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A history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture

This page deals with the civilization of Classical Greece. Other pages deal with the Minoan civilization which preceded it, and with the Hellenistic civilization which followed it. Overview and Timeline The civilization of Ancient Greece emerged into the light of world history in the 8th century BC. Normally it is regarded as coming to an end when Greece fell to the Romans, in 146 BC.

As a culture as opposed to a political forceGreek civilization lasted longer still, continuing right to the end of the a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture world. Timeline of Ancient Greece: Traditional date for the first Olympic Games c. Greek cities start planting colonies on other Mediterranean coastsadapt the Phoenician alphabet for their own use, and later adopt metal coinage from Lydia, in Asia Minor 594: Solon gives Athens a new constitution ; this is the start of the rise of democracy in Greece 490-479: Work begins on the Parthenon in Athens, then at the height of its glory 431-404: The Athenian philosopher Socrates is condemned to death for questioning conventional ideas 338: This includes the conquests of Alexander the Greatand ends with the conquests of the different Hellenistic states by Rome 146-31 BC.

The history of Ancient Greece falls into four major divisions. Classical Greece flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. This was marked by the period of the Persian Wars c. Greek civilization had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire.

In any case, the Roman conquest carried many features of Greek civilization to far-flung parts of the Mediterranean world and Western Europe. Through the mediation of the Romans, therefore, Greek civilization came to be the founding culture of Western civilization.

Geography of Ancient Greece The geographical coverage of Ancient Greek civilization changed markedly during its history.

Its origins were in the land of Greece and the islands of the Aegean Sea, plus the west coast of Asia Minor modern Turkey. This is a landscape of mountains and sea.

Land useful for farming is found in valley bottoms, hedged in by steep slopes, or on small islands, confined by water. As a result, ancient Greece consisted of many small territories, each with its own dialect, cultural peculiarities, and identity. Cities tended to be located in valleys between mountains, or on narrow coastal plains, and only dominated a limited area around them.

Steep hills cover much of Greece From about 750 BC the Greeks began sending out colonies in all directionssettling the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. This is described in a separate article; here we shall focus on the original Greek civilization. Every four years all Greek city-states sent their young men and women to compete in the Olympic Games.

Politically, a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture, Ancient Greece was divided amongst several hundred independent city states poleis.

These city-states fiercely defended their independence from one another. Political unity was not an option, unless imposed from outside which first occurred when Philip II, king of Macedoniaconquered the city-states of Greece in the mid-4th century BC. The agora was often flanked by colonnades.

Most industrial production took place in small workshops. Family members plus some slaves would make up the workforce in most of these.

Greeks, Romans, and barbarians

However, one workshop in Athens for manufacturing shields was said to have 120 workers, mostly slaves. Different trades were concentrated in different parts of the city, but mostly near the agora, the main trading centre in the city. As a city outgrew its local water supply, water was brought in from neighbouring hills by means of channels cut in the rocks, and clay pipes. These fed fountains, from which the poorer people could collect water; and also private wells situated in the larger houses.

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The city was surrounded by high, wide walls. In later times these were made of stone, brick and rubble. Towers were built at regular interval, and fortified gateways pierced the walls to allow roads to pass through. Outside these wall was another public space, the gymnasium.

This is where athletes trained; covered porticoes allowed training to continue in bad weather, and also provided shaded areas for activities such as music, discussion and social meetings. Many gymnasia had public baths attached. Also outside the walls would be the theatre, built into a hillside and semicircular in shape. This space would be backed by columns and behind them, small buildings where actors changed clothing and masks, and for the props. Theatres such as this were situated outside many Greek cities Surrounding the city was the farmland of the city-state.

Many of the citizens lived within the city walls and walked out to their fields each day to work. Those whose land was further away, however, lived in the countryside, in the hamlets and villages which doted the landscape, and walked a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture the city for special occasions.

They were as much citizens of the city-state as those who actually lived in the city itself. In many cases this farmland only stretched for a few miles before a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture upwards to the hills and mountains which divided one city-state from the next.

Here, with the land less suitable for growing crops, grain fields and olive groves gave way to pasturage for sheep and goats. Many Greek city-states were situated on the coast, or on a small island. The city itself would often be located some distance inland, centred on a hill where the acropolis was built for defence.

On the seashore would be a harbour, consisting of wooden quays for loading and unloading ships, and beaches were the ships could be drawn up onto dry land for a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture. Click here for how these city states came into being.

Agriculture Like all pre-modern societies, the Greeks were primarily an agricultural people. They practiced the agriculture of the ancient Mediterranean region. Farms were very small — mere plots of land of a few acres. Aristocrats and other landowners would own larger farms, worked by slaves; but an estate of 100 acres was considered large.

This vase depicts harvesting olives, a major crop in ancient Greece The main challenge facing Greek farmers was that there was too little good farming land in Greece and the Aegean. This forced them to take to sea-borne trade on a scale unmatched by most other ancient peoples. However, land shortages continued to be a problem throughout the ancient times. They were a source of the social tensions between rich and poor which led, in Athens, to the rise of democracy, and in several other cities, to violent clashes between the different classes.

Trade Very many Greek city-states were located by the sea. Also, many of them, confined as they were by steep hills and mountains, or by the sea itself if they were on islandssuffered from a shortage of agricultural land. From an early stage in their history, therefore, many Greeks looked to the sea for their livelihood.

Ancient Greek Civilization

For a period of about 150 years after 750 BC, a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture city-states sent out groups of their citizens to found colonies on distant shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

These established strong trading ties with their mother city. Greek traders soon dominated maritime trade of the Mediterranean, edging out the Phoenicians who had preceded them. The adoption of metal coinage must have facilitated this process. Some Greek cities became large and wealthy trading centres. Athens, the largest Greek city-state of all, was only able to feed her large population through trade.

The poor soil of Attica the area of Greece where Athens was located was ideal for growing olives on, and so from an early date the Athenians concentrated on growing olives for export. They imported almost all their grain from other states.

The Influence of Ancient Greek Architecture

The Athenians built up a large merchant fleet, and their city became the leading commercial centre of Greece. The wealth that this commerce brought Athens enabled it to become the leading city of Greece, both in politics and culture. Athens also became the major banker to the Greek world. In the fifth century BC the Athenian coinage became the international currency of the Mediterranean. Bankers operated from long tables set up in the agora, making loans at very high rates of interest.

Athenian coins were used throughout the Mediterranean Society The social framework varied significantly from city-state to city-state. Most cities, however, had a large class of free, native-born peasant farmers. These owned small farms to subsist on. The adult a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture formed the citizen body of the state. They had a real say in how their city was run and what decisions were made.

Within this group of citizens was a smaller number of wealthier families, who owned more land than the rest. They were the aristocrats. As they could afford to keep horses, they were distinguished from the bulk of the citizens by fighting in the army of horse-back. They had a disproportionate influence on affairs of state.

Indeed, in many city-states they formed an aristocratic council who played a leading role in the direction of the state. In those city-states which were democracies, however, it was the bulk of the citizens who held the power, through their assembly. At the bottom of society was a large class of slaves — modern scholars estimate that in some city-states such as Athens they may have made up almost half the population.

These were people who had been captured in war, or been condemned to slavery as a result of debts which they could not pay; or for crimes. Since the children of slaves were also slaves, many had been born into slavery.

In law they were a history of the influence of ancient greece on the ancient roman culture property of their owners.

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They worked as household servants or farm labourers for the wealthy, or miners and industrial workers for businessmen. Trained slaves could act as skilled craftsmen, or perhaps secretaries. As the Greek cities grew in size and wealth, their societies became more complex. New classes appeared, of prosperous craftsmen, sailors and traders, to stand alongside the older classes of aristocrats, peasants and slaves.

These new groups became the natural opponents of the aristocrats, and their influence in politics helped undermine aristocratic power.