The Distinction Between "Greek" and "Roman" Civilizations

Topics: Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, Roman Republic Pages: 5 (1679 words) Published: June 20, 2013
F. Some scholars have argued that the distinction between "Greek" and "Roman" civilizations draws a line that did not really exist in the ancient world. What evidence is there to support this idea, that instead of two histories, it is more accurate to say that there was a single Graeco-Roman civilization, with common values, experiences, and significance? At the same time, why do most historians and historical works, including this class (EH115: Ancient Greece and Rome) adopt the traditional distinctions? What evidence supports that argument. Finally, which of these two possibilities is more persuasive? During the formation of the Roman civilization, they were basically constituted by the Etruscans, which were a blend of Near Eastern, Italian, and Greeks. This Etruscan inheritance was rich of Greek influences, mostly because they were an aristocratic ruling society with strong trading traits, and the Macedonian expansion of Alexander, the Great. Since Italy and Greece are very close to each other and maritime trade was very common at the time, it was not a surprise that Rome had so much Greek influence. These influences were not only limited to politics, social, and economic, but religion; military; cultural and traditions; and literature and arts. As of Politico-socioeconomic influences the Romans adopted the political system from the Greeks incorporating elements of the Athenian democracy was included in the political organization of Rome. The Athenian method of slavery, as base of their society for labor intense jobs, housekeeping, agricultural, and mining industries followed by the social organization of the Roman society was also based on the Greek patriarchal pattern, where the fathers would be the head of the family and could exert total control over the woman and child of the family. The Roman religion was almost a copy of the Greek deities but with slightly different names. For example; the supreme god Zeus, Greek, was respective to Jupiter, the sky god and head of the divine family for Rome, or Ares, god of war for the Greeks, and Mars, for Romans, were clear examples of the influence of the Greeks .Also the way that the Romans used the flight of birds to predict important events just like the Greeks did too. The Roman military success was also a Greek legacy, the technology learned from the Greeks made possible to the Romans to develop their own strategies and structure, based on the Greek Phalanxes, trireme ships, siege equipment, and battle strategies from Alexander, the Great. Great Archimedes left to Rome his war machines that gave the Romans the upper hand when it came to sieging other cities. The cultural impact of Greece in Rome was that most of Roman culture and traditions often resembled the Greek way. For example, the custom of eating reclined instead of sitting came from the Greeks. Another way to see this impact was in Roman art, which often resembled Greek ways of fine arts. Another cultural inheritance is the appreciation of sports; both Greeks and Romans were exceptionally interested in sports and theatric pieces. Writers, painters, and artists also had the Greek styles as base of their work. The alphabet was also adapted to Latin from the Greeks alphabet, and before the mid third century literature was almost inexistent due to that. Although the similarities of these two remarkable civilizations are indeed great, but it would be wrong to assume that the two most influential civilizations of all time are the same. It is for better academic understanding and chronological coherence that these divisions were created, but also to recognize and to attribute the achievements to its respective character of history. Finally, even though the similarities between these two civilizations are indeed great, going from the military inheritance to the very everyday life of the citizens, it is still important to recognize and attribute the achievements to its respective characters. It was for that matter...
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