The World of The Gunny

The Wasted World of Gunnery Sergeant DeShane
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 Post subject: The Roman Way
PostPosted: 17 Jun 2008 21:47 
Sergeant Major of the USMC
Sergeant Major of the USMC
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Joined: 23 May 2005 16:49
Posts: 5244
Location: Wandering the Wastes
I have thrown this document together on the differences between the Roman worldview and the one we have today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it. :bs

So you have watched Gladiator for the umpteenth time. You can recite from memory the Emperors of Rome, IN ORDER. But try as you might you just can't get a fix on how a Roman actually viewed his world and what his values really were.

One thing you have to remember is that Roma was a society where class distinctions, slavery, lethal violence and cruelty are the norm. Even though elements of Roman culture have their parallels in comtemporary society, a boxing match in Roman society was far more brutal and dangerous than a modern heavyweight bout with padded gloves.

Virtues are those behavioral patterns that a society holds in the highest regard. In Western Judeo-Christian society, the chief virtues are Faith, Hope, Love, Tolerance, Wisdom, Justice, Forgiveness, Courage, Moderation, Integrity, and Perseverance.

In Roman society, the primary virtues for a good Roman are Duty, Respect, Dignity, Nobility, Harmony, Culture, Courage, Piety, Tenacity, and Hard Work. While similar in some respects, note the lack of Faith, Hope, Love, Tolerance, and Forgiveness in the Roman virtues. The Roman virtues matched the outlook of the Imperium and its citizens: Rome's destiny was to rule the rest of the world. Only the Roman Way can civilize barbarians and ensure lasting peace.

The following examples will help you understand the Roman mindset. They present hypothetical moral and ethical dilemmas that a Roman could face and each example is supported by an example from history.

DUTY [Officium] and RESPECT [Aequitas]

During a civil war a Roman takes part in a bloody battle. Each side incurs heavy losses, including his sister's fiance, who happens to be fighting for the opposition. She does not show up for his victory celebration, opting instead to attend the funeral of her beloved.

What should the reaction be of this Roman?

According to Roman virtues he should run her through. One of Rome's early kings Tullus Hostilius, who made war against the Albans (from Alba Longa). During the fighting, three Roman warriors challenged three Albans to personal combat as a way to settle the conflict once and for all. Only Publius Horatius, a Roman Legionarii, survived. Horatius returned home, planning to celebrate the Roman victory. However, one of the Alban champions that Horatius slew was his sister's fiance. His sister decided to mourn his death instead of participating in the victory celebration. On hearing this, Horatius promplty killed her.

DIGNITY [Gravitas] and NOBILITY [Nobilitas]

A Roman is a local town councilman [Decurio] and barbarian invaders have overrun your defenses. recent reports indicate that the marauders are headed towards your assembly hall [Curia].

What should the Roman do next?

According to Roman virtues he should calmy wait. When the Gauls sacked Roma in 363 AUC {391 BC}, the Senators awaited their fate with Roman dignity. They sat on their ivory chairs in eerie silence. The Gauls had to poke one of them to prove that the eldery men were not statues. Of course, the Senators were slaughtered but they maintained the proper noble demeanor.

HARMONY [Concordia] and CULTURE [Humanitas]

A Governor of Achea has been finding great pleasure participating in the artistic and scientific community in Athens. However, he learns that several key cities are on the brink of rebellion, urged on by the very talented poets and philosophers that entertained him.

How should the Governor prevent a rebellion?

According to Roman virtues he should quietly round up the instigators and have them killed.

In 817 AUC {65 AD}, the Emperor Nero was made aware of a plot to overthrow him. Many of the conspirators were members of his inner circle - Petronius, Lucan, and Seneca the Younger. Despite their talents and possible literary contributions, they were all forced to commit suicide. To a Roman, duty is more important than the pursuit of knowledge or the creation of art. In order to preserve the peace, it is often necessary to remove troublemakers.

PIETY [Pietas] and COURAGE [Virtus]

A Roman Legio commander has his troops ready for combat. The morning before a battle, the augurs rush into his headquarters to inform the Legio commander that the sacred chickens refused to eat. They say that such an il omen precludes engaging the enemy.

What does this Legio commander do?

According to Roman virtues he could try to postpone the battle till the omens are right, ask the augurs to try feeding the chickens again, or perform a sheep sacrifice to verify the prediction. The one thing he does NOT want to do is kill the chickens and fight the battle anyway.

The consul Publius Claudius Pulcher was in a similar situation and made the mistake of drowning the sacred chickens before a critical sea battle. The Carthaginian navy soundly beat him, sinking 75% of his ships. Courage is a virtue, but only when tempered with prudence. The pious Roman does not ignore the will of the gods.

TENACITY [Firmitas] and HARD WORK [Industria]

This Roman is a senior intelligence agent who has been asked by the Emperor to come up with a plan to conquer the Parthian Empire. As a Roman what do you think the plan should be?

According to Roman virtue it should be to slowly extend the frontiers as weaknesses present themselves. While other tactics have been used in successful invasions, the slow and steady weakening of resistance is what Romans do best. Once a city under siege informed the Roman commander that his efforts were pointless since the city had enough supplies to last ten years. The Roman commander merely reminded them that they would taste defeat in the eleventh year. Victory is guaranteed to the patient, for a stubborn Roman is a formidible enemy. If you do not believe me, just ask Hannibal Barca. :wink:

As you can see the Roman worldview, despite the few similarities, is vastly different from our modern one. And if you tried to use it in todays world it would be eccentric at best and anti-social or criminal at worst.

Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.

"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400

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