What Are the Differences Between Greeks & Romans?

Ancient Greek building.
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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. Differences in language, culture and currency have persisted to modern times.

1 Difference Between Greece and Italy

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. Romans also built several roads leading to the Roman Empire. For this reason, it was easier for Italians to unify the lands and people surrounding them than it was for Greece to maintain control of its surrounding areas. Even though both Greece and Italy are both southern Mediterranean countries, there is considerable difference between them, which helps explain the cultural differences. Traveling between major cities in the region involved a long journey. Even today, it takes just under 21 hours to drive from Rome, Italy to Athens, Greece.

2 Greek vs Romans Citizenship

Because of ancient Greece's geography, 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.

3 Women's Rights in Ancient Times

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.

4 Differences Between Greece and 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. Preference in artistic works also differed in ancient times. Roman artists and sculptors valued realism, while Greek artesians created perfect, flawless depictions of their subject. Monuments and other works of art still stand today in Greece and Rome, but pastoral life has been replaced by bustling traffic and honking horns.

Katelyn Coyne has been a freelance writer based out of Indianapolis since 2009. Her areas of expertise include theater, arts, music, dance, literature and popular culture. She has published work for the Indianapolis-based website FunCityFinder.com and other online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater with a minor in English from Butler University.