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Old May 15 2013, 10:17 PM   #16
Silvercrest
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The Overlord wrote: View Post
The Romulans have been called "Space Romans" in the past, but how accurate is that?
The Overlord wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
One probably shouldn't take the idea of the Romulans being "Space Romans" too literally
It seems like too easy an explanation for their society and doesn't take into account the long and confusing history of Roman Society.
It's not an explanation, it's a tag line. Who actually calls them that and expects it to convey technical accuracy?

Anyway, "Space Romans" is about as accurate as anything can be if you're limited to two words or less. You could just as easily tag Klingons as "Space Barbarians", Kirk's crew as "Space Cowboys", or Neelix as a "Space Hedgehog". But those are summations, not explanations.
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Old May 15 2013, 10:37 PM   #17
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

I think what The Overlord is getting at is that the only things that are remotely Roman about the Romulans, are their names.

As such tagging them as "Space Romans" makes no sense.
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Old May 16 2013, 01:02 AM   #18
Nerys Myk
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post

It seems like too easy an explanation for their society and doesn't take into account the long and confusing history of Roman Society.
Whats confusing about Roman Society? Any society that last for centuries is going to evolve and change.

While the creators of Star Trek borrowed from the Romans in naming the Romulans as a species and individuals, the actual source for Balance of Terror was a WWII submarine film. And the isolation of Romulans is more reminiscent of Japan and China at various points in history.
Its confusing because the Roman Empire existed for a thousand years and went through massive changes in that amount of time, so just calling them "Space Romans" as some people do, doesn't really tell you anything about them, really.

It just seems like the Romulan Empire seems very under developed compared to other societies on the Star Trek TV shows.
For most people "Roman" means Imperial Rome at it height,as seen in the movies. They aren't thinking of The Eastern Empire, the Holy Roman Empire or Tony Roma's.

Duncan MacLeod wrote: View Post
I think what The Overlord is getting at is that the only things that are remotely Roman about the Romulans, are their names.

As such tagging them as "Space Romans" makes no sense.
Very few fans, if any, I've encountered refer to them as "Space Romans". That was just a starting point for developing the Romulans. By the Enterprise Incident, they didn't even use Roman sounding names anymore.
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Old May 16 2013, 05:33 AM   #19
Silvercrest
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Who actually calls them that and expects it to convey technical accuracy?
Duncan MacLeod wrote: View Post
I think what The Overlord is getting at is that the only things that are remotely Roman about the Romulans, are their names.

As such tagging them as "Space Romans" makes no sense.
Fair enough. But as Nerys points out, maybe I should have left it at,
"Who actually calls them that?"
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Old May 16 2013, 01:35 PM   #20
USS Einstein
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The Romulans were influenced by Rome, but also by other cultures, perhaps including Imperial Japan.

But what is most important in making a species believable, is making their culture rational and pragmatic. So, the Romulans are not a like-for-like model of the Roman Empire in space. Rather, we can perhaps infer, they have arrived at a similar culture through practical necessity.

Rome's system arose because it's rulers desired conquest, but had no justification for calling Egypt or Greece a part of Rome - they were foreign lands, and everybody knew it - and there was no Eastern concept of 'universal empire' in which nations became irrelevent, because Rome was rational and not given to idealistic flights, so instead the new territories became provinces, overseen by the senate, with regions governed by Proconsuls, etc. Wars were justified in terms of defence, often, as is necessary in an imperial democracy. We can perhaps infer that when the early Romulans entered space, starting as little more than thugs, they needed an imperial system by which a senate that only governed Romulus could govern other species - so their system of an imperial military, and proconsuls, etc, arose.
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Old May 16 2013, 09:17 PM   #21
Marsden
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

I've read that the Romulans actually consider themselves the dominant species of the galaxy and that it's their destiny to eventually conquer all. In that light, comparing them to Romans doesn't really work. How they got that attitude or if it's still the "offical" attitude or what generation is debateable.

The Vulcanoid species seems to have a tendency towards fanaticism, one devoted to peace and logic the other toward war and conquest. So extrapolate the Vulcan's logic to the Romulan's desire to be overlords and that's a reasonable conclusion.
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Old May 16 2013, 11:18 PM   #22
Nightdiamond
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

They seem to be literally patterned after the Romans. Their home planets are called Romulus and Remus-- the same as the mythological founders of Rome. What a coincidence! Lol

Their soldiers are called centurians, they call themselves an empire. Even their hairstyle resembles the ancient roman style.

It was way too obvious they were meant to represent a menacing empire to the Federation.

It worked in TOS, but TNG toned them down and they seemed more like the mustache twirling villains trope.

Power and military wise, the Dominion appeared the most Roman-like.

Last edited by Nightdiamond; May 17 2013 at 02:23 AM.
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Old May 17 2013, 01:20 AM   #23
Rulius
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, roman or an empire. The only successor to the western half of the empire was Byzantium.
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Old May 17 2013, 05:24 PM   #24
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

Rulius wrote: View Post
The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, roman or an empire.
Dang, now I'm all verklempt.
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Old May 17 2013, 06:29 PM   #25
Marsden
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

Rulius wrote: View Post
The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, roman or an empire. The only successor to the western half of the empire was Byzantium.

Charlemange isn't going to like this.
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Old May 18 2013, 12:18 AM   #26
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The 'Space Romans' analogy worked better in TOS than in TNG and later. And, it only works if you think of Rome as first century Rome.

In TNG/DS9 I think they were meant more to be the USSR. A secretive, closed off, militaristic society with secret police who disappear people. In a cold war with the Federation, playing spy games with the Federation and Klingons, portrayed as wanting a war but not wanting to be viewed as the instigators.
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Old May 18 2013, 12:46 AM   #27
Gov Kodos
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The Romans and the Classical era were still quite popular in film when TOS was made. Sword and Sandal imagery in names and titles would quickly convey a sense of empire, honor, conquest to the audience in quick popular shorthand. Twenty years later, that vogue gone, the Romulans got completely changed from the TOS version, or more accurately perhaps, the patina didn't carry the same imagery for the makers and their audience. I don't think they meant the Romulans to be space Romans, but they did want to convey a verisimilitude to a pop culture image of a people like those in sword and sandal films.
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Old May 18 2013, 10:02 AM   #28
Timo
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

The Overlord wrote: View Post
I am not sure I would consider MI5 or the FBI similar to KGB or the Gestapo, the President of the US and the Prime Minister of the UK is criticized all the time and I don't see those people who are critical just disappear the next day. But you couldn't criticize Hitler or Stalin in such a manner and expect nothing will happen to you.
Not every secret police is there to bolster the ego of the head of state. Say, the secret police of 19th century Russia couldn't give a flying fuck about how people spoke of the silly Czar - but they made people disappear all right, in the name of national security and the rest of the usual excuses. The CIA does the very same thing nowadays.

A CIA agent couldn't bully around members of the US military the way the Tal'Shiar bullied around members of the Romulan military in Face of the Enemy.
Why not? CIA controls some resources of its own for conducting aerial reconnaissance in Afghanistan, but apparently they confiscate the rest (say, airspace, frequencies, bandwidth and runways for UAVs) from the USAF, simply by virtue of being a higher authority.

So exactly who are these secret police organizations in all modern democracies?
You already listed some of them. Their methods of operation remain just as horrid as in the bad old days of the Czar's Okhrana, they torture and kill undesirables in the name of <insert virtue here>, and somehow they cannot be eradicated.

A democracy needs more then elections to be a democracy, it needs more just elections, it needs rights of citizens to be respected.
That's got nothing to do with democracies. A sovereign monarch may respect his subjects, and a democracy may torture and assassinate its subjects - indeed, both things are taking place in the 21st century just as much as they have done in the preceding ones.

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Old May 18 2013, 11:18 AM   #29
TheSubCommander
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

USS Einstein wrote: View Post
The Romulans were influenced by Rome, but also by other cultures, perhaps including Imperial Japan.

But what is most important in making a species believable, is making their culture rational and pragmatic. So, the Romulans are not a like-for-like model of the Roman Empire in space. Rather, we can perhaps infer, they have arrived at a similar culture through practical necessity.

Rome's system arose because it's rulers desired conquest, but had no justification for calling Egypt or Greece a part of Rome - they were foreign lands, and everybody knew it - and there was no Eastern concept of 'universal empire' in which nations became irrelevent, because Rome was rational and not given to idealistic flights, so instead the new territories became provinces, overseen by the senate, with regions governed by Proconsuls, etc. Wars were justified in terms of defence, often, as is necessary in an imperial democracy. We can perhaps infer that when the early Romulans entered space, starting as little more than thugs, they needed an imperial system by which a senate that only governed Romulus could govern other species - so their system of an imperial military, and proconsuls, etc, arose.
+1 this

And

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
The 'Space Romans' analogy worked better in TOS than in TNG and later. And, it only works if you think of Rome as first century Rome.

In TNG/DS9 I think they were meant more to be the USSR. A secretive, closed off, militaristic society with secret police who disappear people. In a cold war with the Federation, playing spy games with the Federation and Klingons, portrayed as wanting a war but not wanting to be viewed as the instigators.
+1 this


There are some very visual and some superficial connections to Rome and Romulans, but we must remember that Romulus and Remus are the Earth names for Romulans\Remans. Romulans and Remans, don't call themselves that in their own language. I also always thought that the 23rd century Romulans were more like the honorable adversary, rather than the enemy, and are almost sympathetic (like in Balance of terror). The 24th century Romulans are less sympathetic, less honorable, and less Vulcan-esk, too

Also, I had always felt that during TOS, the Romulans were the cold war analogy to the Communist Chinese, and the Klingons were analogous to the USSR, too.

During TNG yes they became more of a stereotypical villain. During first run, it was hard to compare the Romulans to any power in the post-Cold War era of the late 1980s and 1990s, but in retrospect, I think they can almost be compared to North Korea, if North Korea was an actual empire.
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Old May 18 2013, 12:30 PM   #30
Timo
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Re: The Romulans as "Space Romans"

we must remember that Romulus and Remus are the Earth names for Romulans\Remans. Romulans and Remans, don't call themselves that in their own language.
ENT "Minefield" casts that very much in doubt.

When Romulans communicate with Hoshi Sato in their own language, she hears them identify themselves as the Rumalin. T'Pol corrects that to "Romulan" - probably because that's the preferred Vulcan pronunciation, as Hoshi must have gotten the Romulan pronunciation right on the first take.

Once it becomes known that these folks are the Romulans, the rest then probably follows. Earthlings learn (falsely!) that Romulans live on two homeworlds - so those become Romulus and Remus. Earthlings also learn of a system of representation, and apply whimsical Roman names to the various titles in that system. Likewise, they apply whimsical Roman names to the military titles and practices. All of this silliness is all the more to be expected since Earth and Romulus are at war at the time this all happens: the enemy is naturally cast in a silly light.

The Universal Translator at this time apparently isn't quite as advanced as it is in TOS and later Trek periods, but it may be blamed for some of these translations as well. Eager to satisfy its users, it may start to follow the "Roman pattern"...

...After all, it gave Kirk and Spock "troglytes" for a cave-dwelling culture, and it took some time for the heroes to figure this out. They hadn't put the thought in the UT's cyber-mind. And apparently nobody else had, either, because Spock would have known what those putative other Feds would have known about the state of affairs at Ardana.

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