Roman Virtue: The Good Society

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Roman Virtue: The Good Society
American author, Frederick Douglas, said of a great nation, “A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.” Expanding beyond the shadow of Greece, Rome grew to become the greatest empire of its time. Rome’s mission was to create a good society. At the core of this good society, and at the core of Rome’s greatness, was the Roman people – the Romanitas. Rome’s journey to greatness can be traced through the virtues of the people, their patriotism, duty to family and state, and an underlying sense of religion.
The Romans founded their history in Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Accoding to their history, Rome descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas. Aeneas escaped the fall of Troy and settled on the plain of Latium. It was from Aeneas’ line that Rome’s founders, the twins Romulus and Remus, were born. At first, Rome operated under a strained relationship between monarchs and a Senate. However, around 509 BC, a revolution occurred that created the Republic
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His leadership was not to be a monarchy, which the Romans equated to slavery, but instead a leader of the people. Octavian managed to secure his power by doing what was best for the state. Octavian believed that the state was responsible for promoting a good life for its citizens and thus initiated many reforms to better the state and, therefore, the lives of the people. When Aristides gained citizenship he praised Rome stating, “You have divided into two parts all men throughout your empire... everywhere giving citizenship to all those who are more accomplished, noble, and powerful, even as they retain their nativeborn identities, while the rest you have made subjects and the governed.” With faith restored in the state, and reason once again to be loyal, Rome continued to expand its
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