Borrowing In The History And Culture

Since ancient times, different cultures, peoples, and tribes have borrowed certain cultural elements from each other. They started with the language and ended with the aspects of clothing, music, and demeanor. Like now, in the era of globalism, different cultures and nations borrow Anglo-Saxon, German, Japanese, and other elements, and people of the past did the same. The Assyrian Empire, for example, became a source of borrowing not only from its immediate neighbors but also from cultures and future nations millennia later (Palmisano, 2018). In search of what can be borrowed, individuals, entire groups, and peoples seek to dilute their cultural and linguistic pool. People always try terms for new things and phenomena, a new, exotic sound that replaces dull motifs. This results from a simple desire for variety and a creative search for new strange ideas and concepts.

However, borrowers often seek to modernize something in their culture. For example, the Romans, who did not have a fleet at the beginning of their culture, borrowed the design of ships from the Carthaginians. Alternatively, the hot baths of the Romans, which they called terma, have become the standard of hygiene even in modern times.

As a rule, trade, politics, and, unexpectedly, the war also played an essential role in spreading cultural innovations. The city of Assur spread its culture and influence through trade and later war, creating one of the first empires in history (Palmisano, 2018). Furthermore, it is empires that are an example of how borrowing is imposed. Roman culture and the Greek culture on which Rome stood laid the foundation for modern European and Western civilization. What the Romans called Pax Romana, or Roman Peace, was Rome’s sphere of cultural influence. Despite the common misconception, the Roman world was not limited to the empire but also to its closest neighbors, who actively borrowed Roman culture.

All this suggests that the above reasons and motives for borrowing have been and will always be in human culture. Specific things make cultures attractive to borrow openness to trade and exchange, progressiveness, originality, and innovation. All these things make culture attractive for borrowing by other peoples and individuals. It is safe to say that borrowing across cultures has been justified for many reasons related to the borrowers and the cultures from which they borrow.


Palmisano, A. (2018). The geography of trade: Landscapes of competition and long-distance contacts in Mesopotamia and Anatolia in the Old Assyrian colony period. Van Haren Publishing.