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Old January 8th, 2017, 06:19 AM   #1
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Why is Italy so weak compared to her predecessors,the Roman Empire?


A friend of mine told me its because Italians lacked the qualities that made the Roman people create the one of if not the greatest civilizations in the history of the world:

1)Industriousness 2)Stoicism 3)Frugality 4)Toughness 5)Discipline 6)Militarism and above all: 7)Willingness to sacrifice everything(including one's self and one's entire family) for the country.

Is my friend right?If not,then what are the reasons why Italy is so weak today?
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Old January 8th, 2017, 07:43 AM   #2
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I think part of the reason the Romans were so successful is that they were at the very fringes of the 'civilised world': they had a strong work ethic and martial prowess because they needed them, as Rome was a small tribal township locked in conflict with its neighbours, but they also had the advantages in technology and learning that seeped through from Magna Graecia (and also from the Etruscans). The same was true of the Carthaginians and the Parthians: they were all from the very edges of 'civilisation' and so they were able to dominate the poorly developed tribal areas through discipline and then, when they had unified their respective 'homelands' and established themselves as dominant Mediterranean powers, they were able to take on the more established and developed areas to the East, as well as the more distant and alien areas to the North.

Obviously the Italians from the Medieval period onwards were simply part of a broad European civilisation with nothing major differentiating them from others.

I think 'national character' is a rather outdated concept, people are the same everywhere and people of every creed and colour have proven themselves vicious and hardy warriors. It's difficult to say what the catalyst is for making one city/country outcompete its neighbours so spectacularly, I don't think there's any one 'list' of motivations or character traits, but rather you have to examine each empire individually and see the context of their culture and geopolitics.

Last edited by Copperknickers; January 8th, 2017 at 07:46 AM.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 07:49 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrangler29 View Post
A friend of mine told me its because Italians lacked the qualities that made the Roman people create the one of if not the greatest civilizations in the history of the world:

1)Industriousness 2)Stoicism 3)Frugality 4)Toughness 5)Discipline 6)Militarism and above all: 7)Willingness to sacrifice everything(including one's self and one's entire family) for the country.

Is my friend right?If not,then what are the reasons why Italy is so weak today?
Well, it's like to wonder why today Tunisia is so weak thinking to Carthage ...

There is a tremendous temporal distance between Rome and modern Italy and the context is well different [Rome was the center of the world, today the world has got several "centers", but not in Europe].
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Old January 8th, 2017, 07:51 AM   #4
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Having the Pope in the middle of Italy blocking any attempt to unify the country for almost 1300 years didn't help either.

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Old January 8th, 2017, 08:13 AM   #5

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Having the Pope in the middle of Italy blocking any attempt to unify the country for almost 1300 years didn't help either.

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This is a historical fact, the Italian Kingdom had to conquer Rome to have it as its capital [the United Kingdom of Italy, at the beginning had Turin and then Florence as capital ...].
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Old January 8th, 2017, 08:28 AM   #6

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As mentioned, Italy was a collection of city states from the Middle Ages till about the time of the American Civil War. The Papal States, inconveniently located in the middle of Italy with Rome, killed any chance of true reunification with threats of excommunication and the like.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 08:38 AM   #7

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As mentioned, Italy was a collection of city states from the Middle Ages till about the time of the American Civil War. The Papal States, inconveniently located in the middle of Italy with Rome, killed any chance of true reunification with threats of excommunication and the like.
In this context, we can remind that after the conquest of Rome by the Italian Kingdom the Church prohibited to Catholics to vote in the Italian elections ... [just to underline how the Papacy was democratic ...].
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Old January 8th, 2017, 08:58 AM   #8

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This is a historical fact, the Italian Kingdom had to conquer Rome to have it as its capital [the United Kingdom of Italy, at the beginning had Turin and then Florence as capital ...].
Then conquer Rome, move the Pope to Jerusalem and let him be close to the holy land as much as possible since he's so obsessed with it, lol.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 08:58 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrangler29 View Post
A friend of mine told me its because Italians lacked the qualities that made the Roman people create the one of if not the greatest civilizations in the history of the world:

1)Industriousness 2)Stoicism 3)Frugality 4)Toughness 5)Discipline 6)Militarism and above all: 7)Willingness to sacrifice everything(including one's self and one's entire family) for the country.

Is my friend right?If not,then what are the reasons why Italy is so weak today?
Sounds a little hard on Italy, to me! And I'm not sure all those qualities even applied to the Romans. Frugal? Rome was stinking rich and spent money like water! And I'm pretty sure most Romans were NOT willing to sacrifice their families for their country.

If your friend would be happier with a modern Italy that was steeped in naked imperialistic aggression, squeezing its conquered neighbors for every penny they could get, well, okay... I suspect most folks are perfectly happy with Italy being a nice neighbor!

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Old January 8th, 2017, 09:00 AM   #10

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Then conquer Rome, move the Pope to Jerusalem and let him be close to the holy land as much as possible since he's so obsessed with it, lol.
Eh ... don't tempt us ... we could decide to conquer the Vatican State to move the Papacy to Jerusalem for real [of course I'm joking ... may be ...].
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