Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 February 2024



  • Antony Spawforth,
  • Martin Millett
  •  and Stephen Mitchell


Romanization originally meant the spread of Roman civilization to Italy and the provinces. The term was coined in the 19th cent. and used unreflectively until the 1960s, when scholars influenced by post-colonialism started to question its underlying assumptions. In recent years its fitness to describe the complex processes of interaction between the dominant culture of Rome and the local cultures of the empire has been hotly debated, although an alternative term has yet to win broad consensus. A famous passage in Tacitus (Agr.21) suggests that the imperial state did, sometimes, deliberately promote Roman culture in the provinces as a tool of *imperialism. That same culture, however, was itself profoundly shaped by interaction with neighbouring peoples and cultures, especially *Hellenism. Today's exploration of the relationship between Roman and non-Roman cultures emphasizes the responses of the ruled as much as the rulers, and ‘ordinary’ provincials as well as elites. It engages with a range of ideas and models, including integration, acculturation, resistance, identity, and *creolisation.


  • Reception
  • Roman History and Historiography

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription