GRECO-ROMAN INFLUENCE

Introduction

Mediterranean was dominated by Greek and roman societies during the classical era. Both of them exhibited some similarities and differences in many areas. These include forms of governance, trade, colonization and cultural interactions. By extension, both of these societies influenced the modern society as we know it today. These influences include idea of democracy, literature contributions, philosophical influence, transport and communication and many other ways. This paper explores the Mediterranean society similarities, differences and influence on contemporary society.

Similarities

The first similarity involves the way these societies emerged. Both of them developed as city-states. Cities provided the best protection from constant invasion by enemies. As a result of coexisting within these fortifications, there was a need to create law and order. Consequently, politics and formal culture in both societies were practiced within a city fortification. In addition to this, both practiced agriculture and followed certain types of rituals and festivals. Another similarity is on the religious practices. Many religious practices in Roman cultures were borrowed from the Greek culture. Romans for instance took the Greek gods during the conquest of Hellenistic world. As result, they adopted Greeks beliefs and practices. In both societies, gods were given specific roles such as god of war, god of love, sex, beauty, lust and others. This classification of gods and goddesses was derived from supernatural beliefs in the spirits. Ethics practice was also developed in these societies that encouraged independence of inner morals that was a function of brevity and self-control.

On the other hand, both of these societies encouraged philosophical thoughts development that was on the other continuum with religion. Philosophy challenged spirituality in human beings in favor of human thinking power. Both of them practiced colonization to extend their territories. Greek was the first to expand its territory in the Mediterranean basin. Roman also followed and extended its civilization to other parts of the Mediterranean (Bentley et al., 2008). Empire development was possible because of existence of slave trade and commercial agriculture.

Differences

There is a thin line separating Greeks from Romans. However, certain elements about their cities and extension of their civilization to other parts of Mediterranean differ. Greek cities were on mountainous terrain as compared to the Romans north-south plains. This made their cities to experience different security threats. Romans were more vulnerable to invasion from the north in Po River and the southern side Sicily. This made Romans to be influenced culturally by Etruscans on the northern side and by Greeks in the south.

The second difference is on the timing and manner of civilization. Rome followed Greek in expanding its influence as the city was still intertwined with its Etruscan origins. Greek civilization also differed from that of Romans because it did not involve development of a Greek empire. Each city-state developed as a separate entity (Essays in the history of western civilization, nd). This isolation was also due to the Greek cities geographical isolation resulting from its terrain. On the other hand, Romans through conquest and extension of citizenship expanded their empires. Romans were able to build empire because of their military strength and their political, organization and legal skills in making their governance longer.

Influence on western World

Democracy developed from Greek and Roman societies. These societies were the first where people were allowed to elect their own leaders and participate in government. Romans also developed the separation of laws like we know it today; that is, public and private laws. Public laws were developed to cover issues that directly involved the state such as treason and taxation. On the other hand, private laws dealt with disputes among people. In addition to religion and democracy, Greek and Roman societies influenced the city planning, especially in terms of infrastructure development.

Greeks and Romans also influenced the world religion. These societies are connected with the origin of religion in the contemporary society. Roman influence includes the spread of Christianity. This religion began as sect by Jewish but Paul of Tarsus helped to make it a world religion appealing to Jews and non-Jews. Although it started with some resistance by fourth

Century, it had developed to be accepted as Roman Empire religion (Sansone 2011).

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