“The Greek Influence on Rome”
Throughout Roman history, there have been many changes that have taken place both in public and private domain. There was one group of people in particular who sparked very influential changes on Rome, the Greeks. Greece was highly respected around the Mediterranean in most of ancient history, because they were the more advanced society both socially and militarily. It makes perfect sense that Rome wanted to take elements of Greek culture and incorporate it into the ever growing powerhouse that Rome was becoming. With this in mind, it is important to understand the different aspects of Greek influence that ended up shaping Rome. The involvement of the Greeks in everyday life in Rome, famous Greek events and historical figures, and Greek religion are a few broad examples of the lasting impacts the Greeks had on Rome’s society that will be explored.
Greece’s many influences on Rome are said to go back as far as the 8th Century BCE. There were a handful of Greek settlements around the southern part of the Italian peninsula, leaving their trace with other cultures like the Etruscans [ (Winn) ]. The locations of Rome and the Greek city-states, with respect to each other, were very close. Because of this, there was always a constant flow of contact, developing a connection between two cultures. With contact and trade, there was an exchange of ideas between the two cultures. On top of all that, Greece seemed to be the image of success in the Mediterranean for quite a long time. The Romans did not immediately implement Greek morals and culture into their own city, because the Romans were more about working hard and farming rather than being intellectual and sophisticated [ (Winn) ]. What ultimately made the Romans open themselves to other things was when they abolished the Monarchy in 509 BCE [ (Winn) ]. The transition between types of government was a tough change for the citizens to adjust to. Rome’s citizens were looking for something more at this point, and they found out more about the Hellenistic world. As Rome expanded and started conquering surrounding cities, they did not destroy them or heavily abuse them. Instead, they let the cultures stay as they were and help out Rome whenever it was needed. Because Rome did this, they allowed for Hellenistic cultures to thrive in the Italian peninsula. Since Romans were being exposed to it while they were moving around, they were able to bring back some Greek culture with them. This was reflected through use of Greek elements in public events. One example is from the second century BCE, when Romans enjoyed comedies and tragedies that were patterned after Greek dramas [ (Shelton 346) ]. Showing interest in these types of plays showed that they were not so close-minded about having a different culture’s plays being used to entertain them. Greek entertainment was not only liked during the republic, but also during the reigns of Emperors. From the general public, to emperors, the Greeks made their cultural impression on Rome and it was there to stay. After all of the elements from Greece that the Romans used, the Greeks had even more of an influence on Rome once they were inside the city. While expanding their empire, the Romans defeated the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BCE. After the battle, the Romans gained a lot of wealth. In fact, many Romans brought back Hellenistic artwork and educated Greeks to Rome, using them to help the nobles gain more knowledge by teasing them with the newfound knowledge from other lands [ (Winn) ]. This opened up new opportunities, even though the Romans may not have intended them to happen. Greek slaves were acquired by Rome, essentially making them a part of the Roman family. With all of the slaves entering Rome, there was an ever increasing population of Greeks in and around the city. Roman elites were affected by Greek influence more than...
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