The ancient Romans were very different from the ancient Greeks.
The ancient Romans were realists, not idealists. You can see this in their statues. The Greeks made statues of perfect people. The Romans created real life statues. A statue of one of the Roman emperors is a good example. His nose is huge! The ancient Greeks would never have done that.
The Romans built roads all over the empire, and all roads led to Rome. The ancient Greeks had roads, but they were not built nearly as well, and the Greek's roads did not connect in any particular order. Connect to what? Each Greek city-state was its own unit. In ancient Rome, Rome was the heart of the empire!
In both Roman and Greek culture, women had the responsibility of the home. But women's freedoms were very different.
Greek Women: In ancient Greece, except in Sparta, women had no rights. They were the property of their husband. They had to ask their husband's permission to leave the house or to talk to a neighbor who came visiting.
As time went on, rights for women remained the same.
Roman Women: During the 200 years that Rome was a Kingdom, rights for women in ancient Rome were similar to rights for women in ancient Greece. But as time went on, things began to change.
During the 500 years that Rome was a Republic, Roman women could go to the Forum to shop, chat with friends, and visit a temple, all without asking their husband for permission.
During the 500 years that Rome was an Empire, women gained even more freedom. Under the Empire, it was legal for women to own land, run businesses, free slaves, make wills, inherit wealth, and get a paid job.
In ancient Rome, only free adult men were citizens. Although women were not citizens of ancient Rome, they enjoyed considerably more freedom than did women in ancient Greece.
Both Greece and Rome are Mediterranean countries, but the terrain of the two is very different. The ancient Greek city-states were separated from each other by hilly countryside and all were near the water. Rome was inland, on one side of the Tiber River, but the Italic tribes (in the boot-shaped peninsula that is now Italy) did not have the natural hilly borders to keep them out of Rome.
Greek art is considered superior to (imitative) Roman art. The goal of the classical Greek sculptors was to produce an ideal artistic form, where the goal of Roman artists was to produce realistic portraits for decoration. This is obvious oversimplification, especially when considering the division of Greek art into the Mycenaean, geometric, archaic, and Hellenistic periods, in addition to the Classical, but the art we associate with Greece is the Venus de Milo, and the Roman art is the mosaic or wall painting known as fresco.
The economy of both Greece and Rome was based on agriculture. Greeks ideally lived on small self-sufficient wheat-producing farms, but bad agricultural practices made many households incapable of feeding themselves. Big estates took over, producing wine and olive oil, which were also the chief exports of the Romans. The Romans, who imported their wheat and annexed provinces that could provide them with this all-important staple, also farmed, but they also engaged in trade. It is thought that the Greeks considered such occupations degrading. In the cities, manufacturing went on. Both Greece and Rome worked mines. While Greece also had slaves, the economy of Rome was dependent on slave labor from the expansion until the late Empire. Both cultures had coinage.
Greek (at least Athenian) women were not citizens; Roman women were. Both societies were also divided according to wealth. As are all the other categories, this is a complicated area and what is true of Athens is not true of Sparta.
Dealing with Athens, according to the literature, women were valued for not gossiping, for managing the household, and, most of all, for producing legitimate children. The aristocratic woman was secluded in the...
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