Roman Influence On Spain

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Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is today an important European country with a very strong culture, influenced by varied populations such as the Visogoths or the Celtics. However, the cultures that have shaped current Spain the most are the Roman civilization and the Arab civilization. These two giant empires conquered what was known as “Hispania” during the Roman time, and “Al-Andalus” during the Arab time; leaving their mark on the country of Spain forever.
In order to answer which civilization has been most influential to current Spain, we will in a first part, present the influence of Romans on current Spain. In a second part, we will then discuss the influence of Arabs on current Spain. Thirdly, we shall compare both influences
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Christianism became the official religion, while Latin became the main language; for over 600 years. This led to an extension of any other Iberian language and nowadays, Castilian Spanish is a continuation of the spoken Latin; it is from Latin that Spanish evolved. Despite the fall of the Roman Empire, the Latin language kept on developing in various social environments through the Middle Ages. Important books were written in Latin, and kept on being read during the centuries. The importance of Latin on the Spanish language was so massive that even today, Latin words are closely related to Spanish ones: for example, “cantare” (to sing) is now said “cantar” in Spanish. It’s during the Roman expansion that Spain produced some of its greats poets and philosophers in the Latin tongue, such as Lucas and Seneca. Even today, these personalities are known and read in the Spanish language.
One of Roman’s biggest influence to current Spain is undoubtedly religion. Indeed, it’s during the process of Romanization that Spain received Christianity. Back at that time, Roman Catholicism was the religion of 97% of the Hispania population. Even after the decline of Rome and the arrival of Germanic tribes, the Arabs and other cultural influences, Catholicism remained the main religion and today, over 70% of the Spanish population identifies as Catholic
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Although the language derives mainly from Latin, it still has some Arabic roots. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that about 8% of the Spanish dictionary is derived from Arabic (about 4000 words) and it’s considered to be the second strongest influence after Latin. Almost all the words that begin with al are of Arabic origin, and multiple words are extremely similar: for example, shirt in Spanish in said camisa while in Arabic it’s kamis, or sugar is said sookar in Arabic, and azucar in Spanish. Those similarities reveal the great legacy of Arabs on today’s
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