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Compare and Contrast Ancient Rome and Greece

The ancient Roman and Greek civilizations in Europe started to grow toward a refined order of society (Fant & Mary 14). Since there were no past foundations to base their standards on, it was acceptable that there were some hiccups in their development as a society (Fant & Mary 14). Even though both governments collapsed, they had similarities and differences when it came to their existence. This paper seeks to compare and contrast the ancient Rome and Greece.

To begin with, the Romans and the Greeks employed the democratic system of governance in their rule. Democratic kind of governance advocates for a ruling system that is free for all. Every government that is presently in existence and employs the democratic system should be grateful to ancient Greece. Greece came up with novel ideas of democracy and everything that accompanies it, like constitutions, citizenship, and many more (Steiner, 156; Michell, 234; Gilje et al., 382). Since Rome endeavored to govern a republic, their desires were different from those of the Greeks. The Romans employed common sense and practicality as opposed to the Greeks (Thorsteinsson, 140 Roberts, 84). In their empirical and pragmatic fashion, they slowly developed the systems of legal state and public politics (Thorsteinsson, 140 Roberts, 84).

Secondly, the decline of the Greeks resulted from the breakdown of social theories (Steiner, 126; Michell, 278; Gilje et al., 415). When the residents stopped viewing the law as a reflection of sacred practices bound by the gods, however, they saw it as another human creation, and the respect for the law reduced, dwindling the establishments of the society (Steiner, 182 Michell, 267, Gilje, et al., 423). These actions led to moral uncertainty, party conflicts, and politicians who were after their gain. The Romans were not any different in their fall. They suffered the same fate, which was rooted in an unfocused government (Roberts, 64). The Romans had the chance to create a professional civil service to govern their conquered lands. On the contrary, they chose to employ city-state institutions that had evolved for another purpose in administering the empire (Roberts, 67).

Lastly, the Romans and Greeks epitomized the skill of art. The two cultures played a significant role in revolutionizing the art of civilization. They introduced new standards when it came to the people’s interaction in the society. The Romans borrowed a lot of artwork from the Greeks and later customized them (Roberts, 70). In particular, they adopted architectural styles that are somehow similar to those of the Greeks.

However, there were significant differences between the two empires. For instance, the women’s rights in the two realms were different. Roman women had it easy compared to Greek women. The women in Greece had strict rules and conditions and could barely make it to some public places (Steiner, 197 Michell, 289 Gilje et al., 437). In as much as Roman women had strictly delimited functions too, they could access most of the public places; they had the right to divorce and greater property rights (Thorsteinsson, 120 Roberts, 76). Moreover, many well-known Roman matrons were public figures in the public domain (Thorsteinsson, 140 Roberts, 84).

Secondly, the Romans and the Greeks were both ethnocentric when it came to modern standards. However, Romans were open to the assimilation of different individuals into their institutions. Most non-Greeks embraced the Greek language, lifestyles, and habits following the era of Alexander. However, the approach was cultural and not political (Steiner, 186 Michell, 278 Gilje et al., 530). Romans were very strict in assimilating the residents of their conquests. Non-Romans became citizens even in the earlier times (Thorsteinsson, 82, Roberts 73). Rome had everyone in its jurisdiction as a resident (Thorsteinsson, 82; Roberts, 73).

Lastly, there is a stereotype that Romans were good at practical applications whereas Greeks were the masters of academic and abstraction pursuits. There could be some expectations of this generalization; nonetheless, it is a helpful one in comparative uses. Greek thinkers had skills in logic, philosophy, geometry, and mathematics (Steiner, 186 Michell, 243 Gilje et al., 498). Romans were brilliant in engineering, successful at sanitation, and aced the skills of logistics and organization (Thorsteinsson, 107 Roberts, 78). Most books in philosophy are full of Greek authors, and the Greek language coined many academic terms.

In conclusion, both the Romans and the Greeks used the democratic system of governance. The two governments collapsed due to the breakdown of social theories. Moreover, the Romans and the Greeks capitalized on art, and they borrowed from each other. Also, there were significant differences between the two empires. For instance, Greek women had limited access to public places and had to take care of household duties. For the Romans, in as much as women had household duties, they enjoyed the freedom of movement, they were at liberty to divorce, and had positions in the society hierarchically. Also, Greece assimilated non-Greeks only after the era of Alexander and instigated by culture whereas Rome had this practice much earlier. Lastly, the Romans embraced the art of practical applications, whereas the Greeks were great at theoretical and abstract pursuits.

Work Cited

Fant, Maureen B., and Mary R. Lefkowitz. Women’s Life in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.Print.

Gilje, Nils, and Gunnar Skirbekk. A history of Western thought: from Ancient Greece to the twentieth century. Routledge, 2017.

Michell, Humfrey. The economics of ancient Greece. Cambridge University Press, 2014.Print.

Roberts, Charlotte. “Living with the ancient Romans: past and present in eighteenth-century encounters with Herculaneum and Pompeii.” huntington library quarterly 78.1 (2015): 61-85.

Steiner, Deborah Tarn. The tyrant’s writ: myths and images of writing in ancient Greece. Princeton University Press, 2015.Print.

Thorsteinsson, Runar. Paul’s interlocutor in Romans 2: function and identity in the context of ancient epistolography. Vol. 40. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015.



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