Why Were Ancient Romans Connections With Others Bad

Ancient Rome was home to some of the most influential empires in history. Their connections with others were vital to their success and longevity, but those same connections often had negative consequences. It is widely acknowledged that, while Rome was able to benefit from its ties with foreign countries, it simultaneously caused a lot of issues within its borders. In this article, we will take a closer look at why ancient Rome’s connections with others were sometimes detrimental.

To start off, it is important to understand the economic context of Rome during its peak. Ancient Rome was heavily dependent on trade with other nations for its survival, as its own resources were insufficient for its needs. This reliance made Rome vulnerable to punishing trade embargoes, foreign invasions and economic sanctions from countries that sought to gain an advantage over the powerful Roman empire. This made Rome’s economic successes – for example, wealth created through its lucrative trade networks – vulnerable to disruption and exploitation.

Additionally, Rome’s sheer power and influence meant that its relationships with other states were often unequal and exploitative. Rome used its military force to dominate weaker states and nations. For example, if a weaker state was defeated in battle, Rome was likely to reduce its autonomy and incorporate it into a Roman province. This inevitably led to resentment, poverty and exploitation in the conquered areas.

One other way in which ancient Rome’s ties with foreign countries could be detrimental was that they could open the empire up to foreign invaders. Rome was vulnerable to attacks from barbarians and other hostile forces due to its many overstretched outposts and border points. This was partly due to Rome’s reliance on foreign mercenaries and other hired soldiers, as well as its ability to absorb new territories using its formidable military power.

Finally, Rome’s connections with other states could lead to political instability. Rome’s government was based on a complex system of power-sharing between powerful aristocratic families, which left the empire open to disputes and infighting. This was particularly evident when it came to foreign policy decisions, which could often lead to internal divisions and power struggles.

Trade Disputes

One of the biggest challenges Ancient Rome faced when dealing with other nations was trade disputes. Rome’s rise in power and wealth came as a result of lucrative trading networks, and it was only natural that trade disputes would arise from this. The most famous example is Rome’s trade dispute with the Phoenicians in the year 124 BC. The dispute resulted in Rome banning all Phoenician ships from trading in Roman ports, which caused a severe economic downturn for the Phoenician cities that relied on this trade. As a result of this dispute, many of them were forced to pay extortionate tribute to Rome for the right to remain independent and operate in Roman ports.

In addition to these disputes, Rome also frequently prevented other nations from becoming economically independent through land grants and other forms of patronage. This kept them dependent on Rome, while at the same time preventing them from competing with the Roman economy. Rome also sometimes imposed duties on goods coming into the empire, which affected trade both within Rome and with other nations. This created a difficult situation for those looking to do business with Rome, as they often had to pay a premium to conduct their business.

Rome’s trade disputes ultimately had a significant impact on its international relations, as other nations were often unwilling to engage in trade and economic relations with the powerful empire. This not only damaged Rome’s ability to acquire resources and wealth, but it also damaged its relationships with other nations.

Political Unrest

The other major issue that Ancient Rome faced in its relations with other nations was political unrest. Rome, for all its power and wealth, was still subject to the same internal political struggles and disputes as any other empire. Additionally, Rome often had to contend with outside influences, such as foreign invasions, battles between rival nations and civil wars in provinces. These struggles often had a significant impact on Rome’s foreign policy, and could lead to instability, unpopular reforms and political unrest within the Empire.

For example, when Rome attempted to expand its borders into Germanic territories, this sparked a series of conflicts between Rome and various Germanic tribes. This was further complicated by the fact that these Germanic nations often sought allies amongst the various tribal groups in the region, resulting in alliances and rivalries that could be just as dangerous as any open warfare. This led to decades of conflict and political instability, culminating in Rome’s eventual withdrawal from Germania.

The political unrest caused by Rome’s connections with other nations also had a direct effect on its internal politics. Rome’s rulers often had to contend with a series of competing interests between the Senate, the executive and the military, as well as between the powerful families and individuals that made up Rome’s governing body. This made it extremely difficult for the Roman government to make unified, effective decisions, and often resulted in lengthy delays and compromises.

These sorts of issues, coupled with Rome’s expansionist policies, often resulted in political unrest and instability in provinces that were recently annexed or conquered. This unrest could be used by Rome’s enemies to discourage trade, weaken the economy and destabilize the nation. In fact, internal disputes and instability were among the primary reasons for Rome’s eventual downfall.

Military Actions

Rome’s connections with other nations also resulted in a high number of military actions. Rome’s powerful navy, army and cavalry were often used to protect its interests and control its territories. These military actions, which often included brute force and unprecedented destruction, could be damaging both within Rome’s borders and beyond.For example, the legions that invaded Germania during the reign of Augustus were notorious for their violence and destruction, and they caused grievous harm to the Germanic people they encountered. Rome’s actions in these regions were often seen as examples of its power and might, but they could also lead to resentment and a desire for revenge among those they conquered.

In addition to military actions, Rome’s involvement in foreign affairs could also sometimes have negative consequences. Rome’s foreign policy was often complicated by the need to manage difficult relationships with smaller states, as well as various rival nations. This could often lead to diplomatic disputes, injustices and humiliation for those on the receiving end of Rome’s decisions. This could lead to a cycle of distrust and hostility, and it could even lead to war in extreme cases.

The last major issue caused by Rome’s relations with other countries is the fact that it was often difficult for Rome to find allies. Rome was often seen as a bully by other nations, and its aggressive foreign policy meant that it was often viewed with suspicion and fear. This made it difficult for Rome to find allies, and it meant that the few allies it had could not always be trusted. This could have serious repercussions for Rome’s military victories, as its allies might not always provide the backing they had promised.

Constant Conflict

Rome’s connections with other nations often led to constant conflict and strife. Rome’s expansionist policies, as well as its reliance on military force to maintain its power, often created resentment and hostility. This could lead to open warfare, diplomatic disputes and internal struggles. Additionally, Rome’s policies often led to poverty and exploitation in conquered territories, and Rome was often unwilling to negotiate or treat its subjects with respect. This ultimately led to resentment and open rebellion in many provinces, which further weakened Rome’s power and hastened its eventual downfall.

These issues were compounded by Rome’s tendency to alienate its allies. Rome was often viewed with suspicion and fear, and often found it difficult to secure reliable allies. This could greatly weaken Rome’s ability to successfully wage wars, or even protect its own territories. All of these factors ultimately led to a weakening of Rome’s power and influence, as well as weakened ties with other nations and states. This, in turn, led to Rome’s eventual downfall.

Moral Decay

The final major issue caused by Rome’s connections with other nations was a moral decay. Rome was an empire based on a powerful and hierarchical culture, which could often lead to a culture of self-entitlement and arrogance. This, combined with Rome’s tendency to subjugate weaker nations, often led to a sense of superiority and a belief that Rome had license to do whatever it wanted, regardless of the consequences. This, combined with a lack of accountability and responsibility, often led to a morally bankrupt society.

Additionally, Rome’s connections with other nations often resulted in a “culture of excess”, where vanity and material gain were of the utmost importance. This focus on the individual and material gain often meant that Rome lacked a sense of collective responsibility and community. Rome’s citizens often lacked a sense of patriotism and a commitment to their own people, which meant that they did not always think of the greater good.

Rome’s connections with other nations, then, often had negative consequences for the empire. Not only did it open Rome up to economic issues, political unrest and military action, but it also had a moral and cultural impact. Rome’s connections with other nations, while beneficial in some respects, were ultimately very damaging for the Roman empire.

Failed Strategies

Rome’s connections with other nations often led to failed strategies. Rome’s aggressive foreign policy, its tendency to subjugate weaker nations and its focus on material gain all contributed to a lack of success in its dealings with other nations. Rome’s military campaigns often failed, its attempts to win allies were often fruitless, and its attempts to control its provinces often led to increased rebellion and dissatisfaction.

This lack of success in its dealings with other nations often led to frustration and disillusionment, as Rome was unable to achieve its desired outcomes. This was particularly true in military campaigns, where Rome’s effort to conquer new lands often failed due to a lack of resources, a poor strategy or simply poor luck. Rome’s failure to win allies also caused problems, as Rome’s lack of trustworthiness often meant that it found it difficult to secure reliable allies.

Furthermore, Rome’s over-reliance on military force to achieve its goals meant that it was often met with animosity and hostility from those it had conquered. This ultimately led to resentment and rebellion, as those conquered by Rome often felt like their interests were not being taken into account. This, in turn, weakened Rome’s ability to rule and maintain order, and it often resulted in an overall weakening of the wider empire.


Ultimately, ancient Rome’s connections with other nations resulted in a level of corruption and exploitation. Rome’s imperialism and expansionist policies often resulted in a culture of exploitation and subjugation, as Rome sought to use its military might to enforce its will. This led to a culture of tyranny and oppression, as Rome often sought to impose its own laws and customs on those it conquered. This, in turn, led to a lack of respect and a deep resentment of Rome amongst those who had been conquered.

Additionally, Rome’s connections to other nations often resulted in the exploitation of both people and resources. Rome was often quick to take advantage of weak and vulnerable nations, and it frequently used its power to extract resources or impose tough economic or political conditions. This often led to a lack of prosperity and development in conquered territories, as well as a deep resentment of Rome and its policies.

Finally, Rome’s connections to other nations often led to a culture of corruption and bribery. Rome was often willing to accept bribes from its allies or from those it had conquered, in order to gain an advantage or to achieve its goals. This meant that Rome’s leaders were often willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of their own citizens in order to ensure their own power and wealth. This, in turn, weakened morale and further deepened the resentment of Rome amongst its subjects.

The Impact

In conclusion, it is clear that Ancient Rome’s connections with other nations had a hugely detrimental effect on the empire. Rome’s reliance on trade and its aggressive foreign policy often caused economic issues and political instability. Furthermore, its use of violence and military power often led to resentment and rebellion, while its tendency to alienate potential allies meant that it was often difficult for Rome to protect its interests. Additionally, Rome’s culture of excess and its lack of regard for moral values often led to

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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