Gangs in Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a civilization of immense proportions, and the presence of gangs was a reflection of its grandeur. Although gangs generally have a negative connotation today, in Ancient Rome, they were byproducts of the diverse city and played an important role in its progress. In Ancient Rome, gangs did not have names, however, they had markers that signified a group who shared common interests and beliefs.
Originating in the 8th century BC, the gangs of Ancient Rome were composed of the lower classes, and they functioned as an extension of their individual families. Ancient Rome was divided into various regions where citizens could express their affiliations and loyalties to a particular lifestyle or neighborhood. For example, the members of the Camorra, a Naples’ gang, swore their allegiance to their particular block, or “strega”.
It can be argued that the gangs of Ancient Rome provided for those without a strong sense of social support or safety. The gangs were often composed of those who could not find another place to fit in. They provided protection for members, in addition to day-to-day needs such as food and shelter. The gangs of Ancient Rome also had many rituals that enhanced their sense of belonging and provided a certain level of social control. For example, every event from their initiation to their eventual death was observed and celebrated. In some cases, they even went so far as to providing religious observances that honored their dead.
Despite the presence of gangs in Ancient Rome, their presence was not malicious. Unlike modern gangs, the gangs of Ancient Rome were more closely connected to their local communities. This is because the gangs of Ancient Rome focused on providing for their members, rather than striving for power or wealth. Many of the gangs were rooted in the service industry, working in taverns or as traders. Ultimately, the gangs of Ancient Rome were often the equivalent of a successful support system for those who could not find one elsewhere.
Gang Habits in Ancient Rome
The gang habits of Ancient Rome often revolved around ceremonies and celebrations that stayed firmly rooted in traditional societies. The initiation of a new member was celebrated with an elaborate ritual that included the slaying of a pig, to symbolize the death of a spirit, and fasting and abstinence, to indicate a period of re-birth. The gang’s members were expected to uphold its honor and preserve its reputation. In the event of an injury, the members would put their differences aside and form a single line of defense. They were also responsible for providing assistance to widows and orphans in their community.
Most of the gangs of Ancient Rome operated from the shadows. They rarely, if ever, came into contact with other gangs or even the Roman government. Despite this, Roman law did recognize the existence of gangs and attempted to restrict their activities. These restrictions often threatened the existence of gangs, as the squads had no legal way of supporting themselves. In some cases, the gangs of Ancient Rome would turn to other sources of income such as seaside piracy or highway robbery.
Gangs and Roman Politics
Gangs of Ancient Rome also had ties to Roman politicians. Although the Roman government sought to limit the activities of gangs, many of the ruling classes had ties to influential gangs. Roman Senators, who held the highest position in Ancient Rome, often had ties to gangs. Some of them, such as Gaius Clodius Pulcher, received protection from the lowest levels of gangsters while they plotted against their enemies. Furthermore, some Roman politicians even provided the gangs with patronage, which was a form of financial stability that helped them to survive. In addition, some Roman emperors, such as Julius Caesar, would often use their influence to win over the support of gangs and turn them against their enemies.
Religion’s Role in Ancient Roman Gangs
Religion also played an important role in Ancient Roman gang life. The Ancient Romans believed that adherence to certain religious beliefs and practices could ensure success, prosperity and even protection from evil. As a result, many of the gangs of Ancient Rome adopted religious observances and even named themselves after gods and goddesses.
For example, the most powerful and influential gang of Ancient Rome was named after the god Mars. This gang was called the Lanistae, and they were believed to be responsible for the protection against evil and protection from the wrath of the gods. The members of this gang were also known to wear armor and carry weapons to protect themselves and their homes from dangers. In addition, the Lanistae also held their own sacred ceremonies to honor Mars.
Gang Warfare in Ancient Rome
Gang warfare was common in Ancient Rome. The gangs of Ancient Rome often had violent conflicts over territories, resources and honor. Such conflicts usually involved physical combat and sometimes, the gangs would even employ weapons such as knives and swords in order to gain an advantage over their rivals. The most extreme form of gang warfare employed by the gangs of Ancient Rome was known as the “Cuneum,” which was a battle to the death. This was a test of strength and loyalty, and the winner gained the right to rule the area.
Conclusion of Gangs in Ancient Rome
Despite their sometimes dangerous nature, the gangs of Ancient Rome often provided an important social outlet for those who might not have had one otherwise. The gangs provided protection, some economic stability and a sense of belonging to its members. Religion and politics also heavily influenced the gang life in Ancient Rome, as their activities were often intertwined with both. Finally, gang warfare was a common occurrence within the city, however, this violence did not detract from their overall positive influence.