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The similarities between the civilizations of ancient rome and modern day rome

Location The term Ancient Rome refers to the city of Rome, which was located in central Italy; and also to the empire it came to rule, which covered the entire Mediterranean basin and much the similarities between the civilizations of ancient rome and modern day rome western Europe.

The most famous of these was that of the Ancient Greeksbut others included those of the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Etruscansplus several lesser-known peoples such as the Lycians. The civilization of Ancient Rome was rooted, directly or indirectly, in all these earlier culture.

In its early centuries Rome was particularly influenced by the powerful Etruscan civilization to its north, from which it acquired many aspects of its culture. From then on Greek influence would become an increasingly important element within Roman life.

However, the Romans would give Greek culture their own slant, giving it a new grandeur which can be seen in Roman remains throughout the empire. Economy and society Ancient Roman society originated as a society of small farmers. However, as it grew more powerful and more extensive, it became one of the most urbanized societies in the pre-industrial world.

The empire had a handful of other cities with several hundred thousand inhabitants, and many other large and wealthy urban settlements. These cities had some features which would have looked very familiar to us: For the Romans, cities were communities which ran their own affairs, and constituted the main building-blocks of the empire. The Roman city was built around a forum. This was an open space surrounded by colonnades and public buildings.

The public buildings surrounding it would include the main temple, the basilica the main government building where the town council met and town administration was carried onthe law courts if separate from the Basilicaand the main public baths of the city. Reproduced under GFDL Stretching away from the forum were the cities streets, forming a grid pattern so that a map of a city would look like a multitude of square blocks.

Here would be situated the homes of rich and poor, the shops, cafes and workshops of the town, more temples and public baths, and a theater, maybe two. Unlike Greek theaters, Roman ones were large, free-standing buildings of semi-circular design, containing tiered ranks of seats. The city would be surrounded by walls, usually made of stone. Fortified gateways pierced the walls to allow people and traffic to pass in and out.

Water was brought to the city, sometimes from miles away, along aqueducts. It was fed into public fountains dotting the city, from which poorer families drew their water; and also into private wells in the houses of the rich. The amount of fresh water available in an average Roman town was far greater than in later centuries, right up to two hundred years ago.

  • In a sense it doe not matter, as Rome rose to power within a Hellenistic context, and carried forward the Hellenistic culture a further few centuries;
  • In the cities, the poor lived in rooms above or behind their places of work.

Outside the walls was the amphitheater. Here, wild animal shows and gladiatorial fights were shown. Amphitheaters were built like the theaters, but were circular rather than semi-circular in design.

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Many cities were located on the coast or by a large, navigable river. Here, a harbor would be situated, consisting of quays built of wood or stone for loading and unloading vessels, and docks for repairing or building ships. Surrounding the city was the territory which it controlled. Hamlets and villages were scattered across the landscape, whose people came to the city for market or other special occasions.

Villas of the rich were also to be found — large farmhouses set in country estates worked by slaves or tenant farmers. Some villas were truly magnificent, palaces set in beautiful parks. Agriculture As in all pre-modern societies, the Roman economy was based primarily on agriculture.

For the Romans, this was then typical Mediterranean farming of the ancient world, cultivating grains, vines and olives, and keeping sheep, goat and cattle. Landholdings were very small by modern standards, the majority no more than a few acres in size. An estate of 100 acres was considered large.

In the late Republic, however, many wealthy Romans developed huge slave-run plantations. As the city of Rome grew into a huge imperial capital, its population was fed by grain imported from overseas. However, there was still a great demand for vegetables, olives, wine and other farm produce.

As a result, the countryside near Rome was given over to intensive farming and market gardening. Manuals on agriculture were written to spread efficient methods of food production. Long-distance maritime trade was more extensive at the time of the empire than at any time before the nineteenth century.

This expansion in trade encouraged the development of farms and estates growing crops for export, of craftsmen specializing in export goods, and the growth of highly organized trading operations spanning the empire. One fact which had a major impact on trade was the system of grain fleets which carried grain from Egypt and North Africa to Rome, to feed the population of the capital.

This was set up by the emperor Augustus, so that the Roman poor — hundreds of thousands of them — could get free bread each day. More recently, they have begun to view it as having acted as a huge stimulus to trade.

The ships which carried the grain would also have carried other goods, which would have subsidized the long-distance trade of the empire. Quite apart from the grain supply, the sheer wealth which flowed into the enormous imperial capital would have boosted commerce and industry right around the empire.

The volume of trade in the empire brought into being the most advanced financial system in the ancient world. The large-scale military operations of the later Republic also brought into being firms of contractors which were involved in supplying armies the similarities between the civilizations of ancient rome and modern day rome undertaking tax-farming operations in the provinces.

  • Rome turned to barbarians for help;
  • Like the Greeks, they also consulted famous oracles — priests or priestesses at certain shrines who, in a trance, uttered messages from the gods;
  • In its early centuries Rome was particularly influenced by the powerful Etruscan civilization to its north, from which it acquired many aspects of its culture;
  • Fortified gateways pierced the walls to allow people and traffic to pass in and out;
  • Family members plus some slaves would make up the workforce in most of these.

Associated with this was the rise of high finance, and what appears to be the arrival of modern-style stocks and shares: This financial industry continued to be active into the the similarities between the civilizations of ancient rome and modern day rome period, financing the grain fleets, large-scale mining and other major business operations. This scale of Roman commercial activity would have facilitated an expansion in industrial output, and there is strong evidence that this, too, was at a level not seen again in Europe until the Nineteenth century.

The copper mines which developed in Spain, for example, were huge by pre-modern standards. Family members plus some slaves would make up the workforce in most of these. However, some workshops were much larger. The armories which supplied the Roman army employed hundreds of workers, mostly slaves. At the top stood the senators — members of the senate the council of state — and their families. In early Rome, these were probably all members of the class of Patricians, a group of hereditary aristocrats; as time went by, however, membership of the senate became more broadly based, as men from Plebeian families were enrolled.

Below the senatorial class came the equites. These were originally those in the army who could afford to own a horse equus. Below them were the ordinary Roman citizens. Their numbers grew vastly over time, from a few thousand to many millions; and spread right around the empire. Slaves would have been found everywhere, in the cities and in the country, and of course in the home. They worked in all kinds of businesses, and did all kinds of work — from unskilled laboring through to high level professional jobs.

They had no legal rights — they were property, like cattle. But one thing they could, with luck, look forward to: Generation by generation, millions of slaves were freed and joined the main body of citizens, with all their rights. Some freedmen became very rich; many others made a moderate living in their trade.

The Civilization of Ancient Rome

But all swelled the ranks of citizens. Take a more detailed look at how Roman society and economy changed over time as it grew from single city state to huge empire. In early law, he had complete control over his wife and children, with power of life and death over them. Even as adults, his sons remained under his authority. Later, the laws governing family life were greatly relaxed, and discipline in most homes became much milder.

In fact, from late Republican times onward, Roman women lived much freer lives than their Greek predecessors had done.

Also, women could initiate divorce as easily as men. Young Roman men came of age about the age of 17, when he became liable for military service.

In early times all men would be expected to fight in the army, and could be called up to do so for some of each year, until he was 40 years old. From the late Republic onward, however, serving in the army became a full-time profession, so unless they volunteered, ordinary citizens would not expect to serve. Parents arranged the marriages of their children.

A man would usually move to his own house when he married. Although boys could marry 14, and girls at 12, most did not do so until they were older. In poorer households they would be needed in the family workshop. Education Young children of both sexes, and from a wide range of social backgrounds, attended small schools run by slaves or ex-slaves; in better-off households, they were taught at home, also by a slave or freedman.

Schools were held in public places, such as the portico open colonnaded area of the forum. Children were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, by rote learning — reinforced by regular beatings!

Older girls were excluded from formal education — though some Roman women were noted for their learning, and must have continued their education at home. For boys, schooling continued with mastering Latin and Greek grammar. Often, cities paid for a public teacher to perform this task — this was a well-respected post even if often occupied by an ex-slaveand such teachers sometimes went on to take important jobs in the civil service.

  1. Roman Law The Greeks had developed legal codes , and the Romans followed their example.
  2. Some freedmen became very rich; many others made a moderate living in their trade. In wealthy household, large and elaborate banquets were the norm under the Empire.
  3. The large-scale military operations of the later Republic also brought into being firms of contractors which were involved in supplying armies and undertaking tax-farming operations in the provinces.

The sons of wealthy families who wanted them to take up a career in public life then progressed onto higher education. Here they would learn the art of public speaking — a vitally important skill if they were to persuade citizens to vote for them, or sway juries in court, or influence decisions taken in city councils or even the Roman senate.

Like grammar teachers, these were important men in the city, and could go on to high government office later on. Some teachers attracted students from all over the empire, with their schools becoming a kind of university. The two institutions of higher education in Athens, in Greecethe Academy originally founded by Plato and the Lycaeum by Aristotlecontinued to flourish under Roman rule, and specialized in the study of Greek philosophy.

Six Parallels Between Ancient Rome and Modern America

Homes Town houses The earliest Roman houses were essentially small wattle-and-daub cottages with thatched roofs. This is hardly surprising as Rome originated as a collection of rural villages. By the time of the end of the monarchy, however, houses designed along Etruscan lines were being built.

Early Roman dwellings were one-story buildings erected around a courtyard. The main reception room the atrium gave out onto smaller rooms — dining room tricliniumoffice tablinumbedrooms, kitchens and other domestic areas.

Many of the family rooms had painted walls.