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Sorry, America never got Ancient Rome’s friend request.

Despite the utterances of some, no the United States was not friends Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome for one simple, undeniable reason. America would be formed roughly some 1300 years after the demise of the Empire.

Hate to drop a bomb on all those who’ve heard, read and want to believe that America was BFF’s with Ancient Rome. We weren’t. #fakehistory

It’s important to start with facts. Facts help to center and ground beliefs. Hard to justify one’s beliefs if you’ve got your facts wrong. This of course is contingent on the idea that one wants his or hers beliefs to be justifiable. You know in case you have to defend them. In any case, here are the facts.

This never happened. Rome did burn, but Gen. Washington wasn’t there to save it.

Ancient Rome became an empire sometime around 600 years Before the birth of Christ (Known as 6th century BC to the kids). Though the collection of towns and outpost largely ruled themselves for the first one hundred years, Rome soon became the nation state we are familiar with ruled by a Senate (that’s right) a group of annually elected magistrates (Roman Consuls above all) ruled in conjunction with provinces administered by military commanders a few hundred years before the birth of Jesus. Again, It was ruled by an elected Senate, not by emperors.

Roman provinces in Italy.

The Roman Empire soon expanded outside the Italian peninsula sometime around the 3rd century BC. It wasn’t until the 1st century BC in a time of political and military upheaval, that Rome came to be ruled by emperors. The consuls’ military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which literally means “command” (though typically in a military sense). Occasionally, successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator (commander), and this is the origin of the word emperor (and empire) since this title (among others) was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession.

Johannes Adam Simon OertelPulling Down the Statue of King George III, N.Y.C., ca. 1859

The American Revolution occured in the late 17th Century AD. This was roughly 2,300 years after the formation of the ancient Roman Empire. Thus it would be virtually impossible sans a time machine (or a TARDIS) for any american citizen to have been friends with anyone in ancient Rome. To add to that point, America is located on the continent of North America which is roughly 4292 miles ( 6,886 km ) from Rome which is in Europe. In other words, long drive.

By the 3th Century after the death of Christ (AD), Rome was divided into four regions, each ruled by a separate emperor, the Tetrarchy. Confident that the disorders that were plaguing Rome were cured the Tetrarchy soon collapsed. Order was eventually restored by Constantine the Great, who became the first emperor to convert to Christianity, and who established Constantinople as the new capital of the eastern roman empire. During the decades of the Constantinian and Valentinian dynasties, the empire was divided along an east-west axis, with dual power centres in Constantinople and Rome. The reign of Julian, who under the influence of his adviser Mardonius attempted to restore Classical Roman and Hellenistic religion, only briefly interrupted the succession of Christian emperors. Theodosius I, the last emperor to rule over both East and West, died in 395 AD after making Christianity the official religion of the empire.[25]

Map of Roman Empire

The Roman Empire by 476

The Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate in the early 5th century as Germanic migrations and invasions overwhelmed the capacity of the Empire to assimilate the migrants and fight off the invaders. The Romans were successful in fighting off all invaders, most famously Attila. Most chronologies place the end of the Western Roman Empire in 476, when Romulus Augustulus was forced to abdicate to the Germanic warlord Odoacer. By placing himself under the rule of the Eastern Emperor, rather than naming himself Emperor (as other Germanic chiefs had done after deposing past emperors), Odoacer ended the Western Empire by ending the line of Western emperors.

The empire in the East—often known as the Byzantine Empire, but referred to in its time as the Roman Empire or by various other names—had a different fate. It survived for almost a millennium after the fall of its Western counterpart and became the most stable Christian realm during the Middle Ages.

The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire c. 1025

In 1000 AD, the Eastern Empire was at its height: Basil II reconquered Bulgaria and Armenia, culture and trade flourished. However, soon after, the expansion was abruptly stopped in 1071 with the Byzantine defeat in the Battle of Manzikert.

In 1204, participants in the Fourth Crusade took part in the Sack of Constantinople. The conquest of Constantinople in 1204 fragmented what remained of the Empire into successor states, the ultimate victor being that of Nicaea. After the recapture of Constantinople by Imperial forces, the Empire was little more than a Greek state confined to the Aegean Sea coast. The Eastern Roman Empire finally collapsed when Mehmed the Conqueror conquered Constantinople on 29 May 1453.

Emanuel Leutze‘s famous 1851 depiction of Washington Crossing the Delaware

This is some 39 years before Columbus set foot on the soil of the Western Hemisphere in 1492. So even if one could argue that the Roman Empire, or what was left of it, survived the Middle Ages, it was little more than a small city state at the time of its demise. No one from the American Revolution, much less a representative of the United States of America, which would not come to realization for roughly another 225 years, could have met with them.

Crispus Attucks was an iconic patriot; he was fatally shot by British soldiers in the Boston Massacre of 1770 and is thus considered the first American killed in the Revolution

Bottomline if you see a line that America and Ancient Rome were friends, allies, buddies, bff’s, partners, friends with benefits, understand it’s most undeniably fake history. Well… Because time.

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