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The influence of Rome and Athens: A comparison of two ancient civilizations

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to argue how the ancient civilizations of Rome and Athens used different political, military, cultural, and social strategies to influence their surrounding areas at different times during the fifth century BCE. I will first provide a brief overview of each civilization, including its geographical location and a brief description of its early history. I will then discuss how Rome and Athens rose to power and influenced their respective regions. Finally, I will conclude by discussing the fall of Rome and Athens and how their influence declined.

2. The rise of Rome and Athens

Rome is an ancient city located in present-day Italy. The Roman civilization began around 1000 BCE with the founding of the city by Romulus. For the next few centuries, Rome was ruled by Etruscan kings who had control over a large area of central Italy (known as Etruria). In 509 BCE, the Romans overthrew the Etruscan king and established the Roman Republic. The Republic was a type of government in which elected officials represented the interests of the people. The Roman Republic was very successful and expanded its territory by conquering other peoples in Italy, such as the Etruscans, Greeks, and Gauls. By 275 BCE, Rome had control over all of Italy except for a small kingdom in the north (present-day Switzerland).

Athens is an ancient city located in present-day Greece. The Greek civilization began around 1700 BCE with the rise of Mycenaean culture in mainland Greece (Mycenaean civilization would later collapse around 1100 BCE). Around 800 BCE, the early Greeks began to establish city-states, which were independent states with their own governments, laws, and customs. Athens was one of these city-states. The Athenian state was ruled by a group of aristocrats (noblemen) until around 600 BCE when Solon became chief magistrate (a position similar to that of a modern-day Prime Minister). Solon reforms increased the power of the middle class at the expense of the aristocrats. This led to conflict between the two groups, which was eventually resolved by Cleisthenes who reformed Athens into a democracy around 508 BCE. A democracy is a type of government in which all citizens have equal rights and are allowed to participate in government decisions. Under Athenian democracy, all male citizens were allowed to vote and hold office.

3. The influence of Rome and Athens

Rome rose to power through its military conquests. By 200 BCE, Rome had control over most of Italy as well as some provinces in Europe (such as present-day France, Spain, and Croatia) and North Africa (such as present-day Tunisia). In order to maintain control over such a large empire, Rome developed an efficient system of governance known as the Twelve Tables (which guaranteed equality before the law for all citizens) and established a professional army that could be called upon to quell rebellions or defend against invasions. The size and organization of the Roman army allowed Rome to expand its empire even further. By 100 CE, Rome controlled all lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including most of Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia (such as present-day Turkey and Syria).

Athens rose to power through its naval dominance. During the Persian Wars (499-479 BCE), Athens sided with the Greeks against the Persian Empire. The Persians were defeated and Athens became the leader of the Delian League, an alliance of Greek city-states. The Delian League was formed for the purpose of expelling the Persians from Greece and to provide protection from future invasions. Athens used its control of the Delian League to fund the construction of a powerful navy. The Athenian navy was used to protect Greek trade routes and to expand Athens’ empire. By 449 BCE, Athens controlled most of the Aegean Sea (an area surrounding mainland Greece) as well as some islands in the Mediterranean Sea (such as Cyprus and Sicily).

4. The fall of Rome and Athens

Rome’s influence began to decline in the late first century CE due to economic problems and political instability. The Roman Empire was very large and difficult to govern. To finance its military campaigns and public works projects, Rome taxed its citizens heavily which caused many people to become poor. In addition, Roman officials were often corrupt and favoritism was common. These problems led to social unrest which was exploited by barbarian tribes (such as the Goths) who began invading Roman territory in the mid-third century CE. By 476 CE, the last Roman emperor had been overthrown by a Gothic general, Odoacer, marking the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Athens’ influence also began to decline in the late fifth century BCE due to economic problems and political instability. Like Rome, Athens had a large empire which was difficult to govern. To finance its military campaigns and public works projects, Athens taxed its citizens heavily which caused many people to become poor. In addition, Athenian officials were often corrupt and favoritism was common. These problems led to social unrest which was exploited by Sparta, a rival Greek city-state. In 404 BCE, Athens was defeated by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, marking the end of Athenian power.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, Rome and Athens rose to power through different political, military, cultural, and social strategies but ultimately fell due to similar economic and political problems. Both civilizations were able to exert a great deal of influence over their respective regions during their peak years but their legacies are most evident in their impact on modern Western civilization.

FAQ

The similarities between Roman and Athenian civilizations include their impact on Western culture, their forms of government, and their military prowess. The differences between the two civilizations include their geographical location (Rome was located in Italy while Athens was located in Greece), their economic systems (Rome had a more centralized economy while Athens had a more decentralized economy), and their religions (Rome was primarily a polytheistic civilization while Athens was primarily a monotheistic civilization).

Both Rome and Athens contributed to the development of Western culture through their art, literature, philosophy, and architecture. Rome also contributed to the development of Western law and governance, while Athens is credited with being the birthplace of democracy.

The decline of both Rome and Athens can be attributed to a number of factors, including internal strife, economic problems, barbarian invasions, and political corruption.

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