Ancient Rome and Greece

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What importance did the Battles of Marathon and Salamis, and the Punic Wars have for Ancient Greece and Rome?

Ancient Greece:

The battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion on Greece. Citizens of Athens and citizens of Plataea revolted against the Persian army. The battle was a very big victory for the Greeks.

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From this victory, they gained confidence in their defense system and a new battle tactic called phalanx. The phalanx tactic is when a group of people comes closer together in a line formation. In this battle, the Greeks were armored with shields and were able to make a wall to protect themselves using the phalanx tactic.

In 480 BC, the Persian Army took their second attempt on invading Greece. In order to defeat the Persians, the Greek city-states came together to fight as one. Because of the Greeks success, they brought an end to the Persian wars and saved Greece from being invaded by the Persians. Their victory supports and shows that their defense and strategies surpass the Persians defenses. The Greeks had gained a position of power, success, recognition, and respect. Because of all of this, the battle of marathon and salamis is still known today as one of the greatest wars in history. After the Persians were defeated, Greece was left alone for good. This led to the assemblage of Athens and the start of the golden age and the Delian League.

Ancient Rome:

The Punic wars occurred between 264 BC and 146 BC. The three wars were fought by Rome and Carthage and Rome won all three. The first battle was fought over the control of the islands Sicily and Corsica and ended with Rome taking control over both islands. Sicily became Rome’s first overseas province, which made it easier for them to travel to and from other cities and countries when trading. This increased their empire and trading routes. When fighting in the first war Rome had an army with very little experience but was able to prove how strong they were, which gave them power. Because of their little experience, the Roman navy benefited from all the wars in gaining combat experience on sea and skills on training. After the Punic wars, the Romans were supplied with wealth because Carthage was forced to pay a large war debt to Rome in silver. Their wealth led to increasing and continuation of their empire. After Rome defeated Carthage, they became the dominant power in the Mediterranean Region. When Carthage lost, they were put to an end, leaving Rome to have control over Spain. The main reason the three wars were fought was for the control over sea trade and when Rome defeated the Carthage, they gained control over it.

2. What were the major contributions of Ancient Greece and Rome to modern Western society? Please be specific and organize your response into the following categories:

Government ( Greece ):

Direct democracy was first introduced in Greece. Direct democracy is a form of government in which citizens rule and not representatives. This democracy started in Athens and is now a Athens legacy. The modern trial by jury was originally started in Ancient Athens. The jurors were all Athenian citizens and had to be over 30 years of age. In the United States, we have narrowed down the number of jurors to just 12 on the court. Today, in the united states we use a democratic system called representative democracy, which is when citizens vote on who make the decisions in a country. Democracy in Greece was successful because of the things Pericles did. He increased the amount of public officials who were paid, which meant anyone could serve if they were elected by the lot. Although the United States uses a different kind of democracy than what Greece used, the idea of democracy all started in Greece and spread out into the western civilizations as time passed by to become what it is today. The reason why that was able to happen was because their democracy was successful.

Military ( Greece ):

The Ancient Greece army was a very strong army. One of the major contributions from the Greek military was technology. With Greek being the first to use technology during warfare and combat, they are the reason why we have advanced technology in military’s today. One of the technologies invented was the catapults and giant siege engines. Today, our military’s have been inspired and advanced these technologies to the ones used today. The Greek military also contributed their tactics and formations. Alexander the Great was the king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and the one to invent the first formations during a battle. One of these tactics includes the phalanx formation. Because of this tactic Greece gained victory over Anatolia and Gaugamela, which ended the Persia’s power In the battles Greek and Roman armies wore similar armor. Greek soldiers wore square breastplate on their torso. Romans only wore one greave on their left leg, Greeks wore greaves on both legs. Greaves are metal armor worn to protect the legs. As with technology, armor has also been advanced to protect soldiers from greater threats such as bombs. Greaves have been improved to protect the legs from explosive devices.

Culture/religion ( Greece ):

The culture in the main Greek city of egypt was a cultural blend of Egyptian, Persian, and Indian influences. This was known as the Hellenistic culture. People throughout the city states communicated with the popular language that was spoken called Koine.Their religion was called Hellenic polytheists. Greeks worshipped their Greek Gods and goddesses. Part of their culture that was big was recognizing and dedicating their greek goddesses. Citizens of Alexandria built museums, temples, and sculptures that were dedicated to their greek goddesses to show their honor. Philosophy was also a big part in their culture. The first lighthouse in the world was invented in the Greek city state of Alexandria. In Alexandria, there were many scholars that contributed to the scientific knowledge in the west. Aristarchus was an astronomer who he estimated the size of the sun. Eratosthenes was an astronomer, mathematician, a poet, and a historian. What he achieved was estimating the size of the earth using geometry. Both of them were scholars from Alexandria and answered many peoples beliefs about the world. Euclid was a mathematician that wrote about geometry propositions and proofs, which has influenced us a lot because it is what we are taught in school. Archimedes was also a mathematician, but he estimated the value of pi. With all of these people in their civilization, the citizens from Alexandria were able to conquer inventing many things and influenced many things to the western civilizations. Lastly, the Greeks invented drama and it was a big part in their culture. They performed two styles called comedy and drama. They contributed theatre, costumes, and masks as entertainment to the western civilizations.

Government (Rome):

Since the first century Rome had always had a balanced government. Their government was once government by nobles, the people, or a king. The government in the U.S today consists of democracy, which shows that the Romans government tactics influenced us today and still is. After the last king of Rome,Tarquin the Proud was driven from power in 509 B.C, the Romans wanted to never be ruled by a king again, so they established a republic. A republic is the form of government in which citizens have the right to vote on their leaders. This influenced western civilizations because it showed that government being runned by a king doesn’t work out. In the Rome government, there are two officials called consuls. Consuls directed government, were elected for one year, and could veto other decisions. In civilizations today, those people are known as the president. When in crisis, there usually was a dictator that was chosen by the consul and elected by the senate. In western civilization there have been dictators in the past, because of the Rome empire. Another part of Rome’s government was the senate’s. Senates have legislative and administrative functions in the republic. This is something we also use in today’s government structure. One of their greatest contributions to the western civilization is the law. When the Roman empire started to grow, Romans started to believe that laws should be fair and equal to everyone. Judges soon started to recognize and learn the principles of justice. Examples of laws that were originally from Rome are, believing that a person is innocent until proven guilty and any law that is proved to be unfair can be taken down. Ancient Rome also formed the law code much like the one used in the present time in many countries. The Roman empire installed many legal systems in european countries and have now influenced other countries like the united states.

Military ( Rome ):

During the battles, the roman army separated into legions, which are now called troops or regiments. Separating wasn’t a thing soldiers would do because they believed they could be defeated when their army wasn’t all in one area, but this is why the Romans rose to such success. By conquering central Italy, the Etruscans, Greek city states, and defeating the carthage in the punic wars, they influenced western civilizations on seperating into legions. The romans had organizational ability and a strong knowledge of construction that they were known for. They were acknowledged for taking other civilizations ideas, especially Greeks and modifying and transmitting them throughout the west. Without the Roman army’s help, the Greeks inventions wouldn’t have made it to the west and inspired other countries or us today.

Economy ( Rome ):

Ancient Rome was a agrian and slave based economy. Enslaved people took up one third of the Roman empire’s population. Children who were born into slaves were considered slaves and because of the law slaves were property to their owner. This part of their economy contributed a lot to the U.S civilization in a horrific way from the 1619s to 1865 because slavery also played a big part in the U.S economy back then. Agriculture and trade played a big part in their economic wealth. In Rome there was a system that helped farmers out with taxes and gave the government a great amount of free crops that was enough to feed the soldiers. They did this because they needed to increase productivity. The reason why increasing productivity was so important in Rome was because, it helped them increase their empire. Egypt, Sicily and Tunisia in North Africa were the main grain trading points for Rome. Later on the production and transportation of foods influenced the trading industry and led to many more tradings between other countries as well. Another big part of their industry was mining, which provided stones for the big building projects and metals for tools used in wars. Because of trading and Rome’s control over the mediterranean sea, they were able to make trading easier and more successful for them. Their trade roots went from regions to regions and even went deeper into africa and asia. They were able to trade for silver, gold, metal, iron, lead, and many more. These resources helped them make mint coins, tools, weapons, armor, jewelry, and art. The Romans trading routes offered a layout on how trading could fuel diplomacy between nearby regions. Which is an economic principle at play thats apart of the North Atlantic Trade Organization or NATO. All of this influenced western civilizations in developing trading routes that are still in use today and trading with other countries for resources. Which is why we have most of the resources we use today. As the Roman empire grew, expanding their boundaries caused many problems. There was a gap between rich and poor and many enslaved people were working in estates. This made it hard for small farmer to compete and led to them selling their land and losing their jobs and homes. Tiberius and Gaius were brothers who tried to help the poor, but ended up dying because of the enemies who disagreed with them. This was something that did not work for the Romans.

During the third A.D, Rome became very weak. Tribes outside the empire and pirates on the Mediterranean Sea disrupted trade, which decreased their resources in new sources. The economy then fell. They faced inflation, had problems in agriculture as well, and faced a deadly diseases that made their population decrease. WIth all of this happening, the military also becomes weak. This is an example of why expanding your empire is going to come with consequences., especially if it’s ruled by one man. This is something west civilizations try to avoid happening to them because it obviously didn’t work out well for Rome at this period. In A.D. 284, Diocletian rose to power and became the new emperor. He restored and brought power back to the empire. He split the empire into the west and East, took East as his, and gave the West to a coworker. He then became ill and civil war broke out again. Once again, this did not influence the western civilizations.

Julius Caesar and Octavian

This is when Julius Caesar rose to power and was elected to be consul. Caesar fought alongside his soldiers, which is why he had their loyalty. Because of his success many people were happy about caesar and his actions, but a man named Pompey feared him and his goal. Caesar then defeated Pompey and his army and became dictator for life. Caesar granted Roman citizenship to many people, expanded the senate, and built buildings to give the poor a home. Many senators didn’t agree with his beliefs so, he was murdered by a group of senators. After his murder, The roman empire fell apart. This is another example on what did not work for the Romans. After many violence and battles, Octavian became ruler of Rome and brought the Pax Romana to the Roman empire. Octavian accomplished working on public buildings, creating a system of government, tax collections, and much more. After he died, Rome was able to stay stable because of the government he structured. Octavion contributed to many western civilizations because of these things.

The Romans were known for building strong and big structures, buildings, and more. They invented concrete, which is really huge in construction today. They used bricks and glass to build beautiful structures that are still popular till this day. Romans also invented aqueducts and sewers. Both of these things are used in western civilizations and are a necessary part of our civilizations. Therefore the Romans contributed structures that is used for water delivery and drainage of sewer. In the 18th century, the United States had a Roman revival, which is why many of our buildings have Roman features built into them. Lastly, Romans also built very strong roads throughout their empire that were connected. They built their roads with stone, concrete, and sand. This contributed transportation and safety to western civilizations. Roads are a huge thing in our modern society and plays a very big part in our everyday life.

Culture/religion ( Rome ):

In Rome, they believed in gods and goddesses. They gave names to powerful gods and goddesses and would honor them through rituals. I don’t think this contributed much to western civilizations, but i do believe it contributed to our learning because greek mythology is something we learn in school.

In Rome, their language was Latin. The roman alphabet was based on the greek alphabet. Romans studied literature in Greek and when their empire started to grow, the latin language spread out throughout the west. As time passed, their latin evolved into the Romance Languages. The latin language became the main language in the west and this is why many countries started off speaking latin. Because of countries in the west speaking it informally, they all ended up being different languages that originated all from one place. In the U.S, we don’t speak latin, but there are many latin words developed into our vocabulary and that is because the Romans influenced western civilizations, even non romance languages. Although Romans have influenced the civilizations in many ways, they couldn’t have done it without the Greeks.

As the Roman empire started to grow, so did a new religion called christianity. Jesus first followers were jews, but after he died, they created the new religion christianity that slowly spread through Roman Empire. By the late A.D century there were millions of christians in the Roman Empire. Many people were attracted to this religion because it embraced all people, gave hope to the powerless, offered a relationship with a loving god, and promised an eternal life after death. The first Pope in Roman empire was a man named Peter. The Romans religion contributes to us because christianity has massively spread out into other western civilizations and is still the world’s greatest and popular religion. We also get our calendar from the Romans because they invented it because of jesus’s birth. The Romans called their holidays Holy Days, which is where we get the word Holiday from.

In the second century B.C, Romans conquered Greek and they inhabited their ways of architecture, literature, and philosophy. The culture of Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman created a new culture called Greco-Roman culture. The Romans took in the greeks ways and created their own things such as mosaics, bas-relief, and paintings. This influenced western civilizations because it showed others how to do different kinds of art, which could also be used for trading.

Although, The Romans were very inspired by the Greeks on many things, they created their own things as well. Both of these empires did great contributions to western civilizations. The world would be very different and we wouldn’t have things we have now if it weren’t for Ancient Rome and Greece.

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