3 Ways The Roman Social War Changed Italian Society Forever

Event Date91-87 BC
Impact LevelMedium
Why Event HappenedItalian Allies Wanted Roman Citizenship. Rome did not want to grant it
Result of EventItalians became Roman Citizens.

Few events throughout history have impacted Italian society as much as the Roman Social War of the first century BC. This war took place during the height of the late Roman Republic and resulted in over 100,000 Italian deaths. As a result of this war the society of Italy would be changed forever.

There are 3 ways the Roman Social War of 91-87 BC forever changed Italian society. First, the Social War was the first instance of Italian unification. Second, the Roman Social War created literary texts which helped jumpstart the later Renaissance. Third, the Roman Social War led to the creation of engineering marvels which are still used today.

Today few people understand the importance of the Roman Social War. Before the Roman Social War the citizen basis of Rome was confined to inhabitants of the city of Rome. After the Social War however the population of Rome’s citizens increased drastically.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 ways the Roman Social War changed Italian Society Forever.

1.) The Social War Was The First Instance Of Italian Unification

One of the major ways in which the Roman Social War forever changed Italian society would be the first true unification of Italy.

Almost two millennia before the modern nation of Italy was created Rome unified the Italian people under one flag. This was because the Social War was fought over giving the rest of Italy Roman Citizenship.

The Senate of Rome did not want to give the Italians Roman citizenship. This was because giving the Italians Roman citizenship would drastically expand the power of the Roman people to veto laws recommended by the Roman Senate.

The concept of uniting the Italians and Romans into one group of people was not new during the Social War. The Gracchi almost 30 years before (123) tried unsuccessfully to give the Italians Roman citizenship.

In 91 BC this concept would cause a war to break out called the Social War. Within this war over 100,000 Italians would die over the concept of uniting Italy under Rome.

The Social War only lasted 4 years and in the end the Italians were given citizenship.

This forever changed Italian society as now there was a concept of Italy that would continue up to the modern day. Even though Italians would continue to fight over who should rule Italy throughout history, there was a concept of Italy thanks to the Social War.

This unification of Italy during the time of the Romans remains one of the ways that the Roman Social War forever changed Italian Society.

2.) The Roman Social War Created Literary Texts Which Helped Jumpstart The Later Renaissance

Another way in which the Roman Social War forever changed Italian Society was by creating literary texts that helped to jumpstart the later Italian Renaissance.

The word renaissance means “rebirth” in French. The reason for this rebirth was 15th century Europe ‘rediscovering’ the ancient Roman texts of Cicero, Seneca, Livy, Virgil, Horace, and Ovid. Further, ancient Roman Latin translations of Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato were discovered as well.

Most of these ancient Roman writers were born into families that would have been excluded from Roman citizenship without the Social War.

Virgil for example, was born in northern Italy shortly after the end of the Social War. He was born into a normal Italian family that held little political influence. Had the Social War not taken place it’s doubtful that his epic Aeneid would have been nearly as famous.

During the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century several very important artists and authors would draw their inspiration from the ancient Roman texts. An example of this can be seen in Machiavelli’s critique of Cicero in his The Prince.

Simply put, without the Roman Social War it’s doubtful that the European Renaissance would have taken off.

3.) The Roman Social War Led To The Creation Of Engineering Marvels Which Are Still Used Today.

As a result of the Roman Social war Rome began to build several monumental engineering marvels that forever altered Italian society.

One example of this would be the construction of the Roman Pantheon after the creation of the Roman Empire. This pantheon was created to house a large body of people for state religious purposes. After the Social War this meant that all of the Italians would have had access to this monumental structure.

The purpose of the Pantheon of Rome has always been a mystery to historians. No primary source evidence dictates its true purpose. However modern excavations and analysis has indicated that the Pantheon might have been used as the center point for all Roman people to gather.

Many buildings and inventions were created to serve the now drastically expanded citizen body of the Roman people. All of Italy had access to these new baths, buildings, and inventions of the ancient Romans.

This push to build and invent would also build roads across Italy that still are used today. This further helped to connect Italians across Italy even up to this day.

This remains one of the main ways in which the Roman Social war forever changed Italian society forever. Without the Roman Social war its doubtful that there would have been a need to create such amazing structures.


There you have it; an entire article that outlines the 3 ways in which the Roman Social War forever changed Italian society.

The Social War remains one of the most important events of the late Roman Republic. It forever increased the citizen body of the Romans and helped to Romanize all Italians. This romanization remains to this day an influence in Italian Society. Prospective graduate students looking to research the concept of Italy and Rome will find substantial material in the Social War.

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