Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome – Essay Example

The paper "Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome " is an outstanding example of a history essay. As two of the preeminent civilizations of antiquity, the inclination to compare the cultures of Greece and Rome is inevitable. While both civilizations exhibited tremendous advancements in politics and culture, they also exhibit distinct differences that attest to the varying nature of their worlds. In determining the extent of the difference between the two societies, this essay compares and contrasts the features of geography, art, and economy. An interesting feature of investigation concerning ancient Greece and ancient Rome concerns the degrees to which their geography is similar, as this feature affects later political and economic development. While both countries are Mediterranean, the relative features of their terrain vary greatly. The Greek cities had the advantage of being separated by large hills, which protected them against invading tribes. They also bordered a relied heavily on their contiguity to the ocean. While Rome was mountainous – it famously was found by settlers who naturally habituated on the city’s largest hills – the hills weren’t as strategically positioned to prevent invading barbarian tribes as their Greek counterparts. When considering the differing art of the two cultures, history has been more favorable to the Greek work of antiquity than the Roman. While Roman art tended toward imitation and decoration, Greek art – influenced by the philosophical writings of Plato – attempted to capture ideal artistic forms. Art historians have documented distinct phases of Greek artistry, including the Mycenaean and Hellenistic periods; conversely, the Roman art of antiquity is generally characterized through generic conventions, notably the fresco and mosaic formats. The economic structure of the two countries was in many ways similar. Even as both economies relied on slave labor, the Roman system functioned almost entirely on the work of this forced labor, with slaves out-numbering the actual Roman population. They both relied heavily on a self-sustained system of agricultural production. The Greek system functioned by small farmers in specified areas producing wheat, whereas the militaristic Romans invaded areas that could provide the agricultural staple and colonized them as their own. Indeed, much of the Roman wealth was a direct result of their imperialistic success. At a certain point during Greek antiquity deficient farming practices, motivated citizens to convert to an economy based in greater parts on olive oil and wine production, which was also a significant feature of the Roman economic structure. In conclusion, ancient Greece and ancient Rome exhibit varying degrees of similarities and differences. While the terrain of the countries is very similar, the Romans didn’t have the advantage of protection from the hills and were more vulnerable to barbarian invasion. Greek art is generally considered superior, as Roman art is largely imitative. Finally, their economic structure was similar; however, Rome relied more heavily on slaves and external conquests for wealth and production.