British and Roman Empires: An Examination of How and Why the British Used the Analogy of Roman Imperialism for Their Own Imperial Intentions
Mazur, Amanda Katherine
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Rome has been used as an ideological identifier by many empires, and not least by the British Empire. There are many studies that have compared Victorian Britain and Rome, but few focus on an earlier period in British history, in which the foundations of Britain as the "New Rome" began to form. This thesis traces the initial relationship that was being forged by British politicians with regard to Rome, and most especially the ideas of Thomas Babington Macaulay. Macaulay championed Roman literature and history during his time in India. Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome and his "Minute on Indian Education" can both be used to trace his interest in Roman history, and this work shall discuss how Macaulay, as well as other politicians began to see Rome as their direct predecessor; an entity that should be emulated and superseded in order to create a strong British Empire. This thesis will argue that it is necessary to look at the early nineteenth century to garner an understanding of this ideological emulation, and that the ideas of cultural dissemination upon a native population were clearly formulated with the Roman model in mind. It will also analyze Roman and its empire to draw comparisons between Rome and Britain as well as to offer an insight into the imperial ideas of both empires.