Fall of Roman Empire caused by rampant homosexuality

Dec 2011
2,118
#21
Let's say that historically Romans became almost really racist [in the modern sense]
NO. There was no concept of "race", as understood by us now, in Ancient Rome.

Let's be clear, most modern scientists do not accept that races (within humanity) actually exist. The idea of racial groups is a human concept. This idea arose only a few centuries ago.

The Romans did not have the concept of race. They certainly had the concepts of heiracrchies of humans, free-born and slaves, Roman citizens and non-Roman citizens, humiliores and honestiores, city dwellers and rustics, men and wome friend and foe. Such categorisations made ample opportunity for discrimination and boundless cruelty, which were exercised with great viciousness. But they were not racist.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,533
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#22
NO. There was no concept of "race", as understood by us now, in Ancient Rome.

Let's be clear, most modern scientists do not accept that races (within humanity) actually exist. The idea of racial groups is a human concept. This idea arose only a few centuries ago.

The Romans did not have the concept of race. They certainly had the concepts of heiracrchies of humans, free-born and slaves, Roman citizens and non-Roman citizens, humiliores and honestiores, city dwellers and rustics, men and wome friend and foe. Such categorisations made ample opportunity for discrimination and boundless cruelty, which were exercised with great viciousness. But they were not racist.
You're right, in fact I said that "racism" is modern as conceptualization, so in the ancient Roman context it's not correct [I would say impossible] to present it.

I said "almost" meaning that from our modern perspective we interprets ... [you know that semiotics say that the readers gives to the text the last meaning, sometime despite what the author intended!].
 
Dec 2014
14
Wichita, KS
#23
I would say that the fall of Rome was primarily due to environmental changes on the Asian steppes that produced mass migrations of peoples-- mainly the Huns, but also others-- into Roman Europe. On the other hand, one would expect that a stable Empire with a strong economy-- plus the concept of military logistics which enabled them to support large field armies-- would have enabled Rome to adapt. They had replaced their traditional infantry-centric army with a cavalry force, but even this was unable to stem the tide. Perhaps we need to look a bit further.

There's been speculation that since Roman water pipes were often made of lead, which causes brain damage, this could be a contributory cause of the Roman decline. I find it persuasive that cumulative brain damage due to lead poisoning may have rendered the Romans unable to make optimum use of their advantages vs the barbarians.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
#24
There's been speculation that since Roman water pipes were often made of lead, which causes brain damage, this could be a contributory cause of the Roman decline. I find it persuasive that cumulative brain damage due to lead poisoning may have rendered the Romans unable to make optimum use of their advantages vs the barbarians.
This theory doesn't hold a drop of water, so to speak. The average denizen of the Roman Empire probably went through his entire life without taking a sip of water from an aqueduct.
 
Jun 2013
205
Britain
#25
The Romans did not have the concept of race. They certainly had the concepts of heiracrchies of humans, free-born and slaves, Roman citizens and non-Roman citizens, humiliores and honestiores, city dwellers and rustics, men and wome friend and foe. Such categorisations made ample opportunity for discrimination and boundless cruelty, which were exercised with great viciousness. But they were not racist.
I agree, I'd say that Romans were more classicists than racists, their alien xenophobia more akin to Yamato Japanese xenophobia without any of the European cod science racist baggage (spewing their scorn on the Koreans, Chinese, and Ainu more because of their differing language/culture and being clan outsiders rather than their phenotypes).

What brought down the Western Roman Empire was that it seemed to be more strategically vulnerable than the Eastern Empire, it was left twisting in the wind by the Eastern Empire or even directly attacked by the Eastern Empire on various occasion, it shared a very long frontier with waves of Eurasian peoples who were catching up technologically with the Romans and growing politically, its standing armies were hollowed out, with the dying province of Britain spewing out internal Roman rebels - a perfect storm of civil wars, violent migrations, and political confusion/weakness brought it down within the century.
 
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Aug 2014
951
United States of America
#26
This kind of idea is so completely silly and backwards, and I am glad that it is mostly gone from discourse. At the very least I hope it leads to students of history questioning whether the Roman world even had the concept of homosexuality, or whether their concept of sexuality was different than our own, and therefore we moderns should not impose our own ideas on the past.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,533
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#27
Active and passive ...

This kind of idea is so completely silly and backwards, and I am glad that it is mostly gone from discourse. At the very least I hope it leads to students of history questioning whether the Roman world even had the concept of homosexuality, or whether their concept of sexuality was different than our own, and therefore we moderns should not impose our own ideas on the past.
In the mind of an Ancient Roman homosexuality connected with gender wasn't in the modern sense. They thought to active and passive roles, more than to male and female individuals.

We could also observe as, during the centuries, the Roman attitude towards sex between two individuals of the same genders changed.

Before Rome conquered Greece they saw it as a Greek vice and so they consider it with suspect.

After the conquest of Greece this "suspect" disappeared. In any case, I repeat that the matter was about passive and active role. In fact Roman citizens kept on considering wrong to have a passive role, but not an active role: Roman citizens accepted homosexual sex only if they had the active role [it's about Roman virility ...].
 
Aug 2014
951
United States of America
#30
There's been speculation that since Roman water pipes were often made of lead, which causes brain damage, this could be a contributory cause of the Roman decline. I find it persuasive that cumulative brain damage due to lead poisoning may have rendered the Romans unable to make optimum use of their advantages vs the barbarians.
This makes so little sense for so many reasons. If lead poisoning was any kind of factor, why did it take so long? If the answer is accumulation of brain damage, then what scientific evidence supports this theory (e.g., comparison of lead poisoning levels in Romans from the late Empire vice early Empire)?
 
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