Roman Religion Art And Architecture History Essay
Rome, the Eternal City, history of which is very rich and old, from architecture, to art, to religion, to the dominance of the Roman Empire…yet, the history of Rome as the capital of Kingdom of Italy or Italy, is still somewhat young and fresh compared to those of the Roman Empire. Rome became the capital of Kingdom of Italy only in 1870 and nine years after the state was forged. On September 20th, of 1870 Italian troops entered the city ending centuries the Papal temporal power. Though at the beginning of the year, the Italian annexation of Rome seemed unlikely due to the international situation, where other great European powers did not take Italy serious, and they opposed the seizure or Rome, especially the catholic states. What changed everything was the Franco-Prussian War, and the withdrawal of the French troops from Rome. Then the Italian army was clear to move in, without risking a direct confrontation with another European power. The symbolic importance of Rome played a large part in its role as the new capital of the nation-state. The responses of the Romans to nationhood varied. The city’s aristocratic families shared the views of the Vatican, that the loss of temporal power was a momentary triumph of the dark powers of modernity. Other Roman, like the small middle class thought they would fare better under the rule of Italy. The city’s Jews were also glad to be released from their ghetto. What isn’t exactly clear is the response of the actual majority of the Roman population, the popolani (as the lower classes were called). Most case studies either focus on the middle class or are otherwise abstract from lower class realities. The best we have to go on is the police reports, to let us in on the actions of the lower-class. In the year following annexation, their reports show of three basic factions competing for the loyalties of the popolani: the new state, its clerical opponents and the radical opposition. Though none of the three could enjoy the complete success of winning over the Roman popolani, they all drew lower-class Romans into the framework of the nation.
As the new capital grew, due to the migration of thousands of people from all over Italy in search of jobs, the relationships between the locals and the newly migrated Italians were often strained, because of the quick growth in population and lack of resources, especially housing, despite a boom in construction. The locals were offended by the northerners or Piedmontese as they were called, who called them lazy and because the Italian migrants were reaping most of the economic and power advantages, all while the locals’ situations changed for the worse. And the competition for housing didn’t help their relationship.
While the competition for the loyalty of the popolani continued, the biggest threat to the state was clerical party. Who still in their mind believed the return of Pius IX to power was possible. But what seemed to be a devout population, their reaction to the transition of governments was not as big or as negative as expected. Despite the efforts of Pius IX to claim that the faithfulness to the new regime was incompatible with the Catholic faith and to himself, the state of popular religion was more ambiguous. Mocking of a priest by lower-class women is more proof that the clerical party didn’t have the support they thought they did within the roman population. The religious allegiance in 1870 had become more politicized, especially during religious holidays. Though clerical support was minimal among the popolani of Rome, in other provinces there were reports of massive support for the pope. Some reports suggest that support was due to clergy member bribing the people with grain, money and liquor. The clergy also made efforts to have demonstrations and revolts, but despite those efforts and vast resources of the Vatican, they were not very successful.
The Roman popolani, did not seem to want to choose any side more than the other. They didn’t show full support for the state, didn’t exactly support the clergy nor did they show support to the third option, of alternative vision offered by the range of emerging nationally oriented forces to the left of the new state. These radical forces were frowned upon by both the papacy and the Italian monarchy. The formation of mutual aid societies was the way the radical organizers tried to win over the loyalties of the lower classes. Some said the formation of those aid societies was the first step towards modern labor organizations. Though such societies we considered illegal after the revolution of 1848, due to them being a safe channel of workers’ discontent, but the new societies were both deferential and limited to existential goals. The fact is that they remained a minority of the trades, and the change in politics, a number of such societies were formed by the end of 1870. A year later, Twelfth National Workers’ Congress was held in Rome. The Congress revealed limitations of Roman workers’ rallying seen the year after the incorporation of Rome into the Republic of Italy. That action by Congress was the beginning of a rift in organized labor. And due to ideological differences that divided the ones present, and numerous trades breaking out openly, the Congress became the illustration of groups vying for proto-organized labor, instead of what it was meant to show, the smooth transition of Roman trades into a unified national movement. The lack of attendees from a working population of Rome was considered either a rejection of politics by them or their political immaturity. Whatever the reason was, neither the nationalist nor the internationalist premise had much luck appealing to the working population of Rome.
A number of early strikes, from tobacco factory workers, who were mostly women, to bakery workers, mason, and excavation workers showed the workers the testing of the state water and saw how the state would respond to their demands. Some of them demanded raised other actual jobs. But not many of these strikes lasted long. And despite a wave of anti-tax protests in November, no reports of any such protests or strikes were reported by police through summer 1871. In the fall of 1871, strikes began to reappear. Railroad workers demanded back pay. Later tobacco factory workers took the Director hostage, to protest against the new clippers rumored to be introduced and deemed dangerous to the workers. Some believed the rumor was planted, to sway the worker their way and put them against the opposition. The workers did not seem to come to the same conclusion.
The relationship between the lower-class Romans and their new government, or their opponent in those first years, isn’t exactly clear to this day. Popular action, suggests that they did not embrace neither side. The instances mentioned might shine a light on some of the actions and answer some questions, but at the end, without more solid information, many questions remain unanswered about the popolani experiences in the first year of nationhood.
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