Connections between Star Wars and the Romans

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George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, has been quite transparent about the various influences on his Star Wars films.

His Jedi Knights were highly influenced by medieval knighthood, for example.

The Palpatine rise-to-power was paralleled with the rise to Napoleon Bonaparte, the Roman Republic becoming the Roman Empire, or to Nazi Germany during World War Two.

The energy field known as “the force” is similar to Daoism, and the emphasis on mind over matter is reminiscent of Buddhism.

One civilization from real history that has striking similarities to the plots in some of the Star Wars films are the Romans. There are at least 10 connections between Star Wars and the Romans, and in this video, I will just scratch the surface of half of them.

Quick background… the Romans originated in what is now central Italy and over several centuries began to dominate the lands around the Mediterranean, establishing a successful Republic that lasted for hundreds of years, a republic that later transitioned to a successful Empire that lasted several hundred years more until Rome was sacked for the last time in 476AD, marking the end of the empire and the beginning of the Dark Ages in Europe. Now, what did they have to do with Star Wars?

First, the Romans enjoyed centuries of a successful republic, a type of representative democracy that has citizens vote to elect representatives, in their case, Senators. In Star Wars episode 1: The Phantom Menace, the galaxy is also represented by elected senators from various systems, planets, and regions.

Second, in many ways, the Jedi Knights, as well as most other commoners in the Star Wars universe, wear ropes that are strikingly similar to the togas that were worn by Roman citizens.

Third, the Romans are famous for their gladiator fights in arenas throughout their provinces, and especially in the Roman colosseum. Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones featured an arena in which Windu, Obi Wan, Aniken, and other Jedi knights fought for their lives.

Fourth, in those arenas, the Romans were known to persecute Christians by putting them on crosses or feeding them to lions. In Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, order 66 was carried out in which all Jedi were persecuted, hunted down and killed.

And fifth, the Roman Republic transitioned to the Roman Empire with Julius Caesar, then with his nephew Octavian, a.k.a. Augustus. In much the same way, the Galactic Senate transitions to a galactic empire under former senator Palpatine, a.k.a. the Emperor.

These are only some of the connections between Star Wars and the Romans. The links below discuss more, as well as provide resources, slideshows, and handouts. Thumbs up and subscribe if you like what you saw. Thanks for watching!
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