Greeks and Romans are citizens of the two most celebrated ancient cultures in Western culture. While both made considerable strides in politics, literature, art and social organizations, their ways of life and political organizations varied significantly. While the Greeks' artistic accomplishments outweighed those of the Romans, Rome had more success creating a unified empire.

Geographic Difference

Aerial view of Greece.
Aerial view of Greece.

Both ancient Greece and Rome began as city states. However, Greece was surrounded by mountains and a coastline, while Rome was at the geographic center of the Italian peninsula. For this reason, it was easier for Rome to unify the lands and people surrounding them than it was for Greece to maintain control of its surrounding areas.

Citizenship

Historical ruins in Rome.
Historical ruins in Rome.

Because of ancient Greece's geography, the city-states that grew in the Mediterranean peninsula became increasingly isolated. The Greek poleis (cities) had strict rules forbidding the creation of a Greek empire. The surrounding city-states were essentially barred from citizenship, meaning no one city-state could become dominant. When the Roman empire began to grow, it immediately extended citizenship to conquered peoples. During the Punic Wars, a fierce and long conflict, people of the Italian peninsula came to identify themselves as Roman. This allegiance to the Roman empire created a strong basis for the expanding civilization.

Women's Rights

Ancient Greece.
Ancient Greece.

In ancient Greece, women were considered property of their husbands. They had no rights, no free will and no citizenship. In ancient Rome, women were also considered property. However, as the Roman republic grew, women gained a sense of freedom to participate in daily social life. While they never gained citizenship, women in Rome eventually gained the right to own land, run businesses, inherit wealth, work a job and make wills.

Culture

Ancient Rome.
Ancient Rome.

Though Rome had more success building an effective and long lasting empire. Grecian culture was far more advanced. Thinkers in philosophy, art, literature and theater are still prominent subjects for education today. Also, education was more advanced in Greece. While Rome might have conquered Greece during the reign of their empire. The culture of the Grecian empire is viewed as more important today than Roman culture.