Contributions of Ancient Greece and Rome to the Western World: Who contributed more to the modern world - the Greeks or the Romans?

Essay by bananablondegreenHigh School, 10th grade November 2007

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While both Roman and Greek cultures greatly influenced Western Civilization, Greeks contributed more to the western world than the Romans. The Greeks used their own ideas and thought of new ways to add to their culture, while the Romans mostly mixed and matched ideas from other civilizations and cultures to make their own. “The Romans took up the inheritance of the Greeks… adapted it to their own language and national traditions.” (Grant 2)The Greeks introduced many new ideas and traditions, the most important being democracy - Athenian democracy in particular.

After the Dark Age, the population in Greece grew so quickly that soon, there were way too many free peasants. These peasants realized that nobody could stop them if they tried to make some changes because there was so many of them, so they insisted on having their voices heard by the government. Their wish was granted, and democracy in its simplest form became known.

Now that the peasants had more freedom, some of them started to earn higher wages, and soon were rich enough to purchase hoplite armor. (Hoplites made up the majority of the army and fought on foot.) The peasants were also placing strong demands on the elite class, also known as the oligarchy. The system of citizenship in Greece was established as a result, during the late 7th century BCE (Martin 82), and enabled the peasants to have more influence on their leaders and protection under the law. There were three kinds of citizens – the rich, the hoplites, and the poor. Only males were citizens. All citizens could attend open meetings in the Assembly, elect archons (leaders) each year, and were protected under the law.

The peace of Greece had been slowly deteriorating, and in 621 BCE, it only got worse. The rich, elite class...