Did the greco-romans realize they were related to the other indo-europeans?

Sep 2015
1,711
Romania
The Romans had more civil wars than probably any other ancient civilization. Considering the frequency in which Romans slaughtered each other, I'm guessing the knowledge that we're all related wouldn't have stopped them from going to war with their neighbors either.
Never have I suggested this knowledge somehow made or was expected to make them less violent towards each other [1].
My question was rather asking about the ''scientific'' views of the time.

There can be no doubt the merchants, soldiers, sailors, etc speaking 5+ languages knew very well the european languages are much much more similar than the semitic ones; My question was ''Do we have any accounts of the time saying this exact thing''?


1) Although if you'd ask the two roman sides what they think of each other as opposed to the germanic tribes let's say, they'd very likely say: ''ohh yeah that (the other roman) is definitely my kin (and I really like that), unlike that dirty barbarian... but he has to die because [Insert political-economic reason]''
 
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Sep 2015
1,711
Romania
Who would care?
I admit the term ''care'' was a bit confusing here. By care I meant ''consider them slightly better than the non-related barbarian'' or if not even that then at least admit the fact/emit a proto-scientific assessment about their common origins.

I'm struggling with the potential phrase 'I am a Greco-Roman'!
The greeks and romans. The non-barbarians basically.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
8,008
Cornwall
I admit the term ''care'' was a bit confusing here. By care I meant ''consider them slightly better than the non-related barbarian'' or if not even that then at least admit the fact/emit a proto-scientific assessment about their common origins.



The greeks and romans. The non-barbarians basically.
Honestly mate I don't think it's the sort of conversation that they would have engaged in back then.
 
Sep 2015
1,711
Romania
Honestly mate I don't think it's the sort of conversation that they would have engaged in back then.
Well, yeah, that's the case for most people but I was wonder if the intellectuals had something to say on this matter (if we have any sources of the time. Cesar was suggested, I'll give it a look).
 
Aug 2014
1,170
Portugal
Did the greco-romans realize they were related to the other indo-europeans when it comes to their culture, language and ancestrality?


I don't think Greeks and Romans realized they were linguistically related to Germanics or Indians.

In mythology humans were all related. For the greeks, some major mythological dynasties were even born from migrants from Africa (Danaus the founder of Argos and ancestor of Perseus and Heracles) and the Middle East (Cadmus founder of Thebes and Europa his sister).


Did it matter to them in any way?
The real and mythological relations were, and still are important. But I don't think they noticed any linguistic or cultural relation between them and other indo-european speaking people.

Probably for a Greek or Roman in 100 AD, a German or a Parthian would be more alien to them than an Egyptian, or an Arab.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
I'm struggling with the potential phrase 'I am a Greco-Roman'!
It tends to be one or the other as in the famous phrase, "Captive Greece took Rome captive". That is, Romanisation in the east was limited and it was more the case that Rome became more Hellenised through contact. Roman culture in the east was Hellenistic and this became fashionable in Rome. Fashionable Romans also liked to be able to speak Greek, they were afterall civilised.

Horace's actual line was "Captive Greece held captive her uncouth conqueror and brought the arts to the rustic Latin lands,". The Greeks obviously didn't think Rome as civilised as the romans thought the greeks were.

I'm pretty sure there were real greeks and pretend greeks (romans).
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,792
Eastern PA
I'm going to guess the relationship hierarchy of the vast majority of the world's population was:

1. Immediate and extended family
2. Clan/tribe/fellow villagers
3. People who lived less than a half days journey
4. People who lived more than a half day journey but spoke the same language
5. Exotic aliens
6. People who threatened security and safety.
 
Sep 2015
1,711
Romania
I'm going to guess the relationship hierarchy of the vast majority of the world's population was:

1. Immediate and extended family
2. Clan/tribe/fellow villagers
3. People who lived less than a half days journey
4. People who lived more than a half day journey but spoke the same language
5. Exotic aliens
6. People who threatened security and safety.

Yeah but my question refers to the intellectuals (Cesar was mentioned as having said exactly what I asked about, I'll check that out).

I have no doubt merchants, sailors and soldiers knew exactly what we know today (that the european languages as well as the anatolian and iranian brances are related) but do we have sources about this?