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Thread: How did the ancient Romans turn into Italians ?

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    2 out of 4 members found this post helpful.

    How did the ancient Romans turn into Italians ?



    One of the great mysteries of European history in my eyes is the complete reversal in character between the ancient Romans and medieval or modern Italians.

    The Romans were very organised, disciplined, serious, rather stern and stoic, military-minded, cared little about family ties (they frequently adopted people unrelated to them or murdered their blood relatives), and were unusually ready to sacrifice themselves for the common good of their nation (as legionaries).

    The Italians are just the opposite in all these respects. They are possibly the least organised Europeans, among the least disciplined. They are fun-loving hedonists. They have made terrible soldiers ever since the Middle Ages (Italians haven't won a single foreign battle in history, except in Libya and Ethiopia where their army far outnumbered the locals in number and fire power). Italians attach a lot of importance to family relations, and often place loyalty to family and friends above that of society or the whole nation. One of the main problems of modern Italy is tax fraud, because people don't feel enough solidarity with other Italians.

    Many character traits are highly inheritable. Cats don't make dogs or vice versa. So how is it possible that modern Italians descend from ancient Romans ?

    The character traits of modern Italians listed above are far more exacerbated in the southern half of Italy. This is all the more surprising since the ancient Latins originated in the coastal area between Rome and Naples. Since Rome was flooded with immigrants from all over the empire, chances are that the Roman genes survived better in Neapolitans. The region was heavily settled by rich Romans, who had holiday homes in what they called the Campania Felix. Campania was even part of the same province as Rome, the Regio I Latium et Campania. Some Roman emperors were more often in Capri than in Rome itself.

    This made me wonder how much DNA from the ancient Latins, the patricians of the Roman Republic, survive in modern Italians. Ironically the temperament and values of the ancient Romans were closer to that of modern Swiss or Germans than to that of Italians. Yet it is hard to think of two European cultures more diametrically opposite as the Swiss/Germans and the Italians, especially if we look only at the Neapolitans or southern Italians.

    EDIT:

    In his book The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, the American political scientist Edward Banfield employed the phrase 'amoral familism' to describe the inability of modern (mostly southern) Italian villagers to 'act together for the common good, or indeed for any good transcending the immediate material interest of the family'. Interestingly this complete lack of attachment to the state and lack of identification to the wider community is found nowadays in societies that I would qualify of 'short-ranged collectivist' (in which the collectivity is the family or village) of the Balkans and southern Italy, as opposed to the 'wide-range collectivism' (where the collectivity is the whole nation) of East Asia.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 25-07-13 at 14:33.
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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    First off, I do think you are exaggerating somewhat on the Italian attitudes. Be that as it is, I think it should be pointed out that between the destruction of the Ostrogothic Kingdom by the Byzantines (6th century AD) and the Italian Unification (19th century), no unified Italian state existed. I would blame a lot of the changes on this. The short-lived Byzantine reconquest also could be blamed, as it effectively destroyed any potential for a distinctly "Italian" Germanic successor state in Italy, which in turn happened in Gaul (Franks) and Spain (Visigoths). I would also disagree on the statement that Italians are horrible at war: in this intermediate period, individual Italian states were very well able to wage war on one another, and the Italians were equally able to wage war against Austria-Hungary during their unification.

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    Interesting question. Also the roman architecture was cool and technocratic as well as the latin language.
    What also is interesting is that the "Barbarians" like Celts and Germanics were the opposite as well back then: unorganized, chaotic, drunken and wild, although brave and vital and sometimes admired by some Romans. Not quite the same as today Italians, but similarly anarchistic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Be that as it is, I think it should be pointed out that between the destruction of the Ostrogothic Kingdom by the Byzantines (6th century AD) and the Italian Unification (19th century), no unified Italian state existed. I would blame a lot of the changes on this. The short-lived Byzantine reconquest also could be blamed, as it effectively destroyed any potential for a distinctly "Italian" Germanic successor state in Italy, which in turn happened in Gaul (Franks) and Spain (Visigoths).
    Apart from the change in attitude towards the loyalty to the state, I don't see how it could have affected the Italian character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I would also disagree on the statement that Italians are horrible at war: in this intermediate period, individual Italian states were very well able to wage war on one another, and the Italians were equally able to wage war against Austria-Hungary during their unification.
    How can you judge a nation's talent for military strategy or discipline if they are fighting between themselves ?

    As for fighting Austro-Hungary, Italy never won a single battle, even when they were fighting at 10 against one . It is either the Prussians and especially the French (thanks to Napoleon III's dream of unifying Italy) who defeated the Austrians and gave Austrian possessions to Piedmont.

    The same happened in WWII. Italy lost on every front. They lost in Greece and needed to be rescued by the Germans. They lost in Egypt against the Brits and needed to be rescued by the Germans. Etcetera.

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    2 out of 4 members found this post helpful.
    Near Eastern slave blood?

    Y DNA studies of Italy give some support for this.

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    3 out of 4 members found this post helpful.
    Same can be said of germanics, but the other way around, how did they turn out from being chaotic barbarians to organized and civilized ? Nations can change with time. Anways, I think you are exaggerating and going by stereotypes. Italians are still an organized and rich country.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    What about immigration?
    If Rome was the economic super power of its day it would have been a mecca for economic migrates, just as the US is today.
    Also is there not a massive north/south divide in culture and genetics in Italy?

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    0 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    Same can be said of germanics, but the other way around, how did they turn out from being chaotic barbarians to organized and civilized ?
    Concepts of the 'barbarians' being a wild simple people is exaggerated as most sources describing them that exist today are from the Roman side. Non-roman Europe was far more developed than is made out, the Roman's didn't land in a space craft and didn't exist is some kind of bubble of isolation pre empire.

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    I wonder what the effect of the Papal States, and the center of Christendom did to the character of the Italians. This is the only big shift in ideology. IDK how, but it's worth a moment of contemplation.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    @Maciamo,
    I don’t personally give too much weight to stereotypes.

    Truly, I don't think that Tacitus was correct when he wrote that the Germanic peoples were all slothful, drunken savages, although he did find admirable things in them. There is a decided touch of a Rousseau like “Noble Savage” approach to his thinking about them. Nor do I agree, of course, with the description of the Celts as drunken, naked madmen with absolutely no discipline, whose forces fell apart at the first hint of reverses.


    If I were that sort of person, and wanted to engage in stereotyping, I might be tempted to repeat the slurs that all the Germanic peoples are humorless, passionless, cold, predictable, slow thinking, racist, petty-fogging record keepers. Now, that wouldn’t be an accurate representation would it?


    Neither would I ever subscribe to the thinking popular in the decades after World War II that held that there was something fundamentally wrong with the German culture and personality. In fact, I remember reading such an article, called “What is Wrong With The Germans?” Someone prone to that kind of thinking and susceptible to that argument might respond that the problem with them, and the Russians, is that they are the Europeans who were least subject to the civilizing power of Rome. Of course, I’m not one of them.


    For anyone interested in a modern take on this line of thinking, there is, of course, the relatively recent book, “ Hitler’s Willing Executioners.” Also, for a discussion of the particular appeal of authoritarianism in Germany, see also, http://www.press.umich.edu/23269/soc...many_1870_1930


    @Vallicnus,
    I’ll also respond, in good humor, I trust, to the, with all due respect, rather predictable comments about Italian military capability and “slavery” in the Roman empire.

    I’m a bit perplexed as to why good military strategy suddenly isn’t good military strategy and ability when it’s leveled against one’s own country men, but I won't belabor the point, and therefore, I won’t consider the tactics employed by German commanders during the Thirty Years War, either.


    Does military prowess against other Europeans count? Since the discussion touched upon the Renaissance era, then perhaps one might consider Piero Strozzi.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piero_Strozzi#References

    Or against the Ottomans? I rather think we Europeans might now all be practicing Islam were it not for the Battle of Lepanto.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Doria
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lepanto
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_...rder_of_battle

    Leone Stozzi did his bit too as commander of the Galleys of the Knights of St. John.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leone_Strozzi

    Then, I believe World War I was mentioned, that totally senseless butchery of a whole generation of European men. Do the Austrians count as Germans? Or were there too many eastern Europeans among them?

    See Battle of Vittorio Veneto:

    "By October 1918, Italy finally had enough soldiers to mount an offensive. The attack targeted Vittorio Veneto, across the Piave. The Italian Army broke through a gap near Sacile and poured in reinforcements that crushed the Austrian defensive line. On 3 November, 300,000 Austrian soldiers surrendered.


    The Battle of Vittorio Veneto heralded the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective fighting force, and also triggered the disintegration of Austria-Hungary. During the last week of October, declarations made in Budapest, Prague, and Zagreb proclaimed the independence of their respective parts of the old empire. On October 29, the imperial authorities asked Italy for an armistice, but the Italians continued to advance, reaching Trento, Udine, and Trieste."


    Oh, wait…I forgot my compatriot, whose paternal line comes from a hamlet across the river from where I was born, and whose mother’s family were Ligurians…Napoleone Buonaparte… who spoke French with a Corsican accent until the day he died.

    Or are we going to quibble that he was born in Corsica?


    Of course, if you fight long enough, and against enough countries, and your opposing general has studied your strategy for long enough, you can ultimately lose.


    As for “slavery” and the impact on the Italian genome…where to begin? For one thing, slaves were shipped to every part of the empire. For another, I always find it interesting that people who raise this issue often seem to focus only on slaves from the Middle East or North Africa, when so many thousands of Celts and “Germani” were enslaved by the Romans. I’ve seen an estimate that one third of the population of Gaul was enslaved during the Gallic Wars. That may be an exaggeration, of course, but it’s pretty clear that Caesar’s fortune was mainly derived from the sale of Gaulish slaves.


    Regardless of where the Roman slaves came from, if the latest IBD studies are correct, the Italian genome has experienced minimum inflow from other groups since around 500 B.C. (See Ralph and Coop et al), so it doesn’t seem that these Roman slaves, or the slaves bought in the Crimea during the medieval era, for that matter, had all that much influence. I’d be more than interested in knowingthe specific y dna sub clades that can be precisely pinpointed as “slave” lineages, versus, say, Roman legionnaires recruited in far flung parts of the empire, including, of course, Gaul and Germania.

    It appears that perhaps laboring in the galleys or the mines or as virtual farm animals on vast latifundias didn’t leave much time for procreating. There were women slaves also, of course, but it seems that many ended up in brothels…the number of such establishments in a small town like Pompeii is rather astounding…and, as some recent discoveries around a brothel in Britain show, the progeny of slaves were not exactly valued. Slavery is a brutal, inhuman business, no matter who is the master.


    As for the fact that our written records of these peoples are by either Romans or Greeks, it could hardly be otherwise; the Gauls and Germani were illiterate. For an analysis of the interaction between the Gauls and the Romans, a book that will soon be available from the Cambridge Classics Series, “Southern Gaul and the Mediterranean: Multilingualism and Multiple Identities in the Iron Age and Roman Periods”, looks as if it will be both interesting and nuanced.
    Last edited by Angela; 22-07-13 at 19:01. Reason: To clarify the identity of the poster being addressed-as per Maciamo's request

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    some very very silly remarks about the military from some.
    Just to let you know Venice defeated the mighty germanic habsburgs in 1508 and never lost a war against them. The best the habsburg got was a drawn out war of Gradisca 1614-1618.
    In 1508
    In 1507, Julius (Pope) returned to the question of the cities in Venetian hands; once again rebuffed by the Senate, he encouraged the recently elected Emperor Maximilian I to attack the Republic. Maximilian, using his journey to Rome for the Imperial coronation as a pretext, entered Venetian territory with a large army in February 1508 and advanced on Vicenza, but was defeated by a Venetian army under Bartolomeo d'Alviano. A second assault by a Tyrolean force several weeks later was an even greater failure; Alviano not only routed the Imperial army but also proceeded to seize Trieste and Fiume, forcing Maximilian to conclude a truce with Venice.[8]
    The peace was signed for 3 years, a pact that Maximilian broke in 1509............you cannot even trust the HRE!!

    Another......war of Lepanto against the Ottomans
    208 Christian ships of which 110 where Venetian ships ( 55% ) , ONLY 12 Spanish ships and the rest other Italians defeated the mighty Ottomans


    do I need to give more......maybe Francesco Morosini or Girolamo Cornaro adventures

    The issue is Italians never fought for each other and never will fight for each other...........its far better if the country became a confederation of Italian states.........it WILL work better
    Last edited by zanipolo; 22-07-13 at 11:29.
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    1 out of 4 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    Same can be said of germanics, but the other way around, how did they turn out from being chaotic barbarians to organized and civilized ? Nations can change with time.
    Ancient Rome was a civilization, with a state, a citizenship, a capital, laws, and so on. Germanic and Celtic tribes had not yet reached the development stage of civilization. You cannot compare the two anymore than you could compare the maturity of a child and an adult. Celtic and Germanic societies have since reached adulthood, so now we can compare them more fairly with Italy.

    Anways, I think you are exaggerating and going by stereotypes. Italians are still an organized and rich country.
    There is little relation between wealth and organisation. The ancient Celts were utterly disorganised and tribal, yet extremely rich (far richer than the Romans until the conquest of Gaul by Caesar). In contrast the Chinese have always been a very organised nation, but that did not prevent them to face the most abject poverty and starvation of millions under Mao Zedong.

    Like most Italians I do not regard Italy as a united culture or nation. Italy became a country by accident. Lombards and Venetians share precious little in common with Campanians or Sicilans. Even Tuscans contrast harply with the people of the Marches just across the Apennines.

    If North Italy (or Padania as the Lega Nord calls it) were an independent country it would be the richest country in the EU after Luxembourg. So there is no denying that at least half of Italy is very rich. That doesn't make Italians, even Northerners, organised, disciplined, self-restrained and punctual people. How can you not see that wealth has nothing to do with organisation ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    What about immigration?
    If Rome was the economic super power of its day it would have been a mecca for economic migrates, just as the US is today.
    Also is there not a massive north/south divide in culture and genetics in Italy?
    Immigration surely changed completely the population of Rome and most of the Latium. But it wouldn't have changed all Italy. Perhaps the problem is that the ancient Roman patricians really were different from the other ancient peoples of Italy, and that their DNA became diluted in the huge mass of immigrants already towards the end of the Roman Empire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebAmerican View Post
    I wonder what the effect of the Papal States, and the center of Christendom did to the character of the Italians. This is the only big shift in ideology. IDK how, but it's worth a moment of contemplation.
    Doubtful. The Piedmontese liberals (like Cavour) who unified Italy in the 1860's were quite anti-clerical. Actually Italian unification turned into a struggle against the Pope, who wouldn't recognised Italy as a state even after the annexation of Rome. Leo XIII went as far as to proclaim that any Catholic who voted at the national elections in Italy would be excommunicated. Until the dictatorship of Mussolini the Roman Catholic Church was always the Italian state. That is why anti-clerical liberals dominated Italian politics fro the 1860's to the early 1900's, when anti-clerical socialists and communists threatened to take over the country. The political ban imposed by the Church on Catholics effectively led to the rise of fascism. Rich Italians only supported Mussolini because they were afraid that the communists would stage a revolution like in Russia. That's why they gradually suppressed political liberties and instated Mussolini as a dictator.

    After WWII, the Catholic Church understood its mistake and lifted the ban. As a result the christian democrats stayed in power for the five decades after 1945. The only person who was able to defeat them was Berlusconi thanks to its media empire and support from the Mafia.

    All this to say that many Italians are not big fans of the Catholic Church. In the Renaissance the Papal States waged wars like any other state. Religion didn't make popes less avid of conquest and political schemes. The Borgia, della Rovere and Piccolomini, who each provided two popes in the 16th century, were no better than other bloodthirsty Italian dukes, using the methods of mafia bosses. So perhaps you are right after all. The Church did shape the modern Italian character... by setting a bad example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Doubtful. The Piedmontese liberals (like Cavour) who unified Italy in the 1860's were quite anti-clerical. Actually Italian unification turned into a struggle against the Pope, who wouldn't recognised Italy as a state even after the annexation of Rome. Leo XIII went as far as to proclaim that any Catholic who voted at the national elections in Italy would be excommunicated. Until the dictatorship of Mussolini the Roman Catholic Church was always the Italian state. That is why anti-clerical liberals dominated Italian politics fro the 1860's to the early 1900's, when anti-clerical socialists and communists threatened to take over the country. The political ban imposed by the Church on Catholics effectively led to the rise of fascism. Rich Italians only supported Mussolini because they were afraid that the communists would stage a revolution like in Russia. That's why they gradually suppressed political liberties and instated Mussolini as a dictator.

    After WWII, the Catholic Church understood its mistake and lifted the ban. As a result the christian democrats stayed in power for the five decades after 1945. The only person who was able to defeat them was Berlusconi thanks to its media empire and support from the Mafia.

    All this to say that many Italians are not big fans of the Catholic Church. In the Renaissance the Papal States waged wars like any other state. Religion didn't make popes less avid of conquest and political schemes. The Borgia, della Rovere and Piccolomini, who each provided two popes in the 16th century, were no better than other bloodthirsty Italian dukes, using the methods of mafia bosses. So perhaps you are right after all. The Church did shape the modern Italian character... by setting a bad example.
    And the Risorgimento was to force the foreigners out of Italy and not to make an italy. Foreigners have been in Italy since 1494.
    Cavour wanted the north for the monarch, the centre for the pope and the south for the bourbons.

    Garibaldi wanted one Italy, no king, no church.

    the church wanted no Italy, and a division as was at the peace of Lodi in 1453.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I don’t personally give too much weight to stereotypes.

    Truly, I don't think that Tacitus was correct when he wrote that the Germanic peoples were all slothful, drunken savages, although he did find admirable things in them. There is a decided touch of a Rousseau like “Noble Savage” approach to his thinking about them. Nor do I agree, of course, with the description of the Celts as drunken, naked madmen with absolutely no discipline, whose forces fell apart at the first hint of reverses.
    Some stereotypes have truth in them. There are academics conscientiously studying and comparing cultures. Unfortunately the ancient Romans didn't know anything about that. Their description of foreigners was essentially self-congratulatory propaganda. No Roman writer was ever an anthropologist, and no Roman writer ever went to live with Germanic tribes to learn their language, culture and lifestyle. Nowadays we can make much more reliable comparisons between cultures. Just mentioning ancient stereotypes in this thread makes my blood boil. It's enough for me to know that you will never understand what I mean. Like talking to a wall.


    If I were that sort of person, and wanted to engage in stereotyping, I might be tempted to repeat the slurs that all the Germanic peoples are humorless, passionless, cold, predictable, slow thinking, racist, petty-fogging record keepers. Now, that wouldn’t be an accurate representation would it?
    Those are all quite negative traits of character. I don't know why you'd want to be so biased in reaction to what I wrote when I was describing the Italians as fun-loving (in contrast with the stern and cruel Romans). Anyway you could agree with me that the adjectives you choose to describe the Germans could never reasonable apply to the Italians, whether Northerners of Southerners. Likewise the adjectives I chose to describe the ancient Romans couldn't apply to modern Italians or vice versa. That proves there is a truth in them.

    Or against the Ottomans? I rather think we Europeans might now all be practicing Islam were it not for the Battle of Lepanto.
    But the Italians didn't fight the Ottomans by themselves at Lepanto ! They were allied to the Habsburg who were the principal force fighting the Ottomans. In short, the Pope asked the Habsburg to come to the rescue of the Venetians who were being besieged (and losing) in Cyprus. Of the 28,500 soldiers fighting for the Holy League at Lepanto, 8,000 were Spanish, 5,000 were German, 11,500 were Italian, and 4,000 were assorted mercenaries. The commander in chief of this army was John of Austria.

    My point was that Italians never won a single foreign battle on their own (apart from Libya and Ethiopia, which have no merit as they greatly outnumbered the locals and defeated them using vastly superior weapons).

    Leone Stozzi did his bit too as commander of the Galleys of the Knights of St. John.
    You really have to scrape the bottom of history books to find a few Italian military leaders that could be praiseworthy. Frankly who remembers Leone Stozzi ? What are his achievements ?


    Then, I believe World War I was mentioned, that totally senseless butchery of a whole generation of European men. Do the Austrians count as Germans? Or were there too many eastern Europeans among them?

    See Battle of Vittorio Veneto:

    "By October 1918, Italy finally had enough soldiers to mount an offensive. The attack targeted Vittorio Veneto, across the Piave. The Italian Army broke through a gap near Sacile and poured in reinforcements that crushed the Austrian defensive line. On 3 November, 300,000 Austrian soldiers surrendered.


    The Battle of Vittorio Veneto heralded the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective fighting force, and also triggered the disintegration of Austria-Hungary. During the last week of October, declarations made in Budapest, Prague, and Zagreb proclaimed the independence of their respective parts of the old empire. On October 29, the imperial authorities asked Italy for an armistice, but the Italians continued to advance, reaching Trento, Udine, and Trieste."
    It would be more intellectually honest to place the Battle of Vittorio Veneto into context. It followed the disastrous Battle of Caporetto, in which the Italian army, despite its numerical advantage, was spectacularly defeated by the Germans and Austrians. The Italians suffered 40,000 casualties. However, more tellingly, 265,000 Italians were taken prisoners (by an Austro-German army of 280,000 still alive, so nearly one prisoner per victor) and according to David Gilmour in his history of Italy, "350,000 deserted, disappearing into the hills and attempting to find their way home."

    The Battle of Vittorio Veneto, in November 1918, is often hailed as the greatest of all time in Italian history and is claimed by Italians to have led to the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Emire. However, as David Gilmour explains, "In fact it was achieved with the support of French and British units at a time when the Germans were already beaten, the empire was already dissolving, and the Viennese government was seeking an armistice."

    This reminds me of how the Italians changed side in the middle of both World Wars. How honourable and satisfying is it to betray your former allies and defeat them when they are already on their knees and seeking armistice ? In 1940 Italy had insisted on staying neutral when Hitler declared war on France and Britain, only to change mind and declare war on France in June, two months after the French had already surrendered. How brave indeed.


    Oh, wait…I forgot my compatriot, whose paternal line comes from a hamlet across the river from where I was born, and whose mother’s family were Ligurians…Napoleone Buonaparte… who spoke French with a Corsican accent until the day he died.

    Or are we going to quibble that he was born in Corsica?
    He was a French speaker, born in France, educated in a military school in Champagne, and fought with an army of French soldiers, not Italian ones. The problem Italians had fighting wars, esp. since the Risorgimento, was that Italian soldiers were cowards who deserted or surrendered at the first occasion.

    As for “slavery” and the impact on the Italian genome…where to begin? For one thing, slaves were shipped to every part of the empire. For another, I always find it interesting that people who raise this issue often seem to focus only on slaves from the Middle East or North Africa, when so many thousands of Celts and “Germani” were enslaved by the Romans. I’ve seen an estimate that one third of the population of Gaul was enslaved during the Gallic Wars. That may be an exaggeration, of course, but it’s pretty clear that Caesar’s fortune was mainly derived from the sale of Gaulish slaves.

    Regardless of where the Roman slaves came from, if the latest IBD studies are correct, the Italian genome has experienced minimum inflow from other groups since around 500 B.C. (See Ralph and Coop et al), so it doesn’t seem that these Roman slaves, or the slaves bought in the Crimea during the medieval era, for that matter, had all that much influence. I’d be more than interested in knowingthe specific y dna sub clades that can be precisely pinpointed as “slave” lineages, versus, say, Roman legionnaires recruited in far flung parts of the empire, including, of course, Gaul and Germania.

    It appears that perhaps laboring in the galleys or the mines or as virtual farm animals on vast latifundias didn’t leave much time for procreating. There were women slaves also, of course, but it seems that many ended up in brothels…the number of such establishments in a small town like Pompeii is rather astounding…and, as some recent discoveries around a brothel in Britain show, the progeny of slaves were not exactly valued. Slavery is a brutal, inhuman business, no matter who is the master.

    As for the fact that our written records of these peoples are by either Romans or Greeks, it could hardly be otherwise; the Gauls and Germani were illiterate. For an analysis of the interaction between the Gauls and the Romans, a book that will soon be available from the Cambridge Classics Series, “Southern Gaul and the Mediterranean: Multilingualism and Multiple Identities in the Iron Age and Roman Periods”, looks as if it will be both interesting and nuanced.
    I would appreciate if you did not mix your replies to me and your replies to other forum members. Please quote people and reply in separate posts. I never mentioned slaves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zanipolo View Post
    And the Risorgimento was to force the foreigners out of Italy and not to make an italy. Foreigners have been in Italy since 1494.
    The Risorgimento was the process of Italian unification. Of course it meant kicking foreign powers out of the peninsula. That's the same thing.

    Cavour wanted the north for the monarch, the centre for the pope and the south for the bourbons.
    Cavour was the chief instigator of a single unified Italy under the House of Savoy. It is under Cavour that the Kingdom of Naples and most of the Papal States (everything but the Latium) was annexed to Piedmont. He died soon afterwards, but fervently wanted to annex Rome too. Cavour was utterly anti-clerical, so how could he have wished for the independence of the Papal States ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post


    But the Italians didn't fight the Ottomans by themselves at Lepanto ! They were allied to the Habsburg who were the principal force fighting the Ottomans. In short, the Pope asked the Habsburg to come to the rescue of the Venetians who were being besieged (and losing) in Cyprus. Of the 28,500 soldiers fighting for the Holy League at Lepanto, 8,000 were Spanish, 5,000 were German, 11,500 were Italian, and 4,000 were assorted mercenaries. The commander in chief of this army was John of Austria.

    My point was that Italians never won a single foreign battle on their own (apart from Libya and Ethiopia, which have no merit as they greatly outnumbered the locals and defeated them using vastly superior weapons).


    you are wrong, while all navies had slaves for oarsmen, venice employed fighting soldiers as oarsmen, like the vikings, so if we take a minimum of 160 oars , small galley( there where many 200 oared ships, medium galley) and multiply by the 110 venetian ships at lepanto you get 17600 extra fighting men, plus the 6 galleassas which each had 400 men = 20000 men..........plus the other 60 on each ship which did not oar and where the musketeers and cannoneers = 7600

    grand total of 27600 venetian fighting men and then add the other italians ...........the habsburg ONLY sent 12 ships........search all records you like

    EDIT ...I was wrong, it was not 12 spanish ships it was 14

    Vessels had been contributed by the various Christian states: 109 galleys and 6 galleasses from the Republic of Venice, 56 from the Spanish Empire (32 galleys from the Kingdom of Naples, 14 galleys from Spain, and 10 galleys from the Kingdom of Sicily), 7 galleys from the Pope, 27 galleys from the Republic of Genoa (partly financed by Spain), 3 galleys of the Order of Saint Stephen from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 3 galleys each from the Duchy of Savoy and the Knights of Malta,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The Risorgimento was the process of Italian unification. Of course it meant kicking foreign powers out of the peninsula. That's the same thing.
    It was not for the creation of Italy for the whole peninsula.........nobody wanted that except Garibaldi and then the Italians stabbed him in the back by ceding his birthplace NICE to France while he was still alive. Nice was always "Italian" owned.

    Cavour was the chief instigator of a single unified Italy under the House of Savoy. It is under Cavour that the Kingdom of Naples and most of the Papal States (everything but the Latium) was annexed to Piedmont. He died soon afterwards, but fervently wanted to annex Rome too. Cavour was utterly anti-clerical, so how could he have wished for the independence of the Papal States ?
    He was poisoned 3 days after the event. He only wanted the north for the monarchy. he did not care about the rest, he was not going to stop the Pope to take the centre.
    The Pope did not want an Italy , which is why they did not recognise Italy until 1922 under Mussolini

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    Quote Originally Posted by zanipolo View Post
    you are wrong, while all navies had slaves for oarsmen, venice employed fighting soldiers as oarsmen, like the vikings, so if we take a minimum of 160 oars , small galley( there where many 200 oared ships, medium galley) and multiply by the 110 venetian ships at lepanto you get 17600 extra fighting men, plus the 6 galleassas which each had 400 men = 20000 men..........plus the other 60 on each ship which did not oar and where the musketeers and cannoneers = 7600

    grand total of 27600 venetian fighting men and then add the other italians ...........the habsburg ONLY sent 12 ships........search all records you like

    EDIT ...I was wrong, it was not 12 spanish ships it was 14

    Vessels had been contributed by the various Christian states: 109 galleys and 6 galleasses from the Republic of Venice, 56 from the Spanish Empire (32 galleys from the Kingdom of Naples, 14 galleys from Spain, and 10 galleys from the Kingdom of Sicily), 7 galleys from the Pope, 27 galleys from the Republic of Genoa (partly financed by Spain), 3 galleys of the Order of Saint Stephen from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 3 galleys each from the Duchy of Savoy and the Knights of Malta,
    I wasn't there to count, but anyway it wasn't a single-handed Italian victory, and you'd be hard-pressed to cite many others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Ancient Rome was a civilization, with a state, a citizenship, a capital, laws, and so on. Germanic and Celtic tribes had not yet reached the development stage of civilization. You cannot compare the two anymore than you could compare the maturity of a child and an adult. Celtic and Germanic societies have since reached adulthood, so now we can compare them more fairly with Italy.



    There is little relation between wealth and organisation. The ancient Celts were utterly disorganised and tribal, yet extremely rich (far richer than the Romans until the conquest of Gaul by Caesar). In contrast the Chinese have always been a very organised nation, but that did not prevent them to face the most abject poverty and starvation of millions under Mao Zedong.

    Like most Italians I do not regard Italy as a united culture or nation. Italy became a country by accident. Lombards and Venetians share precious little in common with Campanians or Sicilans. Even Tuscans contrast harply with the people of the Marches just across the Apennines.

    If North Italy (or Padania as the Lega Nord calls it) were an independent country it would be the richest country in the EU after Luxembourg. So there is no denying that at least half of Italy is very rich. That doesn't make Italians, even Northerners, organised, disciplined, self-restrained and punctual people. How can you not see that wealth has nothing to do with organisation ?
    When did I say that ?? I said ancient germanics were chaotic and barbarian (not mentioned their wealth) and that modern Italians are rich AND still a organised country (not relating the two, it's a conjuction...). A disorganised country would be Zimbabwe (to say somthing) but not ITALY..

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    When did I say that ?? I said ancient germanics were chaotic and barbarian (not mentioned their wealth) and that modern Italians are rich AND still a organised country (not relating the two, it's a conjuction...). A disorganised country would be Zimbabwe (to say somthing) but not ITALY..
    You jest.
    Italy has a shrinking economy, 40pc youth unemployment and the most incompetent politicians outside Zimbabwe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    When did I say that ?? I said ancient germanics were chaotic and barbarian (not mentioned their wealth) and that modern Italians are rich AND still a organised country (not relating the two, it's a conjuction...).
    Then why do you say that Italy is "still an organized and rich country." Why mention the "rich" ? I never said they were poor.

    A disorganised country would be Zimbabwe (to say somthing) but not ITALY..
    I am not just talking about the political system (which is disorganised), but society in general. Just look at the way traffic is in Italy. It's not organised by any northern European standard.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The Romans were very organised, disciplined, serious, rather stern and stoic, military-minded, cared little about family ties (they frequently adopted people unrelated to them or murdered their blood relatives), and were unusually ready to sacrifice themselves for the common good of their nation (as legionaries).
    in the USA Most Italians i think are Sicilian. Also their most known for the mafia. One of my teachers half Italian says in school 1950's he was a trouble maker and teachers saw him as another crazy Italian. Italians in urban areas of america i think are most know for crime. I always thought the Italian mafias where like ancient Rome they where disciplined, professional, violent, and cold. Unlike street gangs their connected to high places so they don't exactly fit the idea of Italians being wild and unorganized. I dont know i always saw Italian Mafi's being like ancient Rome but of course their probably are no culturally connection just random they turned out similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The Italians are just the opposite in all these respects. They are possibly the least organised Europeans, among the least disciplined. They are fun-loving hedonists. They have made terrible soldiers ever since the Middle Ages (Italians haven't won a single foreign battle in history, except in Libya and Ethiopia where their army far outnumbered the locals in number and fire power). Italians attach a lot of importance to family relations, and often place loyalty to family and friends above that of society or the whole nation. One of the main problems of modern Italy is tax fraud, because people don't feel enough solidarity with other Italians.
    i think u kind of exaggerated the character of modern Italians and ancient Romans. I dont think we can explain it look how different the american character today it to what it was 100 years ago. alot of stuff can change in a people group culturally so quickly it is very hard to understand why when there are not alot of records. When Rome was constantly invaded by Germans and Huns then finally conquered on the western area where Italy is Italy i think just lost their power and roman pride.

    Italy was no longer the most powerful or advanced area in Europe. The Germans in a way took there spot they started most of the kingdoms in medieval western Europe after conquering the western roman empire. The Germans left their old culture and started very advanced civilization that dominated Europe till like the 1400's. Then the Spanish and Portuguese became powerful in the 1400-1700's England became powerful, Russia, Germany Italy was left out. I think so much has changed in Italy today culturally and politically from ancient Rome of course there going to be almost nothing like the Romans by the way they act.

    well i dont know how true this is or what its history is. But i have noticed a romance type of charcter in Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy i dont know how to explain it but all those areas speak a Latin language and where apart of the roman empire. I have always noticed bug similates between them maybe it goes back to Rome but character and culture in people changes alot after 2,000 years. I dont think Rome was as serious as u say. I agree that the traditional roman going back to Italic tribes tradition like in 700bc was suppose to be serious, tough, discplined, good moral's, and live a simple life unlike Greeks. I was looking at these books written by Romans saying the Germanic tribes fit alot of their ideas of a good roman because they where not influenced by Greek civilization.

    Cato the elder is probably the best example of a traditional Roman he fit almost every single one of the traits and he absolutely hated Greece. The fact that Romans said they did not like Greek influence and their idea of a real roman was a simple farmer shows they still had Italic tribe traditions going back to Villnovaen culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Many character traits are highly inheritable. Cat don't make dogs or vice versa. So how is it possible that modern Italians descend from ancient Romans ?
    there is no doubt modern Italians descend from Romans i guarantee u the ones in the city Rome today are mainly descended of the first people to make the city. They defintley dont descend from Germans who migrated there not enough I1a1, I1a3, I1a4, I1b or R1b S21 also they have extremely low amounts of light hair and eyes which is and was very popular in Germans. They don't descend from Gauls will i guess u can make an argument about the 40% R1b S28 in Italy which gauls had but so did the first Italic speakers. They dont come from mid eastern u can make the argument about the over 30% mid eastern and north African y DNA E1b1b, J1, and j2 but their white so u know their not 100% mid eastern.

    Italians in my opinion mainly descend from a Neolithic people who brought G2a who where a mix of Paloithic Italians who brought I2a1a more from Otzie farmer people. Otzie people brought Med aust DNA (i am talking about the globe13 test) the Paleolithic Italians had north Euro aust DNA. modern sardine people are the last full blooded Neolithic Italians that is why i think they are the closest relatives to Otzie (5,300 year old farmer from alps Italy). Then the next gene flow into Italo came from iron age Italic speakers who brought R1b S28 the most popular Y DNa haplogroup in Italy today. They would have been generically identical to southern Gauls and probably to modern southern Germans, Swiss, and eastern French or alps people. the Italics probably brought more north euro aust DNA they also would have brought red hair which explains why cato the elder was a redhead. at some point there was a huge mid eastern input into Italy mainly south Italy which means it probably came form the Mediterranean and from around Syria and isreal. I am guessing it came with Greek influnce. south Italiens in the globe13 test have about 35-45% southwest asian and west asian north Italians about 25% and central are in between so i guess the western Mediterranean is also a big part of italiens and romans ancestry.

    modern north Italians probably mainly descended from early Italic speakers that i think why R1b 28 is centered in northern Italy. The Romans came out of those Italic tribes but of course they had tons of Greek influence but i still think they kept Italic tradtions which is where the stern military part of Rome comes from.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 23-07-13 at 09:27. Reason: broken quote tags

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    Italy has changed alot since Rome it has been 2,000 years. Look how much different the world is than it was 200 years ago i doubt personality traits are passed down so much in people group like maciamo said. it was not in romans dna to be stern they had that ability but it became more of a part of their culture.

    it is not in the dna of blacks to be loud and like hip hop that just became a part of their culture white people have the same natural ability to be like that. all humans races or ethnic groups have the same personality traits some choose to use certain ones differently. also almost no one in the world is purely from one race or ethnic group.

    all of us are a mix for example of two group that mixed 20,000ybp then formed a new group that mixed with another group that was a mix of 5 groups and so on and so on. so i doubt that idea that certain ethnic groups naturally have certain natural personality's is true

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