- Mar 2011
Of course the Greeks were never Romanized! Roman culture was a derivative of Greek culture. The Romans that were Hellenized. Civilization spread from Greece to the rest of the mediterranean and from the mediterranean that it spread to northern Europe. Essentially Gaul and Britain were hellenized. The Greeks living in the Roman Empire in the 1st century considered it as an Hellenic Empire, they considered the civilized world the Hellenic world.You give Romanization too much credit, it was a superficial thing. Many other cultures, the Greeks and the Jews, for instance, were virtually untouched by Romanization, even after many centuries of life under the Empire. The Jewish Revolts of the 1st and 2nd Centuries show that it was possible for peoples that had been under the Roman yoke for several centuries to still feel patriotic feelings.
In the 4th century BCE, when classical Greece reached it's apex, the southern third of Italy was fully colonized by Greeks, while the middle part of Italy consisted in the Latin/Etruscan culture, Roman culture is the outcome of a mix of Etruscan and Greek culture. As mediterranean civilization developed and spread, first Italy and north Africa became civilized, then came the rest of the western mediterranean.
And yes, Romanization was very, very deep in Gaul. Overall the Western parts of the Empire were the romanized parts while the eastern parts of the empire were hellenized. But that consisted only of two flavors of the same civilization. The languages of Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, a good chunk of Switzerland and Romania are essentially dialects of Latin. To say that Romanization was superficial is essentially to say that the majority of the population of Western Europe outside Italy didn't speak Latin, of course it couldn't be more wrong as the modern languages of Europe that was under roman control are nearly all derived from Latin. Only English is not derived directly from Latin, but it's Latin influences are deep.