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Attitudes of War in Ancient Civilizations

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Chapter Eight War and Society reveals the attitudes about war in both ancient Rome and China. These attitudes prove that in these cases perhaps it is safe to say that wars are not inevitable or natural but were caused by warlike societies and social situations. After reading bits and pieces of both the ancient Roman and Chinese history, one can only gain a greater perspective on how these attitudes derived. In 391 nomads called the Gauls defeated a small army of Roman aristocrats and burnt down the town of Rome. After this attack, Rome rebuilt its town and changed it into an empire, which spread its laws, culture, and peace from the North. Rome was convinced that after this first invasion, it was necessary to change their military. Over time the Romans were able to conquer most of Italy. As the Romans began to gain power and land, they set their eyes on larger obstacles. This is when Roman attitude was perhaps revealed about the subject of war. Romans believed that their expansion had been inevitable so they were to believe that they were blameless, and that their ancestors had been more than a passive tool of destiny. They believed that other areas, posed as possible threats and that it was necessary "for defensive reasons" to attack first. Today, these can be viewed as possibly preventive wars. But during the time of the expansion of the Roman Empire, a preventive war wasn't a concern. Other views were demonstrated in their actions, that although at first Romans were unable to take Carthage, they kept trying, and over time, and most likely many deaths, the Roman soldiers wore them down. Rome was like a bulldozer and used their skilled military to their advantage, to take over and destroy anything that it set its eyes on. Their actions, such as later completely destroying Carthage and massacring the majority of its population all because it posed as a potential economic threat to Roman land. These views or attitudes of war can be easily seen, war was not considered a preventive war, but a necessary war, although many times, it was clearly unnecessary and the fall of the Roman Empire, eventually gave the Roman commanders what they deserved. On the flipside, ancient Chinese attitude toward war was quite similar to that of the Romans. Warfare in this society was common and accepted, the idea of honor also coincides with their attitude toward war. "When one opponent fired an arrow and just missed the duke, and was drawing his bow to fire another the duke cried out, Ð''if you don't give me my turn to shoot, you are a base fellow!" These attitudes are clear, in their actions in both ancient Rome and China. I believe that between both, the Chinese and Romans, neither was more responsible for starting or pursuing these wars. I believe that although their situations were similar they are also from entirely different societies and responded the way they sought fit. On the other hand, I feel that it would be by far easier to judge who would be at greater fault if both societies were at war with one another, but that clearly is not the case. I believe that in any war, all suffer. The lands that the Roman Empire originally won, suffered the greatest in the beginning, as did the Roman Empire with the number of deaths. Both of the empires fell, and deteriorated rapidly in the third centuries, the Han dynasty was replaced by three kingdoms and the Romans was divided into two empires. What I find to be interesting is the question if war actually solves anything? The rise and the fall of both the Roman Empire and the ruling rise and fall of the ancient Chinese



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