Compare and Contrast Roman and Greek culture

Romans and Greeks as Distinct Cultures

Romans and Greeks were still two distinct cultures, despite their close links or shared religious, cultural, and artistic outlooks. Perhaps a deeper comprehension of the supposedly Western society can explain the difference. Stoic imperialism defined Rome, while Greek culture is what gave rise to European civilization. (Hunt). Additionally, when one visits the eastern and western regions of Europe, they will see remnants of the Roman Empire in countries like Spain, Syria, and the Northern British Isles. On the other hand, Greece has a strong connection with the sea and for it had a large tract of agricultural land. This brought about the rise of Greek culture. In that case, the paper will compare and contrast the culture that existed between Greeks and Roman, including geopolitical structures, forms of government, and artistic culture/ language art.

Geopolitical Structures: Greece and Rome

Concerning geopolitical structures, Greece comprises of city-states, which were loosely connected culturally. The geopolitical structures of Greece only promoted a collection of policies. In that case, maintenance of political influence was less effective as compared to Rome. On the other hand, Rome was a multinational empire that was highly centralized. Rome was more effective in preserving the culture of continuity of basic structures than Greek. It started as an emperor of the basic structure, but with the existence of the revolutionaries such as Caesars, Augusts, Sulla, and Marius, the emperor persisted on the continuity of upheavals even after periods of war. Augusts may have played the role of being the magistrate; he still tried to maintain the fiction that was portraying the traditions practiced by Romans. He intended to keep the traditions and Rome culture alive. The closest way in which Greek will have meet Roman’s fiction of maintaining tradition and culture would have been Sparta. This was designed as ground obligation until it became a resistance change, which later maintained a high level of institutional continuity as witnessed in the reign Nabis. Possibly, Greek was promoting the culture that comes with the collection of policies.

Differences in Forms of Government

Both Rome and Greece were Mediterranean countries, and some differences and similarities existed between their cultural practices. It started as a monarchy state, which later became a republic. During independence, Greece was considered a very antagonistic place. It was wracked by conflicts, which existed between different cities. Several cities in Greece were associated with a violent change of governments through domestic upheaval or foreign invasion from time to time. After the leadership of Alexander, Greece was characterized by several warring successor kingdoms. In case the cities were not fighting one another, the royal families were given the opportunity to fratricide. Conceivably, these are the factors, which led Greece to transition from being a monarchy to a republic. On the other hand, Rome was transitioning from republic to empire. Rome had maintained a continuous and traditional form of government. The governance culture in Rome had experienced few interruptions. However, this does not imply that Rome had never lost a war or experienced any social strife. Rome was also a contentious place to live. The country was very effective in dominating its neighbors and then assimilating them to fit into its institutions. Alexander's empire that was experienced in Greece just outlived the Roman empire by four years. After the era led by Julius Caesar, there were still elements of Caesar's leadership in the Rome of 520 years. The connection that existed between Greece and Rome has closely brought an impression to the reader regarding religious, cultural, and artistic worldly view.

Arts and Architecture in Greece and Rome

Concerning arts and architecture, Greeks were driven by theatrical and potential while Romans, on the other hand, were fixed on the tangible and practical art. Possibly, Greek art is a mere imitative and decorative of Roman art. Greek arts appear to be superior because Roman arts are perceived to be the copies of Greek's original work (Marconi). There is no doubt that the objective of the Classical Greek sculptors was to produce artwork of idealistic formats. On the other hand, Roman artists had the objective of producing realistic portraits, especially for decoration. This might appear as an obvious oversimplification. Whichever the case, it is imperative to understand that not all of the arts produced by the Romans imitated the Greek arts. Similarly, not all of the artworks generated by Greeks were impractical or realistic. Much of the Greek artwork was adorned with utilitarian objects the same way Roman art was adorned with the living spaces. In addition to its existence in the acme of the Classical period, Greek arts are also divided into geometric, Mycenaean, Hellenistic, and archaic periods. The Hellenistic period was characterized by the high demand for earlier art copies, and thus it was more of an imitative period.

Distinctive Artistic Culture between Greece and Rome

Typically, sculptures such as Venus de Milo are associated with Greece while the frescoes wall painting and mosaics are associated with Rome (Marconi). Evidently, the masters of both the cultures presented by Greece and Rome worked in several mediums, which were beyond artwork comparison. For instance, Greek pottery was an important and popular import activity in Italy. Apart from the palpable language difference that exists between Greek and Roman, one culture has proven to speak as much Latino as the Vatican (Gowing). On the other hand, one had insisted on maintaining the Greek language culture. The Romans' language art had largely imitated the one that was possessed by the Greeks. Nonetheless, the Romans decided to adopt a more naturalistic approach to their language art. Greek generals and political leaders were recognized in the same way the gods were recognized. The members of the Greek society were also encouraged to physically idealize them.

Influence of Greek and Roman Cultures

Based on the philosophy of Platonism and Stoicism, many people from the West are familiar with Greek culture, but they are not aware of the larger history of Greece and its origin from the islands of the Cyclades to the great Pre-Classical Nation it has become. Similarly, people might think that Rome of today is a fallen civilization. What people do not know is that the international dominance, which was portrayed by Rome between 50 BCE and 321 ACE, was unchallenged. This period is equivalent to four centuries.


Conclusively, indeed there was similarity and difference between the cultures portrayed by both Greece and Rome, including geopolitical structures, forms of government, and artistic culture. Moreover, the two cultures were more sophisticated, and the philosophy of the learning culture had proven to be more advanced. In that case, both the two culture influenced the present culture. This influence is evident in the language art, democracy, economic activities, and political actions.

Works Cited

Gowing, Lawrence. A History of Art. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1995. Print.

Hunt, Peter. Ancient Greek and Roman Slavery. Newark: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2017. Internet resource. Print.

Marconi, Clemente. The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print.

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