- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (27 July 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521789826
- ISBN-13: 978-0521789820
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Becoming Roman: The Origins of Provincial Civilization in Gaul Paperback – 27 Jul 2000
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' … a bold and far-reaching study, and a particularly valuable addition to the corpus of literature on the Western Roman provinces.' The Times Literary Supplement
' … a stimulating and impressive achievement.' The Cambridge Archaeological Journal
'[Greg Woolf] has … produced a study that any serious student of the ancient world must read, and that is without question the best book on the western provinces written this decade.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review
'… rich and versatile … The book combines an enormous amount of detailed research with a decade of profound reflection.' The Classical Review
'… many scholars will find it a useful source of reference … original and scholarly … it belongs on the reading list of the many undergraduate course-units to which it will be pertinent … invaluable introduction written for an intelligent audience with little prior knowledge … university library copies stand to become well thumbed by an audience spanning all levels. … a thought-provoking book that has much to teach authors on Roman Britain.' Journal of Roman Studies
This is a study of the process conventionally termed Romanization through an analysis of the experience of Roman rule over the Gallic provinces in the period 200 BC–AD 300. It examines how and why Gallo-Roman civilisation emerged from the confrontation between the cultures of Gaul and the classical civilisation.
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At some point in the late 290s AD, an orator from the town of Autun in present day Burgundy made a speech before an imperial governor, perhaps the Perfect of the province of Lugdunensis I. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
Over the last decade or two this view has been shaken by more thorough and objective analysis of archeology, abnd this book is an excellent introduction to current thinking in this field. it is well referenced and clearly explained, and examines different strands of evidence - trade patterns, the rise of cities, the impact of a standing Rhine army on the development of a surplus-based, trading economy in the interior of Gaul, changing fashions as evidenced by epigraphy - to draw a picture of gradual Romanisation and the development of regional identities within Gaul in the late classical period that is at once more detailed and more believable than the simplistic models previously used. Highly recommended.
The shift from allegiance to a tribe, with a degree of self-determination by the individual and by the community to one of will and power, imposed from above, brought with it an emphasis on self-aggrandizement within a recognised and authorised hierarchy. This both promoted and sustained the hierarchy, and served the elite's purpose, by whom and for whom the hierarchy was constructed, viz: the transition from the seizure of wealth by conquest to seizure of wealth by tribute (taxation).
It is poignant to the point of being almost painful to read of 'humanitas', the grounds the Roman elite used to persuade themselves of their manifest destiny and right to conquer, as we witness current and recent wars to secure critical resources, justified to the public as 'humanitarian' intervention. Even interventions that truly seem to be 'civic minded' are driven by a sense of 'noblesse oblige', the obligation the superior and powerful have to intervene on behalf of the inferior.
That it all began, or was manifested so strongly, in an Empire two thousand years ago shows how powerful (sic) the appeal is of a system based on, well, power. Was there a 'cost' to this civilisation? How do you measure the impact of loss of free will?Read more ›
The fundamental position adopted - that Roman and Gallic identities were in opposition in the period of convulsive conquest but that this was followed by a period in which it is more helpful to think about rich and poor, military and civilian rather than Roman and Gallic - is argued for in quite complex but always illuminating detail.
There may well be other analyses of the history of Gaul that would rival this book. I simply do not have the relevant knowledge of what is available. However, having read quite a bit of the current mainstream academic literature about Roman Britain, I would say that this text is far more helpful in terms of its conceptual understanding. The situation of the provinces may have been very different but the kind of questions raised are readily transferable.
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