Who was the Roman Empire?
As with most societies, the Romans had a standard they wanted to uphold and instilled certain virtues and morals that were considered vital for any respectable citizen. The three concrete virtues that the Romans held in the highest of regards are: virtus, gravitas, and pietas. These virtues are what created the Roman Empire. They established imperial rule, religious thought and practices, and a general way of life. Without them the Romans would not be who they are today.
First, virtus is thought of as strength or courage. It is exemplified by both physical courage in battle and intellectual courage in the public sphere. It is the strength to control oneself in the face of fear and desire. There is a very Stoic concept behind this virtue. Stoicism was a Greek school of philosophy that was adopted by the Romans in the second century. Stoics practiced self-discipline and perseverance which are qualities that Romans considered important. Gaius Mucius Scaevola was a popular Roman that personified these qualities against Lars Porsenna. Military was also important to the Romans and they expected their soldiers to be equipped with these attributes. One leader who was of particular influence was Augustus. His defeat of Antony and Cleopatra led to his control over the entire Mediterranean. Rome achieved great glory under Augustus’ rule and after his death worshipped him as a god.
Second, gravitas is seriousness of purpose. It was sort of an inherent dignity and sense of importance. Everybody had a role in Roman society, whether you were a slave, a woman, or an emperor. Everyone knew their role and worked hard for the betterment of the nation. For example, women had certain expectations of them in Roman society. Lucretia was the wife of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus and a legendary figure in Roman history. According to Livy, Lucretia was raped by the last king of Rome’s son, Sextus Tarquinius. Lucretia strived to be the best wife and could not...