The Roman Empire and Classical Greece were undeniably two of the greatest societies in history. As far as the political and cultural developments of the two civilizations, the Roman Empire's (approximately the first five centuries of the Common Era) form of government contrasted with that of Classical Greece (approximately 500 B. C. E to 300 B. C. E. ), however the two societies shared similar enthusiasm for literature as well as almost identical religious beliefs.
An extremely prominent characteristic of Classical Greece was its decentralized form of government. There, the nation was divided into several polises, or city-states. Each polis had its own government system - which could be a monarchy (the most common), a Tyranny, an Oligarchy, or a Democracy (Athens being the world's first). This is very strange compared to the government of Rome. The Roman Empire was centralized and ruled by one solitary man: the Emperor. Although the senate had some influence of the Roman government, the Emperor held absolute power.
Centralization and absolute power was necessary in the large Roman Empire because the vast amount of land being controlled was too much for Rome as a republic to handle. This was not the case in Classical Greece, which was much smaller, and could allow its polises to make their own decisions to keep the people happy. For this reason, we see a difference in the styles of governments of the two societies. Despite this difference though, Classical Greece and The Roman Empire still shared love and support of literature. Several great works of literature came from Classical Greece.
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During the classical era, many genres of western literature became more prominent. This includes lyrical poetry, odes, pastorals, dramatic presentations of comedy and tragedy, histories, philosophical writings, government writings, and more. Many works from this time became classics in our world today. The Romans also had a strong emphasis on literature and they wrote almost everything of significance down. It was essential for the Romans to keep extensive written government records on order for them to organize their extremely large empire.
Literature was able to strive in both the Roman Empire and Classical Greece because of the emphasis both societies had on education. Without this, neither would have the educated authors, poets, and philosophers needed to produce the great literature that they did. Furthermore, Classical Athens and the Roman Empire shared almost identical religious beliefs. For almost every Greek God, there is a corresponding Roman God. For example, for Zeus there is Jupiter, for Aphrodite there is Venus, Poseidon there is Neptune, and for Hades there is Pluto.
The list goes on to include more of the major as well as minor gods, although some gods, such as Apollo, have the same name in each religion. In Rome, despite the change of name, the gods play the same role and have indistinguishable powers to their Greek counterparts. The reason behind this similarity is that when Rome was developing into a strong civilization, leaders saw the accomplishments of the Greece, especially Athens, and decided to adopt their gods in hopes of reaching the same success.
To make them their own, they simply changed the names. Unmistakably similar in their belief systems and love of literature, and at the same time clearly diverse in their forms of government, Classical Greece and the Roman Empire were able to share similarities as well as differences in their cultural and political developments that enabled them to become the prominent and strong civilizations that they did.
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