Mediterranean society, a name manifesting proximity to Mediterranean Sea, flourished around 6th century BC and was dominated in its early years by Greek and Roman influence. Greek and Roman periods came sequentially and at times are collectively referred as Greco-Roman. This influence not only defined characteristics of Mediterranean society for many centuries that follow but also had articulate influences on contemporary societies in western world. Similarities between Greeks and Romans
Both Greeks and Romans developed art with their own peculiarities. Forms of art like poetry, drama, mythology, philosophy and architecture defined these civilizations. These contributions are now also known as “classical antiquity” in history which Mediterranean society enjoyed during Greco-Roman period. Greeks and Romans also had strong military legacies. They both military might to counter any threat against their way of life. Romans also developed a strong naval legion which helped them strengthen their empires.
Both Greeks and Romans developed agriculture with a focus on its commercial side and promoted trade. In religion, both did not enforce a universal religion instead promoted concept of tolerating other religious beliefs. Differences between Greeks and Romans Although historians at times refer to Greek and Roman periods in Mediterranean society’s history collectively, both have some clear differences in approach to society and governance. Greek culture is more towards lifestyle and seems to be more focused on development of a society.
On the other hand, Roman civilization was oriented towards creating an empire of which Mediterranean region and society was a part. So, while Greeks had more cultural impact on Mediterranean society, Roman influence was more towards developing governance and systems. Politically, Greeks had a decentralized form of government with many city-states flourishing during their period. On the contrary, Romans developed an empire while developing less independent cities and more focus on creating specialized regions.
Romans also were more focused on enhancing their empire while maintaining a strong linkage with developed transportation networks and administrative control. While Greeks gave Mediterranean society the philosophical works of Plato and Socrates, it was Romans who gave concept of governance, including civil service, public administration and tax collection. Greco-Roman influence on Western world Modern day politics has always been influenced by Greco-Roman influence on Mediterranean society.
A broader case in point would be that modern political systems prevailing in many western countries mirror key elements from Greco-Roman period of Mediterranean. Roman concept of senate and Greek idea of city-state is sprawled around the globe as political systems. Further, concept of constitution and republic instigated in thoughts of Greek philosophers and was later materialized in Roman Empire. So much so, there is an intriguing presence of various elements in modern constitutions, which arguably were formulated by Greco-Roman.
For instance, in United States constitution, President can only be a citizen born on American soil. This is akin to Roman concept of citizenship in which citizens having full rights were free, naturally-born, land-owning individuals. In art, contemporary art has genesis in Greco-Roman influence on Mediterranean world. For instance, architectural concept of Corinthian, Ionic or Doric columns which was developed in Greco-Roman period is basis of classical architecture in Western world.
In order to govern a vast empire, Romans developed concept of public administration not known to human civilization and also created an extensive civil service and formalized methods of tax collection. These innovative concepts can still be found in Western world. Conclusion Greco-Roman influence on Mediterranean society had strong impact on human civilization. Both had differences but of lesser depth compared to strong similarities which existed in both civilizations. This is one of the reasons that for common understanding Greeks and Roman civilizations exist collectively in history under the label “Greco-Roman”.
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