Mediterranean Society Under The Greeks And Romans. How Were They Alike? How Were They Different? How Did They Each Influence The Western World?


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One example of the way Mediterranean society was different under the Greeks and Romans is related to their different political structures and styles. The Greeks believed in a democratic society, and worked hard to implement myriad city-states that were not ruled by oppressive tyrants or benevolent dictators. Athens was the most evolved version of a democratic Greek city-state; other areas were not so successful in pulling away for despotic rule.

By contrast, the Roman political culture was based on the concept of empire. Empires are ruled in a hierarchal arrangement. Only a few (with the Emperor at the very top of the pyramid) were able to make decisions for the masses, and the citizens of ancient Rome had little choice but to submit to this non-democratic power structure.

Mediterranean Greek and Roman societies were the same, in that they worshipped the same gods and goddesses (although they had different names, such as Zeus (Greek) and Jupiter (Roman). Ruled by spiritual superstitions, the Greek and Romans both shared a fatalistic attitude; both cultures believed in Fate, and that certain events were "meant to happen". For example, Greeks believed they were on the Earth to seek out their soul mate, or other half. Likewise, the Romans believed in romantic chance and destiny, and looked up to Gods like Cupid, who ruled love and desire.

Today, Greek and Roman influences appear in:

• Films, such as Gladiator and Troy
• Food - dishes such as moussaka (Greek) and spicy cuisine (Roman)
• Literature - Greek and Roman gods appear in many novels, such as The Secret of the Emerald Sea (Roman) and The Titan's Curse (Greek).

Learning about the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome can be fascinating; these cultures were a compelling combination of refined, intellectual architecture and literature, and earthy, primitive fighting and pleasurable pastimes.

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