Which empire had the greatest cultural and social impact on its conquered lands?

Which empire had the greatest cultural and social impact on its conquered lands?


  • Total voters
    72
Mar 2016
1,079
Australia
#1
I suppose you can interpret 'greatest' in whichever way you'd prefer, be that in the sheer scope of its impact and the long-lasting effects, or whether it was an overall positive and constructive development.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,858
SoCal
#2
I voted for the British Empire due to the spread of the English language worldwide as well as the spread of Anglo-American ideas of democracy and human rights to large parts of the world.

I will admit that I don't know anywhere near as much about the cultural and social impact of the first two empires in your poll here on their subject populations, though.
 
Mar 2019
875
Kansas
#5
I'd have to give it to the Romans. For generations after their fall, European Kingship took inspiration from the reign of the Caesars. Rome's art was a huge driving force behind the Renaissance. Go all the way to the aftermath of the American Revolution and we see shadows of Rome in the government they established.
More importantly the Romans did not give the world cricket :)
 
Feb 2019
456
Serbia
#9
I vote for the Romans, there is no denying the significance of the British Empire but I think that Rome influenced more. Languages derived from Latin, cultural changes, art, philosophy, the political and legal systems to name a few Roman influences are largely the foundations of western society that influenced all who came after it to the biggest colonial empires to the small city-states. It is also telling that over 1000 years after Rome fell European monarchs were heavily inspired by it and tried to imitate the emperors and leaders of Rome. On the other hand, the Macedonian Empire, what was their long-term influence? The Hellenized territories they created existed for a relatively short time when compared to Rome and what of their legal, philosophical, political and cultural legacy survived through the ages and influenced so much as Rome or Britain did.
 
Mar 2018
713
UK
#10
I can, with some imagination and large margins of error, guess what India would be like had the British never colonised it. I'm drawing a complete blank trying to picture what France/Gaul or Spain/Hispania would look like now (or even in 500AD) without the Romans. It doesn't even make sense to talk about such a thing as Gaul in this scenario.

Sure, the Brits had a large influence, but I don't see how it even compares. This is enirely unsurprising, the Romans had an empire for a hell of a lot longer, and (in many areas) had less local culture to displace in order to impose there own. But honestly, in 500 AD, the Gauls owed their entire language, art, religion and societal organisation to the Romans. There is very little of the prior Gaulish-Celtic culture left to point at. In 2019 AD, the Indians owe one of their languages, their unification and some infrastructure to the British. But the religions haven't changed, the old languages are still there, remnants of the caste system are present, and the art is completely different to the UK. I don't see how the two cases are even in the same ballpark.

What might be in the same ballpark is the influence the Brits had on the US or Australia. That's the level of change and influence we're talking about. But most of the size/growth of the USA happened after the British left (and is therefore can only be partly attributed to them) and Australia was always a very minor part of the Empire. The British generally kept some local structure present and ruled from above while collecting some of the wealth and lightly spreading British cultures and inventions. The Romans had the time to, in the vast majority of their territories, make them thoroughly Roman. I'd even say that the Romans did a better job of Romanising North Africa, than the English did in Wales.
 

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