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The Greek and Roman Civilisations

938 words (4 pages) Essay in History

18/05/17 History Reference this

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Civilization: this word comes from the Latin word civilis meaning civil or a society in an advanced state of social, cultural and material development. It is also related to the Latin civis meaning citizen. civitas meaning city or city states.

Among the Middle ages empires were the Byzantium empire which came about after the Roman empire fell to invading Barbarians and complex internal pressures It was the eastern part of the Roman empire which came about in 395 AD and had Constantinople as capital. The mighty empires disintegrated into many warring states mainly over borders and it was in a quest for restoring their lost glory. This brought about a lot of uncertainty and plunged Europe in what was labeled a “dark age” yet Byzantium remained (Hemingway and Hemingway par 7). It had a stable economy which was catered for the army, ample food supply advanced civil engineering and high standard of living. There was high literacy level dominant among the Greek and Latin’s. The penal system was so harsh as viewed by the Western crusaders and had no element of justice in it. The middle ages preserved an ancient knowledge upon which art, architecture, literature and technological achievements ( Spielvogel, 82)

  • Civilization in the near
  • This included the Babylonian Empire(Iraq) , Hitteastite Empire and Neo-Assyrian empire.
  • Babylonian empire emerged in 1696-1654 BC created from an Akkadian empire.

Neo-Hittite empires rose following the collapse of the Hittite empire about 1180BCand lasted to 700 BC. This empire collapsed due to the decline of eastern Mediterranean trade networks resulting to most cities of the Bronze. It was associated with the invasion of the sea peoples.

Neo-Assyrian empire

The capital was Assure and later Nineveh. In 934BC-608BC Assyria assumed a position of the most powerful country on earth. It was the first real empire in human history. It was later joined by Babylon, Medes and Scythnians in a coalition. Despite the empire being destroyed its culture influenced the succeeding empires.

Both the Greek and the Romans had their ups and downs in their quest for civilization which did not prove as easy to attain as earlier thought. Both the civilizations had almost analogous routes of creation conquering and destruction and because of poor application methods that the said civilizations /empires formed.

The Greek and Romans formed City-states the Greek one was based on tribes and ethnicity which saw the very first of the political association(penny 95). The Romans however brought together various different ethnic groups among them the Italians. They developed procedures of public politicking and legal states. The Romans began extending their citizenship by virtue of conquering. The Romans had military prowess and their organization in the political, legal and full conquer age of the empire. Their man intent was not on the creation of empires but self protection from their neighbors. The Roman empire lasted long and was based on the aspect of a sense of identity. The Romans had more of a civilized sense of democracy and all aspects associated to it such constitutions, citizenship, equity human rights adherence and protection and very high profiled intelligence.

The Greek city-states were unified by force and the attack and ethnicity. And was ruled on the aspect of its wealth. The merge of the Romans and the Greeks led to republics each with imported skill in architecture and high aspect of good architecture, medicine and various traditions. The Greeks were not as advanced in the Romans in the engineering sector and so they borrowed a number of aspects such as food storage.

Similarities of all the civilizations

  • Began as a break away province or region from the main empires. e.g. Neo-Hittite from Hittite and Byzantium from the Roman empire.
  • Did not have fixed boundaries as they always fought to expand and neighbors or invaders to encroach.
  • They all registered serous internal conflicts which in most cases led to the collapse .
  • They became strong through trade or tributes from the subjugated empires or provinces
  • Had strong armies at the time of the rise e.g. .the Roman and the neo-Assyrian empires.
  • They thrived on trade networks or a broad base of tribute collection e.g. roman ,neo- Hittite and the neo-Assyrian (Hodges, 62).
  • Had high literacy levels e.g. Roman and the Greek empires.
  • Had good supply of food either grown or paid in form of tributes.
  • Were weakened by presence of weak leaders and strengthened by strong leaders and well organized systems e.g. Tiglath -Pileser III of neo-Assyrianwas quite strong and the empire rose tremendously.
  • All had very harsh rules especially concerning foreigners
  • Had fortresses due to frequent attacks.
  • Had common religion in all provinces of an empire which helped unite the subjects
  • Preserved their knowledge, culture and art and the same continued to influence the succeeding dynasties (MacMullen, 78) e.g. the Greek, Roman and the neo-Assyrian.


  • The Roman empire collapsed due to its vast size making administration difficult. On the other hand the neo-Hittite collapsed due to decline in trade networks of the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • The Greek collapsed due to rebellion from the subjugated citizen’s .On the other hand the Romans upheld human rights.
  • The Greeks had a unique way of uniting their subjects through sports which has remained to date as part of their legacy.
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