Roman Imperialism

Although the Romans claimed to be conservative, it was their open mind to other cultures that seems to have empowered their ability to conquer. In this view, Roman imperialism was not only political and military in nature, but also cultural in the sense that they used conquered cultures to shape their own culture and identity. It is in the area of religion that the theory of Roman cultural imperialism is confirmed. A good example is the Roman appropriation of Carthaginian gods during the second Punic War (218-201 BC). The religious phenomena they imported ranged from Celtic, German, Phoenician, Egyptian and Syrian gods with their own rituals. Without a doubt the most important change that happened during the Imperial Ages was the rise of Christianity. In the course of time Christianity became a part of the religious landscape. The emperor´s conversion to Christianity heralded the inevitable demise of the old one. By then, Christianity had also spread throughout the empire: the fact that connectivity within the empire opened up new ways, literally and figuratively, was essential to the success of this imperialistic world religion. (F. Naerebout, M. J. Versluys, ´Changing word views´ in W. Huppertz a.o. (Eds.), Keys to Rome, Amsterdam, 2017).