Greek and Roman Influences on the 21st Century

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Throughout history many cultures have benefited from the influences of one another. Some of the most common ways of life have developed from some of the most ancient and primeval eras. From the way we cook, play sports or the way we socialize we have adopted habits from many cultures. The 21st century has benefited greatly from ancient Greek and Roman cultures.

Ancient Greek and Roman Influence has developed over thousands of years and with time many of us today never realize how much of that past lives today. Greek architecture is one of the most evident and visible influences. Greek architecture consists of Doric, Ionic or Corinthian styles or orders (Scranton, 2010). Most of what we know about Greek architecture comes from the decrepit shell of temples and buildings from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The Doric style (a more simple style) is sturdy and unadorned. Doric columns have no base and rise from the floor of the building. There’s a capital that forms at the top of the columns; and it consists of two sections the Echinus and the Abacus. This method was used mostly in mainland Greece and southern Italy (Wesley, 2010).

Today you can look out of your bedroom window and see Doric columns used on a porch of a house. You can also find the Doric order on many important buildings. For instance, the Doric columns of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC are a great use of Doric style. It also shows similarities in how we pay homage to people of great importance compared to the Greeks and how they paid homage to their gods.

The Ionic style is more elegant and elaborate of the two orders. At the tiered base of the columns connects Twenty-four flutes separated by narrow vertical bands. The capital is ornamented with volutes, which consist of a pair spirals. This style was found in eastern Greece (Wesley, 2010). At present, you can come across Ionic styles as well. The Ionic style adorns the Bank of America located in downtown Chicago, or the most famous display of Ionic style, the White House.

Another illustration of Greek and Roman influence is Roman law; the laws of the twelve Roman tables. This is the earliest attempt by the Romans to create a code of law, and form a centerpiece of the Roman constitution. In 462 BC, after a 200 year war between plebeians and patricians, a plebian named Terentilius thought it would be fair to write to down laws (, 2010). “(I)n order that (the patricians) unbounded license might not last forever, he (Terentilius) would bring forward a law that five persons be appointed to draw up laws regarding the consular power, by which the consul should use that right which the people should have given him over them, not considering their own caprice and license as law.” (, 2010) At that time the plebeians were not aware of basics of roman laws as they were kept secret (, 2010). “The plebians were in ignorance of the Roman laws, which were a secret of the pontifices (priests) and other patricians and were administered with unfair severity against plebians.” (, 2010)

These Twelve Tables are the foundation of many court systems including the United States and most other westernized countries. Laws such as, defamation and slander laws are similar. Table Seven:

If a person slanders another by song, the slanderer shall be clubbed to death (, 2010). Our laws have evolved in many ways since past days but the structure has given many societies a strong foundation.

Furthermore, Greek and Roman influence are the ones we most enjoy. From our music, art, plays, and literature they have weight in many of our most famous accomplishments in history. From Shakespeare to Steven Spielberg, these ancient cultures sparked some of the most unique dreams. For most of us the most well known influence of Ancient Greece was the Olympics. The Greeks invented this athletic competition. Like today’s Olympic Games, these games took place every...
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