Ancient Rome and Greece: History, Culture, and Legacy

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Rome was located in the center of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea (good for expansion) and protected by mountains in the north. It was founded by twin brothers: Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE. It was a fusion between Etruscan and native Roman elements. The Roman Republic was a system of government ruled by elected representatives. The Roman Empire conquered the Mediterranean, after fighting three wars: Punic Wars. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire took place between 133-31 BCE. During the Age of Augustus (31-14 BCE) there were provincial reforms, uniform imperial policy was established, and the frontiers were stabilized. There were five good emperors who followed the Pax Romana. The crisis in the third century was caused by military anarchy, invasions, civil wars, and the plague, as well as deteriorated farm production. The late Roman Empire strengthened administrative bureaucracies and built Constantinople. The origins of Christianity were in Roman polytheism and Judaism under the Romans. The change from Judaism to Christianity occurred. Paul's epistles and the Gospels spread Christianity, and even though there were people who refused to worship official gods, it ended up being the official religion by the end of the 3rd century.

Greece was a small, mountainous peninsula. The first Greek state was Mycenae, where Greeks were Indo-Europeans who migrated to Greece ca. 1900 BCE. During the Dark Age, the population declined. Greeks migrated to the islands of the Aegean Sea and the mainland of Asia Minor. Homer composed the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey'. In the beginning of the 8th century, the city-states or polis emerged as the main institution in Greece. The polis consisted of a city or town, and the surrounding countryside. The center was a temple or fortified hill. There were full citizens, citizens without rights, and non-citizens. The growth of merchants and artisans led to a rise of tyrants. There was a tremendous growth of trade where pottery, wine, and olive oil were traded for grains. Sparta and Athens were the biggest polis in Greece. History was introduced by the Greeks. Herodotus wrote 'The History of the Persian War' and Thucydides 'History of the Peloponnesian War'. Greeks invented drama. Early Greek philosophy sought to understand nature. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were the main philosophers. Greek temples were the main public buildings. Sacrifices to the gods were common. The Oracle of Delphi was believed to predict the future. The first Olympics took place in 776 BCE. The empire divided after Alexander's death. A golden age of science took place where science was really important, and Archimedes established values for pi and invented the screw pump. Epicurus believed the key to happiness was the pursuit of pleasure, while Stoicism believed it was maintaining a will in harmony with nature.

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