Rome and Multiculturalism
Every now and then, and for the umpteenth time, some media outlet tries to reinterpretate Rome and Roman society according to the contemporary narrative on immigration and multiculturalism.
It is always the same, it hardly ever changes; in those reports/articles, gonzo journalists always praise Rome’s “multiculturalism” in ancient times.
Let us have a closer look at the supposed multiculturalism of Rome from an Identitarian perspective, then.
One of the most recent fetishes of the leftist narrative is their idea of a multi-confessional society, which was more or less adopted in the aftermath of 9/11. In the history of mankind, different groups with different religions and relationships to the Divine living in proximity of each other has almost invariably resulted in those cultures’ collective effort to genocide one another. Obviously, leftists have no interest in pragmatic human behaviour, preferring to it the engineering of human nature. As such, the only historical example which vaguely fits their utopianism is Rome.
But was Rome really a safe haven for all creeds and cults?
It is true that until the 2nd century AD, innumerable religions and cults, with variable number of followers were allowed to co-exist with the state-sanctioned morals of the Mos Maiorum and Greco-Roman paganism. That’s a fact.
However, those presenting this view as what is nowadays described as “freedom of religion” are enormously biased at worst, and immensely ignorant at best.
In fact, cults differing from the native Greco-Roman religion were only allowed if they collectively recognised the emperor as a divine being. Smaller, exotic, and esoteric cults such as the cult of Mitra, the cult of Isis, and the Mysteries could only exist in semi-clandestinity, with complicated rules to identify members and keep strangers away (which is exactly what early Christians did, for example).
Most notably, Jews always refused to aknowledge the Emperor’s divinity after the Roman conquest of Galilea – and as we know, they were rewarded with a tabula rasa of the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem, including the Temple. I doubt leftist would like to see this kind of “multiculturalism”.
Another interesting idea that has gained momentum among leftist circles is Rome’s supposed multi-ethnic/multi-racial society. This a peculiarly preposterous idea, as it propagates the idea that Roman society was abundantly populated with “people of colour”. First of all, the Mare Nostrum back then was populated by peoples that were almost invariably either Mediterranean/European as we understand them today, or Berbers. Celtic populations were almost without exception assimilated (the exact contrary of “multiculturalism”).
In fact, it is the germanisation of Rome that ultimately led to its collapse. If anything, it was the emergence of a multi-racial society that killed Rome. Even the eastern half of the empire was weakened by the slavification of the Balkans more than anything.
Finally, the biggest misrepresentation of all – culture. While we today welcome immigration to such an extent that parallel societies and populations with hardly any relation to the host country exist, i can assure you that not understanding either Latin or Greek (sometimes, both) would not get you very far in Roman society.
The concept of state itself in the West is based on the basic policy of “Obey, or else”, and this has been true ever since the emergence of the modern nation state in the 19th century, even before Western states turned hostile towards their own peoples.
Western people, when interacting with the state, sooner or later encounter a point of “Obey, or else”. Being that the state was built by our forefathers for us, we all have the tendency to concede, which if anthing keeps the state in order (or should keep it in order).
Now that foreign populations have entered our societies, we can notice that they behave differently; having no connection to the state, and some inherently understanding themselves as invaders or colonisers, they have no fear in replying to “Obey, or else” with a defiant “Or else what…?”. The Western state, having weakened its own people and cultural “self-confidence”, finds itself unable to answer properly on a systemic scale. And decay ensues.
Romans had a fairly simple policy regarding foreign cultures: “submit, or face annihilation” (they were more explicit than the Western state currently). And indeed they enslaved and genocided entire peoples who defied this simple assumption of the Roman proto-state’s framework of operation. Hence, Boudicca. Hence, the Jewish Diaspora. Hence, Alesia.
Rome was only multicultural insofar as foreign cultures were either forced to assimilate or annihilated. It was always foreigners who “integrated” into Roman culture, never the other way around (with two exceptions, the conquest of Etruria and the conquest of Greece).
As long as Rome had the systemic capability of exterminating hostile cultures, sometimes preemptively, the Gods blessed Rome with prosperity and abundance. When it lost this capacity, and Romans were forced to compromise with Germanic “migrants”, decay ensued, and soon after, Rome fell1.
Hence, it is a fact that Rome was not even close to the modern idea of “multiculturalism”; even the limited characteristic of a multicultural society that can be found in Roman society were only allowed to exist because it suited the idea of the Pax Romana in the first place, and the Pax Romana was shaped by what invariably remained an ultra-authoritarian militaristic caesarian state.
Being that the West today is immensely distant from what Rome was, it is not very surprising how such ridicolous models of “multicultural” Rome can be proposed in the first place, but all revisionism of European history must be tirelessly opposed. Even in countries which directly track their descent back to the empire (Greece and Italy), Roman history is relatively obscure, but I especially urge readers from Anglo-Saxon and Germanic countries to rediscover it. Do not allow corrupt and debauched media and elites to sell what destroyed Rome as it were what made it great for the sake of their own twisted schemes for the future of Europe.