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Foreigners in Rome

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Reconstructed appearance of one of York's inhabitants from the 4th century CE
A reconstructed appearance of one of the female Yorkers from the 4th century CE

Nowadays, many emigrants who come permanently to other countries bring with them their cultural achievements, their language, traditions and customs. Whole districts of emigrants arise, which are reminiscent of their home sides.

For example, “Little Italy” in New York, Chinatown, Jackowo – a Polish district. To some extent, emigrants also embrace the culture of a new country, although it is difficult to assimilate the mentality of the citizens of a new homeland. The mentality that characterizes individual nations is always somewhere. Some nations do not assimilate at all, or do it very reluctantly (eg. Asians, Arabs, Africans).

It was different from the Roman Empire, which testifies to the uniqueness of Rome. Anyone who found himself there regardless of the circumstances became a Roman, without even being a citizen. He accepted the style of being, language, and customs. He gave Roman names to his children, he accepted religion and everything else. This does not mean that he forgot who he is, but the desire to be a Roman was so large that he did not expose his roots, and highlighted that he is a citizen of the Empire on a scale that does not exist today among emigrants.

Can you find remains of other cultures of people living in the Empire area among the ruins of Roman cities? Finding such residues is very difficult and there are very few of them. Many today’s emigrants try to preserve their national identity; in ancient Rome, stranges did not care too much about their origins. He wanted to be more Roman than the Romans themselves. The Romans were also somewhat open to innovations from other countries, not because they had to, but for purely practical reasons. They took on culture, for example, Greece and its material achievements, and then enriched it with their achievements, and as we know they were really impressive. Rome had nothing to be ashamed of. They also accepted beliefs, not only Greek but also from other nations. For example, the worship of Mithra, the solar god of the East who came to Rome from India via Persia, or the worship of the goddess Isis from Egypt.

Such cases, taking into account the whole of Roman history, were rather rare. There were Greek or Jewish districts in Roman cities (they were a reflection of the specificity of these nations), but did anyone hear about Gallic, Thracian, Arabian etc. districts? Even if they did not speak Latin, no one would know on the street that he was not a Roman, but only a Spaniard. Because, to such an illusion, someone resembled a Roman. That was the whole Empire. Of course, today’s emigrant, not taking into account their facial features or skin colour, can also blend into the society of the new homeland, but most often it affects a vast majority of Europeans or those who have European roots, who want or not, in they are the heirs of the culture and customs of ancient Rome.

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