It is a well-known fact that ancient Greece and Rome laid the foundation for contemporary western civilization, having developed the fundamental ideas and concepts of philosophy and political rule. Nevertheless, both countries had explicit differences in cultural characteristics regarding social life, religion, life values, architecture, and economics. Thus, this paper aims at comparing and contrasting ancient Greece and ancient Rome in terms of the principles of government, art, economy, and religion.
Initially, most of the cities of ancient Greece, including Athens, were ruled by kings and oligarchies. However, in time, this ruling order was altered to democracy, which lasted to Greece’s conquest by Rome (Gill, 2020). This form of government is associated with the power of people that have voting right during elections of strategists and making a decision. It should be indicated that only adult male representatives of the nation had voting rights and the right to be elected. In contrast, the early history of Rome is marked by the epoch of the first Roman kings, which was replaced by a specific republican form of government that combined oligarchy, democracy, and monarchy altogether (Gill, 2020). In particular, the Republican period was determined by the political and, sometimes, military struggle between aristocrats represented by patricians and plebeians, that is, small landowners. It should be specified that the formers were eligible to enter the Senate that elects consuls, while the latter have their officials, namely, tribunes (Vaneza, 2019). Lately, with the arrival of Julius Caesar, the monarchy changed the republican form of government, lasting until the fall of the Roman Empire.
The economy of most ancient cultures, including both Greece and Rome, was based on agriculture. Ancient Greeks ran small self-sufficient farms, mainly producing wheat, wine, and olive oil (Gill, 2020). Moreover, since ancient Greece had direct access to the Mediterranean Sea, it actively took part in that overseas trade, exporting, along with olive oil and wine, and pottery, luxury, to Mediterranean countries, such as Rome Republic, Egypt, Syria, and Carthage. Besides, Greece’s international trade was promoted by its nets of colonies and outposts that, ultimately, became independent countries. Regarding Rome, its distinctive feature in business was the import of wheat, despite having its developed agriculture, luxury, silver, ivory from Greece, Africa, and the Middle East (Vaneza, 2019). Both countries also have highly-developed urban craft industries, manufacturing glass, cloth, pottery, metalwork, and ships (Gill, 2020). Finally, slave labor contributed to the economic growth of ancient Greece and Rome.
Greek art is regarded as superior in those times since most states, including Rome, if not copied, then imitated Greek samples of artwork. Greeks keenly valued the ideal of beauty, reflecting this idea on sculptures, architecture, and pictures (Vaneza, 2019). The purpose of the classical Greek sculptors was to make a perfect art form, while Roman artists aimed to create realistic portraits that symbolized glory and power, primarily for decoration (Gill, 2020). Besides, Greeks had established the fundamental concepts of math, geometry, medicine, and astrology, and ancient Rome considerably contributed to these achievements, notably to math and geometry.
Religion played a huge role for the Greeks since no country in the world had such gods that were so related to man. Overall, there were twelve gods endowed with all human weaknesses, and they often condescended to poor humanity and took part in its fate. The myth was the cornerstone of Greek civilization, creating a holistic image of the world in which everything had its meaning, place, and explanation. The Romans paid high significance to the worship of their gods, among which were Jupiter, Mars, Minerva, and Juno. It also should be added that the Romans were keenly interested in the faiths of other nations and permitted related followers to perform their rituals in all points of the vast Roman Empire.
Gill, N.S. (2020). ThoughtCo. Web.
Vaneza, M. (2019). Ancient Rome and ancient Greece. Connections Academy. Web.