Greek’s faith in the superiority of Hellenic culture explains the swiftness of Roman conquest. In explaining the success of Rome, Greeks emphasized the character and structure of the state, its attitude towards citizenry, as well as the nature of its Constitution. Initially, they attempted to understand the Roman institutions by absorbing them into the models of Hellenistic political thoughts. Conversely, the process attempted to erase the significant differences between the political theories of the two states.
Nevertheless, acknowledgment of Rome’s affiliation to Italy created a way through which Greeks could fancy their assimilation into the Roman community. According to the available conceptual paradigms to Greeks during that age, only the polis offered a model for collectivity in which citizens had equal rights and were able to voice out their patriotic sentiments. The concept of collectivity was absent in the Greek society because it was a monarchial state. The fact that Roman Italy was not a polis did not lead to the concoction of the terminology. Considering the culture of the two states, Rome was a Greek city state.
Rome and Greece are situated in the Mediterranean. Rome was assimilated into Greek culture though there were significant differences between them, particularly the Athens. The history of the ancient Greek and Rome is comparable regarding society, politics, and economy of the two states. During the colonial period, both Romans and Greeks influenced one another through trade at the Mediterranean and the Black Sea territories. Commercial activities within these regions thrived because of security provided by the great Roman military which controlled the areas. As time passed coupled with civilization, the Romans adopted the Greek’s culture.
There were many similarities between the economy of the ancient Greek and Rome. While the latter developed through conquest, the former expanded through sea trade. Initially, Greeks were fishermen and traders. Similarly, the economy of both states depended on agriculture where wheat was the dominant crop. However, the Greek diversified to mass production of olive oil because of their poor farming methods which resulted in reduced wheat productivity, while Romans complimented this with bronze and pottery productions making it have the same similarity concerning their commercial cultures.
The source of labor to work on the farms and mining fields came from slaves who were the prisoners of war. The artworks practiced in these regions were based on Greek art, which was thought to be more superior to the Roman one. Greek artworks consisted of realistic portraits, while Romans created ideal artistic forms. Athens was affiliated to Venus de Milo while Romans was associated with Fresci- a mosaic or wall painting art. Architecturally, the Romans were famous for building better structures characterized by arches and domes, while their counterparts were poor architectures. Both states built identical temples, but those of Romans were in dome and vault shapes and looked more aesthetic.
Among the Greeks, there were slaves, metics, freedmen, and citizens. Greek women were barred from owning property; they were housewives: they got married and bore and took care of their children. Conversely, Roman Empire consisted of slaves, freedmen, patricians, and plebeians. Their women could own property; they were humble, peaceful, devoted, and loyal in marriage (Lightman and Lightman 13). Though there were minor similarities between the two societies, both practiced slavery.
In both cultures, bisexuality was accepted, and the wealthy Greeks morally tolerated homosexuality. Besides, these cultures embraced polytheism, whereas Greeks believed in both life on earth and afterlife. The Romans believed that an individual’s moral behaviors on earth would make him or her one of the gods in heaven. Initially, both countries were ruled by kings. The Roman kings were replaced by monarchies, oligarchy, and democratic governments.
Conversely, the Greek kings were substituted by Republican government consisting of loyal blood assembly and senate and later emperors (Bispham, Harrison, and Sparkes 463). In both governments, elected officials represented the people, and the citizens were encouraged to take part in decision-making. The democratic government was characterized by littoral sovereignty among the people, while citizens had ultimate freedom in the republican government.
Conclusively, trade was the primary form of interaction between the ancient Rome and Greece, and this was made possible because of proximity. The Romans were absorbed into the Greek culture. In addition, both countries had their economies run by agriculture and mining, but there were architectures, polytheists, and artists. Romans and Greeks were republicans and democrats respectively. Although there were many similarities and differences in their ways of life, Rome and Greece remained separate territories with different sovereignty and governance. Nonetheless, the two societies had similar cultures and customs. Because of practicing most of the Greeks’ ways of life, Rome was a Greek State
Bispham, Edward, Thomas Harrison, and Brian A. Sparkes. The Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome. Edinburgh: Edinburgh U Press, 2010.
Lightman, Marjorie, and Benjamin Lightman. A to Z of Ancient Greek and Roman Women. New York: Facts on File, 2008.