Romanization (cultural)

Romanization or Latinization (or Romanisation or Latinisation), in the historical and cultural meanings of both terms, indicate different historical processes, such as acculturation, integration and assimilation of newly incorporated and peripheral populations by the Roman Republic and the later Roman Empire. Ancient Roman historiography and Italian historiography until the fascist period used to call the various processes the "civilizing of barbarians".


Roman Empire Trajan 117AD
The Roman Empire at its greatest extent

Acculturation proceeded from the top down, with the upper classes adopting Roman culture first and the old ways lingering for the longest among peasants in outlying countryside and rural areas.[1] Hostages played an important part in this process, as elite children, from Mauretania to Gaul, were taken to be raised and educated in Rome.[2]

Ancient Roman historiography and traditional Italian historiography confidently identified the different processes involved with a "civilization of barbarians". Modern historians take a more nuanced view: by making their peace with Rome, local elites could make their position more secure and reinforce their prestige. New themes include the study of personal and group values and the construction of identity, which is the personal aspect of ethnogenesis. The transitions operated differently in different provinces; as Blagg and Millett point out[3] even a Roman province may be too broad a canvas to generalize.

One characteristic of cultural Romanization was the creation of many hundreds of Roman coloniae in the territory of the Roman Republic and the subsequent Roman Empire. Until Trajan, colonies were created by using retired veteran soldiers, mainly from the Italian peninsula, who promoted Roman customs and laws, with the use of Latin.

About 400 towns (of the Roman Empire) are known to have possessed the rank of colonia. During the empire, colonies were showcases of Roman culture and examples of the Roman way of life. The native population of the provinces could see how they were expected to live. Because of this function, the promotion of a town to the status of "Colonia civium Romanorum" implied that all citizens received full citizen rights and dedicated a temple to the Capitoline triad: Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, the deities venerated in the temple of Jupiter Best and Biggest on the Capitol in Rome. Livius [4]

It has been estimated that at the beginning of the empire, about 750,000 Italians lived in the provinces.[5] Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony and Octavian settled many of their veterans in colonies: in Italy, and the provinces. The colonies that were established in Italy until 14 BCE have been studied by Keppie (1983). In his account of the achievements of his long reign, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Augustus stated that he had settled 120,000 soldiers in twenty colonies in Italy in 31 BCE, then 100,000 men in colonies in Spain and southern Gaul in 14 BCE, followed by another 96,000 in 2 BCE.[6] Brian Campbell also states "From 49 to 32 BCE about 420,000 Italians were recruited", which would thus be the veteran (citizen) stock that was largely sent to the provinces (colonies) during Augustus. The Lex Calpurnia, however, also allowed citizenship to be granted for distinguished bravery. For example, the 1,000 socii from Camerinum after Vercellae 101 BCE (Plutarch Mar. XXXVIII) and the auxiliary (later Legio XXII Deiotariana) after Zela, got Roman citizenship. By the time of Augustus, the legions consisted mostly of ethnic Latins/Italics and Cisalpine Gauls.[7]

However, Romanization did not always result in the extinction of all aspects of native cultures even when there was extensive acculturation. Many non-Latin provincial languages survived the entire period while sustaining considerable Latin influence, including the ancestor languages of Welsh, Albanian, Basque and Berber. Where there was language replacement, in some cases, such as Italy, it took place in the early imperial stage, while in others, native languages only totally succumbed to Latin after the fall of the Empire, as was likely the case with Gaulish. The Gaulish language is thought to have survived into the 6th century in France, despite considerable Romanization of the local material culture.[8] The last record of spoken Gaulish deemed to be plausibly credible[8] was when Gregory of Tours wrote in the 6th century (c. 560-575) that a shrine in Auvergne which "is called Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue" was destroyed and burnt to the ground.[9] Coexisting with Latin, Gaulish helped shape the Vulgar Latin dialects that developed into French, with effects including loanwords and calques (including oui,[10] the word for "yes"),[11][10] sound changes,[12][13] and influences in conjugation and word order.[11][10][14]


All that led to many gradual developments.

The very existence is a source of contention among modern archaeologists.[15] One of the first approaches, which now can be regarded as the "traditional" approach, was taken by Francis Haverfield.[16] He saw this process beginning in primarily post-conquest societies (such as Britain and Gaul), where direct Roman policy from the top promoted an increase in the Roman population of the province through the establishment of veteran colonies.[17] The coloniae would have spoken Latin and been citizens of Rome following their army tenure (See Roman citizenship). Haverfield thus assumes this would have a Romanising effect upon the native communities.

This thought process, fueled though it was by early 20th century standards of imperialism and cultural change, forms the basis for the modern understanding of Romanization. However, recent scholarship has devoted itself to providing alternate models of how native populations adopted Roman culture and has questioned the extent to which it was accepted or resisted.

  1. Non-Interventionist Model[18] – Native elites were encouraged to increase social standing through association with the powerful conqueror be it in dress, language, housing and food consumption. That provides them with associated power. The establishment of a civil administration system is quickly imposed to solidify the permanence of Roman rule.
  2. Discrepant Identity[19] – No uniformity of identity that can accurately be described as traditional Romanization. Fundamental differences within a province are visible through economics, religion and identity. Not all provincials supported Rome and not all elites wanted to be like the Roman upper classes.
  3. Acculturation[20] – Aspects of both Native and Roman cultures are joined together., as can be seen in the Roman acceptance, and adoption of, non-Classical religious practices. The inclusion of Isis, Epona, Britannia and Dolichenus into the pantheon are evidence.
  4. Creolization[21] – Romanization occurs as a result of negotiation between different elements of non-egalitarian societies and so material culture is ambiguous.


Latin Europe
Romance languages in Europe

Roman names were adopted.

The Latin language was spread, which was greatly facilitated by the fact that many cultures were mostly oral (particularly for the Gauls and Iberians). Anyone who wanted to deal (through writing) with the bureaucracy and/or with the Roman market had to write in Latin. The extent of the adoption is subject to ongoing debate, as the native languages were certainly spoken after the conquests. Moreover, in the eastern half of the Empire, Latin had to compete with Greek, which largely kept its position as lingua franca and even spread to new areas. Latin became prominent in certain areas around new veteran colonies like Berytus.

The ancient tribal laws were replaced by Roman law, with its institutions of property rights.

Typically-Roman institutions, such as public baths, the emperor cult and gladiator fights, were adopted.

Gradually, the conquered would see themselves as Romans. The process was supported by the Roman Republic and then by the Roman Empire.

The entire process was facilitated by the Indo-European origin of most of the languages and by the similarity of the gods of many ancient cultures. They also already had had trade relations and contacts with one another through the seafaring Mediterranean cultures like the Phoenicians and the Greeks.

Romanization was largely effective in the western half of the empire, where native civilizations were weaker. In the Hellenized east, ancient civilizations like those of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Judea and Syria, effectively resisted all but its most superficial effects. When the Empire was divided, the east, with mainly Greek culture, was marked by the increasing strength of specifically Greek culture and language to the detriment of the Latin language and other Romanizing influences, but its citizens continued to regard themselves as Romans.

While Britain certainly was Romanized, its approximation to the Roman culture seems to have been smaller than that of Gaul. The most romanized regions, as demonstrated by Dott. Bernward Tewes and Barbara Woitas of the computing center of the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, were Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, southern Germany and Dalmatia.[22]

Romanization in most of those regions remains such a powerful cultural influence in most aspects of life today that they are described as "Latin countries". That is most evident in European countries in which Romance languages are spoken and former colonies that have inherited the languages and other Roman influences. According to Theodor Mommsen, cultural Romanisation was more complete in those areas that developed a "neolatin language" (like Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese). The same process later developed in the recent centuries' colonial empires.

See also


  1. ^ The identification of countryfolk as pagani is discussed at paganism.
  2. ^ Leonard A. Curchin, The Romanization of Central Spain: complexity, diversity, and change in a Provincial Hintellrfreshsrland, 2004, p. 130.
  3. ^ T. F. C. Blagg and M. Millett, eds., The Early Roman Empire in the West 1999, p. 43.
  4. ^ Coloniae
  5. ^ Scheidel, "Demography", 49–50, 64, 64 n. 114, citing P. A. Brunt, Italian Manpower 225 B.C.–A.D. 14 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 263.
  6. ^ Pat Southern - The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History (2006/Oxford Uni.)
  7. ^ B. Campbell The Roman Army, 31 BC–AD 337 p.9
  8. ^ a b Laurence Hélix (2011). Histoire de la langue française. Ellipses Edition Marketing S.A. p. 7. ISBN 978-2-7298-6470-5. Le déclin du Gaulois et sa disparition ne s'expliquent pas seulement par des pratiques culturelles spécifiques: Lorsque les Romains conduits par César envahirent la Gaule, au 1er siecle avant J.-C., celle-ci romanisa de manière progressive et profonde. Pendant près de 500 ans, la fameuse période gallo-romaine, le gaulois et le latin parlé coexistèrent; au VIe siècle encore; le temoignage de Grégoire de Tours atteste la survivance de la langue gauloise.
  9. ^ Hist. Franc., book I, 32 Veniens vero Arvernos, delubrum illud, quod Gallica lingua Vasso Galatæ vocant, incendit, diruit, atque subvertit. And coming to Clermont [to the Arverni] he set on fire, overthrew and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso Galatæ in the Gallic tongue.
  10. ^ a b c Matasovic, Ranko (2007). "Insular Celtic as a Language Area". Papers from the Workship within the Framework of the XIII International Congress of Celtic Studies. The Celtic Languages in Contact: 106.
  11. ^ a b Savignac, Jean-Paul (2004). Dictionnaire Français-Gaulois. Paris: La Différence. p. 26.
  12. ^ Henri Guiter, "Sur le substrat gaulois dans la Romania", in Munus amicitae. Studia linguistica in honorem Witoldi Manczak septuagenarii, eds., Anna Bochnakowa & Stanislan Widlak, Krakow, 1995.
  13. ^ Eugeen Roegiest, Vers les sources des langues romanes: Un itinéraire linguistique à travers la Romania (Leuven, Belgium: Acco, 2006), 83.
  14. ^ Adams, J. N. (2007). "Chapter V -- Regionalisms in provincial texts: Gaul". The Regional Diversification of Latin 200 BC – AD 600. Cambridge. p. 279–289. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511482977. ISBN 9780511482977.
  15. ^ Mattingly, D. J., 2004, "Being Roman: Expressing Identity in a provincial setting", Journal of Roman Archaeology Vol. 17, pp 5–26
  16. ^ Haverfield, F., 1912, The Romanization of Roman Britain, Oxford: Claredon Press
  17. ^ MacKendrick, P. L (1952). "Roman Colonization". Phoenix. 6 (4): 139. doi:10.2307/1086829. JSTOR 1086829.
  18. ^ Millet, M., 1990, "Romanization: historical issues and archaeological interpretation", in Blagg, T. and Millett, M. (Eds.), The Early Roman Empire in the West, Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 35–44
  19. ^ Mattingly, D. J., 2004, "Being Roman: Expressing Identity in a provincial setting", Journal of Roman Archaeology Vol. 17, pp. 13
  20. ^ Webster, J., 1997 "Necessary Comparisons: A Post-Colonial Approach to Religious Syncretism in the Roman Provinces", World Archaeology Vol 28 No 3, pp. 324–338
  21. ^ Webster, J., 2001, "Creolizing the Roman Provinces", American Journal of Archaeology Vol 105 No. 2, pp. 209–225,
  22. ^ "Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss Slaby EDCS, unter Mitarbeit von Anne Kolb".


  • Adrian Goldsworthy (2003). The Complete Roman Army. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-05124-5.
  • Francisco Marco Simón, "Religion and Religious Practices of the Ancient Celts of the Iberian Peninsula" in e-Keltoi: The Celts in the Iberian Peninsula, 6 287–345 (online) Interpretatio and the Romanization of Celtic deities.
  • Mommsen, Theodore. The Provinces of the Roman Empire Barnes & Noble (re-edition). New York, 2004
  • Susanne Pilhofer: "Romanisierung in Kilikien? Das Zeugnis der Inschriften" (Quellen und Forschungen zur Antiken Welt 46), Munich 2006.

External links


Alba-la-Romaine is a commune in the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Albains or Albaines

Aromanian alphabet

The Aromanian alphabet is a variant of the Latin script used for writing the Aromanian language. The current version of the alphabet was suggested in 1997 at the Symposium for Standardisation of the Aromanian Writing System in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. It was then adopted by most Aromanian writers in the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

Aromanian language

Aromanian (rrãmãneshti, armãneashti, armãneshce, "Aromanian", or

limba rrãmãniascã/


armãneshce, "Aromanian language"), also known as Macedo-Romanian or Vlach, is an Eastern Romance language, similar to Meglenoromanian, or a dialect of the Romanian language spoken in Southeastern Europe. Its speakers are called Aromanians or Vlachs (a broader term and an exonym in widespread use to define Romance communities in the Balkans).

Aromanian shares many features with modern Romanian, including similar morphology and syntax, as well as a large common vocabulary inherited from Latin. An important source of dissimilarity between Romanian and Aromanian is the adstratum languages (external influences); whereas Romanian has been influenced to a greater extent by the Slavic languages, Aromanian has been more influenced by Greek, with which it has been in close contact throughout its history.


The Aromanians (Aromanian: Rrãmãnj, Armãnj) are a Romance ethnic group native to the Balkans, traditionally living in northern and central Greece, central and southern Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Kosovo and south-western Bulgaria. The term Vlachs is used in Greece to refer to Aromanians, but this term is internationally used to encompass all Romance-speaking peoples of the Balkans and Tatra Mountains regions.Aromanians speak the Aromanian language, a Latin-derived vernacular similar to Romanian, and has many slightly varying dialects of its own. It descends from the Vulgar Latin spoken by the Paleo-Balkan peoples subsequent to their Romanization. Aromanian is a mix of domestic and Latin language with additional influences from other surrounding languages of the Balkans, mainly Greek, Albanian, Macedonian and Bulgarian.

Aromanians in Albania

The Aromanians in Albania (Aromanian: Rrãmãnjã tu Arbinishii, Albanian: Vllehët në Shqipëri) officially Minoriteti Vllah në Shqipëri, also known as Aromanians (Arumunët), Vllehët, Çobenjtë, Llacifacët, or Xinxarët, are an officially recognised ethnic group native in central and south Albania.


For the king, see: king golopovCaloian is a rain ritual in Romania, similar in some ways to Paparuda. It is mostly found in Wallachia (Southern part of Romania). The origin of this ritual, as many other local popular beliefs and practices, precedes the spreading of Christianity, although it was in time associated with the period of the Orthodox Easter.

The ritual is celebrated in early spring as a fertilization ritual, or whenever around the year during the time of severe drought or excessive rain. Young girls make one to several clay dolls, resembling male figures, most important being either "Father of the Sun" or the "Mother of the Rain", depending on the purpose of the ritual. This doll is dressed in common clothes, placed on a wooden board or in an improvised tree-bark coffin, ornamented with flowers and so pursuits a mock-up of the traditional burial ritual, officiated by children. The suite marches through crop fields, around water courses and wells until the "caloian" gets to be buried. After three days, the "caloian" is unearthed, returned to the village and mourned again until it is finally set loose to float on the water of a river, lake or thrown into a well. This ceremony being ended, the young girls who had attained the ceremony were baking a special cake called "ghismán" or "ghizman" (from Ghetsemane, as this ritual was often related to the Easter period) which was shared with the rest of the children.

Colonial mentality

A colonial mentality is the internalized attitude of ethnic or cultural inferiority felt by people as a result of colonization, i.e. them being colonized by another group. It corresponds with the belief that the cultural values of the colonizer are inherently superior to one's own. The term has been used by postcolonial scholars to discuss the transgenerational effects of colonialism present in former colonies following decolonization. It is commonly used as an operational concept for framing ideological domination in historical colonial experiences. In psychology colonial mentality has been used to explain instances of collective depression, anxiety, and other widespread mental health issues in populations that have experienced colonization. Notable Marxist influences on the postcolonial concept of colonial mentality include Frantz Fanon's works on the fracturing of the colonial psyche through Western cultural domination, as well as the concept of cultural hegemony developed by Italian Communist Party Founder Antonio Gramsci.

Grabovë e Sipërme

Grabovë e Sipërme (also: Grabova; Aromanian: Greãva) is a village in Albania inhabited by Aromanians. The village is located in the former municipality of Lenie. At the 2015 local government reform it became part of the municipality Gramsh.


The Ilercavones were an ancient Iberian (Pre-Roman) people of the Iberian peninsula (the Roman Hispania). They are believed to have spoken an Iberian language.

Kefalovryso, Ioannina

Kefalovryso (Greek: Κεφαλόβρυσο, Aromanian: Migidei, Migideia) is a village and a community of the Pogoni municipality. Before the 2011 local government reform it was a part of the municipality of Ano Pogoni, of which it was a municipal district and the seat. The 2011 census recorded 838 residents in the village. The community of Kefalovryso covers an area of 15.831 km2.


Kruševo (Macedonian: Крушево, [ˈkruʃevo] (listen); Aromanian: Crushuva) is a town in North Macedonia. It is the highest town in North Macedonia, situated at an altitude of over 1350 m (4429 feet) above sea level. The town of Kruševo is the seat of Kruševo Municipality.


Latin (Latin: lingua latīna, IPA: [ˈlɪŋɡʷa laˈtiːna]) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language, initially in Italy and subsequently throughout the western Roman Empire. Vulgar Latin developed into the Romance languages, such as Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. Latin, Greek and French have contributed many words to the English language. In particular, Latin (and Ancient Greek) roots are used in English descriptions of theology, biology, science, medicine and law.

By the late Roman Republic (75 BC), Old Latin had been standardised into Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin was the colloquial form spoken during the same time and attested in inscriptions and the works of comic playwrights like Plautus and Terence. Late Latin is the written language from the 3rd century and Medieval Latin was used from the 9th century to the Renaissance which used Renaissance Latin. Later, Early Modern Latin and New Latin evolved. Latin was used as the language of international communication, scholarship and science until well into the 18th century, when it began to be supplanted by vernaculars. Ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Holy See and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Latin is taught in primary, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions around the world.Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, up to seven noun cases, five declensions, four verb conjugations, three tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two or three aspects and two numbers.

Latin influence in English

English is a Germanic language, with a grammar and a core vocabulary inherited from Proto-Germanic. However, a significant portion of the English vocabulary comes from Romance and Latinate sources. A portion of these borrowings come directly from Latin, or through one of the Romance languages, particularly Anglo-Norman and French, but some also from Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish; or from other languages (such as Gothic, Frankish or Greek) into Latin and then into English. The influence of Latin in English, therefore, is primarily lexical in nature, being confined mainly to words derived from Latin roots.

List of Greek and Latin roots in English

The English language uses many Greek and Latin roots, stems, and prefixes. These roots are listed alphabetically on three pages:

Greek and Latin roots from A to G

Greek and Latin roots from H to O

Greek and Latin roots from P to Z.Some of those used in medicine and medical technology are listed in the List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes.


Metsovo (Greek: Μέτσοβο, Aromanian: Aminciu) is a town in Epirus, in the mountains of Pindus in northern Greece, between Ioannina to the north and Meteora to the south.

The largest centre of Aromanian (Vlach) life in Greece, Metsovo is a large regional hub for several small villages and settlements in the Pindus region, and it features many shops, schools, offices, services, museums, and galleries. The economy of Metsovo is dominated by agriculture and tourism, the latter of which flourishes in winter.

Metsovo is served by Greek National Road 6 (Ioannina – Trikala) and by the Egnatia Odos motorway.


Moscopole (Albanian: Voskopojë; Aromanian: Moscopole; Greek: Μοσχόπολις or Βοσκόπολις; Turkish: İskopol or Oskopol) is a village in Korçë County in southeastern Albania. During the 18th century, it was the cultural and commercial center of the Aromanians. At its peak, in the mid 18th century, it hosted the first printing press in the Ottoman Balkans outside Istanbul, educational institutions and numerous churches and became a leading center of Greek culture.Historians have attributed the decline of the city to a series of raids by Muslim Albanian bandits. Moscopole was initially attacked and almost destroyed by those groups in 1769 following the participation of the residents in the preparations for a Greek revolt supported by the Russian Empire. Its destruction culminated with the abandoning and destruction of 1788. Moscopole, once a prosperous city, was reduced to a small village by Ali Pasha. According to another opinion, the city's decline was mainly due to the relocation of the trade routes in central and eastern Europe following these raids. Today Moscopole, known as Voskopojë, is a small mountain village, and along with a few other local settlements is considered a holy place by local Orthodox Christians. It was one of the original homelands of the Aromanian diaspora.

Names of the Aromanians

There are several names of the Aromanians used throughout the Balkans, both autonyms (like armân) and exonyms (like Vlach).

Principality of the Pindus

The name Principality of the Pindus (Aromanian: Printsipat di la Pind; Greek: Πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου; Italian: Principato del Pindo) is used in literature to describe the attempt to create an autonomous canton under the protection of Italy at the end of World War I, in July and August 1917, from Vlach-speaking population of Samarina and other villages of the Pindus mountains of Northern Greece during the short period of occupation by Italy of the district of Gjirokastra and regions of Epirus. The attempt was not successful and no such principality was ever formed. A declaration was made after the arrival of Italian troops in Samarina. In the immediate withdrawal of Italians a few days later, Greek troops appeared without meeting any resistance.Since then there was no mention of any similar activity until 1941-2 when the territory of Greece were occupied by Italy, Germany and Bulgaria under the World War II. At that time, Alcibiades Diamandi, a Vlach from Samarina who also took part in the events of 1917, was active with an organization called in later literature with the name Vlach "Roman Legion" (at the time called "Legion" or "Roman Legion"). As part of the activity of the legion in the areas of mainly Thessaly (and Epirus, and West Macedonia), it was mentioned as an intention of Diamandi to create a semi-independent entity by the name "Principality of the Pindus" or "Independent State of Pindos" or "Canton". The "Legion" was never able to assert itself over the Vlachs whom it supposedly represented, nor over the local population until its de facto disbandment in 1943 due to the activity of the Greek Resistance and the Italian capitulation, leaving them without real support from the German command. In other sources, no name is assigned to the events of 1917 in Pindus.

Romanization (disambiguation)

Romanization is the representation in the Latin alphabet of a language normally written in another writing system.

Romanization may also refer to:

Romanization (cultural), the expansion of Roman culture, law, and language

Latinisation of names, practice of rendering a non-Latin name (or word) in a Latin style

Latinisation (USSR), the Latinization of languages inside the former USSR

Romanization (religious), the practice of modifying other rites of the Catholic Church to more resemble the Latin (Roman) rite. The proper term is Liturgical Latinisation

Representation in roman type of formerly italicized foreign words and phrases after they have become assimilated into English

History of the Germanic peoples
Pagan society
(until about
Early Middle Ages)
Opposite trends
Related concepts

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