Tuesday 10 July 2012

Nothing's what it seems

2064 years ago most Romans believed their greatest threat were the barabarian hoards from Gaul - now modern day France. You know the ones, long haired, bearded barbarians running around in Asterix cartoons. Of course, in those days the Romans needed to know they were 'barbarians'...it wouldn't do if their greatest enemy was educated, wrote in Greek and Latin and had been cutting their hair short and shaving for almost a century. And it certainly wouldn't do if the Roman public knew their steel making processes, their swords and chainmail armour were all copied from these wild men. Unfortunately for us the Romans got to write the history books back then so we now only see the Gauls through Roman eyes. There's an entire historical stereotype we still cling to that certainly didn't exist in 52BC. Does it matter? Well, it would be a bit like watching a Gulf War movie with everyone dressed in Civil War uniforms...it just wouldn't be right, would it? Sure, the world's not going to end because of it, but if our view of history has been shaped by propaganda, what does that do to our present...or our future?

Find out what Calvus thought of Gaul

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