find in Rome, Greeks, Romans, Gauls, Egyptians etc

Later all citizents of the empire became “Roman citizents” thus the mixture became more homogeneous.

But as the empire started to fell, barbarian tribes settled in.

So are modern Italians direct descendants of the Romans?
No they arent
In the south you will find influence of the German tribes, while in the north you will find the influence of the Greeks and to a smaller extent that of the Arabs

Edited by GreekHistorian, 28 September 2009 - 06:45 PM.


#60 Jimi

Jimi

    Citizen (Shumin 庶民)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2 posts
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Cooking

Posted 29 July 2010 - 01:40 PM

Hi all, I am of Italian descent and have looked into this in the past. I can agree with Mariusj that Italy has been a European, west Asia and North African melting pot perhaps more so than anywhere else until modern times. While Roman is the foundation for Italian culture the actual population could have any of dozens of diferent peoples in the mix.
But I would dispute that Greeks are closer to Romans than Italians. I think Mariusj is refering to the Eastern Roman Empire which was based in Constantinople after the fall of Rome. The empire in its heyday was centered on Rome and all Italian culture stems from there. Italian has a latin culture and language in a direct line from Roman culture whilst Greece has a unique language and culture and share similarities to other eastern countries in Europe and Asia.

It must be remembered that Italy was never a unified country from Roman times and up until the late 19th century. In between it was fragmented into numerous small states and Kingdoms.

Italian peoples can have any or all of the below combinations mixed into their ancestral blood depending where they came from.

Italy has always seen numerous immigrants over the centuries starting from Roman times which complicate things further. It is also worth noting that the Chinese are currently the 4th largest immigrant minority in Italy.






Heres a broad outline of ethnic influences.
Celts, Slavs and Germanic people in the North.
Latins including Romans.
Other Italic peoples
Arabs and North African in the south.
Greeks and Albanians in the south.
Scandinavians, Greeks and Arabs in Sicily.
Numerous ancient peoples of Indo European, Semetic and Aboriginal heritage such as Etruscans and Illyrians.

In sum total, Italians can be considered descendants from Romans and a mixture of inhabitants from the rest of the Roman Empire with some later barbarian invaders.


The Normans, Vandals and Lombards occupied the south for long periods of time. There were a few Arab settlements in the south but they were kicked out
many hundreds of years ago. This might mean that there are traces of Arabic blood in the south -- we are talking 3% maybe.




3 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 3 guests, 0 anonymous users