Re: Non-indigenous enculturation

Gerold Firl (
17 Sep 1996 00:55:52 GMT

In article <>, (Jim Bowery) writes:

|> What are some of the best known and earliest examples of non-indigenous
|> enculturation?
|> For example, tribes sending their children off to be schooled a and/or
|> nonindigenous individuals taking positions of moral/cultural authority
|> within tribes.

The example that comes to mind for me is rome. Rome used divide-and-
conquer political manuevering very effectively against both barbarian
and civilized enemies; greece, gaul, britain and germany, for example.

The greek states were defeated by roman organizational skills more so
than by roman legions; the legions proved superior to the greek
phalanx largely on the basis of superior command, control, and
tactical flexibility, while roman political manipulation of internal
rivalries among the greeks prevented the formation of a united front
similar to what happened during the persian threat.

After the roman takeover, greeks assumed positions of authority,
initially in non-political areas of culture and the arts, but
eventually, in the eastern roman empire, absorbing the western
conquerers. It's somewhat analogous to the chinese absorbtion of the
mongol and manchu barbarians, though without the huge dispaity in
relative populations. The greeks relied more on the sophistication of
their culture.

On the northern frontier, a totally different situation existed.
There, rome had all the advantages of numbers, wealth, technology, and
cultural sophistication. The celtic tribes of britain and gaul were
subjugated and enculturated by rome, which used the tactic of taking
hostages (generally children) from leading families as one of the
primary methods for ensuring the obediance of conquered peoples. In
the short term, hostages could be killed if there were signs of
revolt. In the long term, hostages raised among romans could be
converted into friends of rome, helping to administer the provinces.

The roman/barbarian frontier on the north was a scene of cultural
diffusion and interpenetration lasting some 4 centuries, combining
peaceful trade and education, along with amazing levels of brutal

I believe it was one of the ostrogothic war leaders named theodosius
who was raised as a hostage among the romans until he was 18, then
went back to his homeland and used his knowledge of roman ways to
actually defeat the legions and become emperor himself, bringing an
ostrogothic tribal movement to northern italy.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf