How did Greece influence the culture of Rome? What were the similarities and differences? Why did the Romans accept these ideas?
Rome was culturally influenced by their two great neighbors, Romans and Etruscans. Just like the Etruscans, Greeks had a significant influence on the Roman culture. The Greek influenced the Roman through various ways such as through Greek architectural designs, art, and mythology (Marconi, 2015).
One of the key similarities between the two cultures was the way they designed their buildings. Greek architecture was among the significant influence of Greek culture on the Romans. The Greek temples, home of their gods, were made using marbles. Temples such as the Parthenon was made up of columns which added to its beauty. The Romans borrowed the Greek designs and started applying them in their public buildings. As time went by, they learnt how to use concrete to come up with larger structures such as the Circus Maximus, famous for horse racing, which could hold up to 200,0000 fans or more.
The other similarity which emerged between the two as a result of their interaction was the use of Greek art. By that time, Greek pottery was highly valued throughout Mediterranean world just because of its beauty and usefulness (Marconi, 2015). The Greek potters made large clay pots which were used to store wine, food and water. What amused many were the paintings made on the pots. They depicted great leaders and warriors. The same modeling technique was later adopted by the Roman artists although they had their own designs. Other form of Greek art imitated by the Romans was painting.
The third similarity relates to mythology. The Greeks worshipped various gods and goddesses. These governed their daily life. They conducted rituals and sacrifices to acquire the favors from these gods for everything right from curing the sick to celebrating good harvest. The Romans had their gods too. However, the knowledge about the gods shifted the moment they started relating with the Greeks. The gods from the Greek culture which portrayed almost similar features as theirs were automatically blended into their culture. They adopted various gods from the Greek and what they just simply did was changing the names. For instance, Zeus, the greatest Greek god was named as Jupiter. The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, was named as Venus.
Despite sharing a lot in common as far as the idea of culture is concerned, the two had some differences too. For instance, the Romans were efficient at practical applications whereas their counterparts were good at theoretical pursuits and abstractions.
The second difference related to the access of public places by women. Greek women were separated and could not go to public places. On the other hand, their counterparts had rights of movement, rights to own property or even divorce.
The reason as to why the Romans accepted these ideas was because their region was situated in the middle of various cities in the Greece (Marconi, 2015). These cities were separated by Peninsula. This increased the chances of contact between the Greeks and the Romans hence leading to significant influence.
Discuss the Roman division of social classes. How did Rome attempt to reconcile these differences in law and culture? What problems did these divisions cause? How could Rome have stopped these problems?
The ancient Rome was made up two social classes, upper and lower classes. The difference between the two was clear. The first class or division was known as the patricians. The patricians consisted of leading citizens, wealthy landowners, very successful businessmen, and government officials. Patricians occupied the upper class. This group of individuals controlled both administrative and political power and enjoyed wealth (Alfoldy, 2014). They were well represented in Roman assemblies. They dominated for centuries because of their large number in the senate.
On the other hand, the Plebians were just ordinary residents, some small businessmen others very prosperous entrepreneurs. The Plebians occupied the lower class of the social structure. Unlike the Patricians, the Plebians did not have administrative or political power. They were only supposed to engage in various activities but not politics (Alfoldy, 2014). Slaves in the ancient Roman social structure didn’t have any legal privileges. They completely depended on their masters.
Roman tried to reconcile the differences by dividing the residents into major divisions based on the quantity of property owned. Obviously, the wealthiest individuals (patricians) had bigger chucks of land, and as a result, they occupied the senate.
Separation of the people based on the amount of wealth brought a lot of confrontations among the Plebians, slaves, Lords, and Patricians. The groups openly opposed each other and sometimes the confrontations resulted to fights.
One of the ways Rome could solve these problems was by allowing senate be occupied by individuals based on their ability to lead and not by the amount of wealth they possess. This means that individuals could come from any social class. This could have helped to bring some sought of inclusivity in the government. The other way could be through encouraging citizens to register. This could have helped to indentify the individuals together with their status. It could also present the simplest way to get public participation or consensus or opinion regarding a particular policy.
How did the Hellenists govern the lands that Alexander had conquered? What were the differences and similarities in how each area was governed? How did Hellenic regions cooperate with one another? What were the problems that these areas faced, and how could these problems have been overcome?
The reign of Hellenists started after the successful conquest by the Alexander the Great from Macedon to India. This success brought about tremendous changes especially in regard to the spread of the Greek culture in the conquered regions. During the reign of Alexander the Great, all the conquered regions maintained their initial system of governance (Alston, 2014). The only difference was that the regions were working and taking instructions from him. They paid taxes to him and provided him with soldiers for his military. The Greek culture became prominent.
Alexander had no successor or heir in line to take over from him. After his death, the empire was divided among his four commanders namely Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Seleucus. Cassander took Greek and Macedonia and came up with the Antigonid Empire. Ptolemy seized the Egyptian Empire and came up with Ptolemic Empire. Lysimachus took significant part of Asia Minor and Thrace, and Seleucus formed the Seleucid Empire made up of India, Babylon, Syria, and Persia.
The newly partitioned regions were ruled the same way as before. There existed fruitful business environment between the kingdoms. Kings of each kingdom gathered abnormal amount wealth which they enjoyed displaying. The idea of expansion of Greek influence continued to gain momentum as their language and culture spread throughout the kingdoms.
The problems were few because the rulers of the conquered kingdoms were allowed to govern according to their initial system even after the Alexander. The supply of Soldiers to join the army was done as usual. The problem was that the army was not that much superior compared to the one during the reign of Alexander. Due to their weakness, they were defeated in several occasions and this eventually led to their complete during the Roman conquest. They were defeated in 31 BC (Alston, 2014). This is the period when the Roman started to expand their empire.
Alfoldy, G. (2014). The Social History of Rome (Routledge Revivals) (1st ed., pp. 13-18). Florence: Taylor and Francis.
Alston, R. (2014). Aspects of Roman History (2nd ed., pp. 423-428). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Marconi, C. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture (pp. 269-276). New York: Oxford Univ. Press.