Rise and fall of the Greek and Roman civilization
Throughout the ages of civilizations have risen and fallen. The rise and fall of a civilization is attributable to the loss and gain of a unique economic advantage it held over other civilizations. The Greek and Roman Empires form a formidable part of modern day civilization and worldviews. The major aim of this research is to present the differences in the Greek and Roman civilization. In addition, the papers offers insight into lessons that modern society should learn from the rise and fall of the Greek and Roman civilization.
The Greek civilization
The scope of Greek civilization varied over the ages because each era had its sphere of interest. Greek civilization spread from Greece, Egypt and the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan (Dowden & Livingston, 2011). The Greek civilization traces back to Neolithic revolution, which ended Greek Neolithic and introduced the Bronze Age in the 28th century BC (Lebow, 2000). During this period, the Mycenaean introduced the Greek language to the present day Greece.
Following the Bronze Age is the Cycladic and Minoan Civilization, which was revealed to the world in the 1900 BC. The Minoan Civilization took place in Crete lasting from 2700BC-1450 BC. The Minoan people largely comprised of Pre-Indo-European people. According to Pavlac (2010) the language spoken by the Minoan people was encoded in Linear A Script. The civilization of the Minoan era was largely because of the rich natural resources in their land. The Minoan people engaged in trade by exporting their produce to nearby lands such as Cyprus, Egypt, and Syria.
During the Minoan civilization, timber was in abundance and it formed the basis of their trade with the outside world. The Greek relied on quality but not quantity of the army. Since the Mycenaean era, the Greek have been able to make good use siege weapons such as cavalry and archers in their military. The Greek troops were devoted to training which gave them the ability to conquer any territory they set their eyes on. The military in the Greek empire comprised of Spartan units, which were responsible for training units of troops. These troops trained tirelessly which enabled them to conquer even the most determined opponents.
The Minoan Civilization was preceded by the Mycenaean civilization. According to Pavlac, 2010), the Mycenaean relied largely on agriculture, which formed the backbone of the Greek Civilization. Warior aristocracy dominated Mycenaean Greece. This enabled the Mycenaean to extend their civilization to Crete a Minoan territory. After inhabiting Crete, the centre of Minoan civilization the Mycenaean adopted a language encoded with a Linear B script. The Nile River provided the Mycenaean with a foothold for their civilization because it enabled agricultural activities to prosper in the region. Agriculture led to manufacturing of goods from raw material. As a result, trade was inevitable coupled with mining. During this era, slavery was common with the noble using the less influential members of the society to expand their wealth and territory. Around 1100 BC the Mycenaean civilization collapsed (Pavlac, 2010). The fall of the Mycenaean civilization is known as the Dark Age. The fall of the Mycenaean civilization was occasioned by the invasion on the sea people by the Dorian’s who had stronger iron weapons than the Mycenaean did.
The fall of the Mycenaean era gave way to the early Iron Age era also known as the Greek Dark Ages in the early eleventh century. The Iron Age led to the development of the Greek city-states. During this era, Kings ruled through the aristocracy but eventually warfare shifted to infantry. The Iron Age was characterized with presence of iron, which was cheaper and easily accessible than Bronze. Weapons and tools were manufactured using iron. The Iron Age also brought a change in political and cultural trends in Greece. Kings were dethroned as people started to appreciate the need for equality. At the end of the Iron Age era Greece was engulfed with a renaissance, which resulted in spread of the Greek world as far as Spain and the Black Sea (Dowden & Livingston, 2011).
After the dark ages, Greek civilization brought about the Pharaonic Egypt, which was also known as an ancient command economy (Dowden & Livingstone, 2011). The command economy brought stability in the country however; it also was coupled with bureaucracy and very high taxes on the people. The government was largely local at the beginning but eventually taken over by foreigners organized storage of grains, which was distributed to people during famine. Workers for the government were paid with the taxes the government was collecting from the people. However, over time the people began to rebel against the government because of its emphasis on stout socialist policies.
With emergence of Alexander the Great Greece, become dominant in the world economy. According to Stanton and Hyma (2003), Alexander the great in his quest to seek revenge on Persians for previous attacks on Greece led his army on an atheist wards conquering Persian troops and opening up paths, which allowed trade with china, India and other civilizations. Alexander made Greece into an economic superpower through his conquest and establishment of quite a number of trade routes.
In the fourth and fifth century, ancient Greece was one of the most developed economies in the world. After the death of Alexander, the great the Greece divided into three kingdoms. The division of the Greece into three kingdoms served as its downfall because other civilizations conquered them one by one because they were not as powerfully as before when they were united.
The Roman Civilization
Roman civilization is grouped into classical antiquity with ancient Greece. Ancient Rome civilization grew out of a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula in early tenth century BC (Lockman, 2004). Owing to its location along the Mediterranean Sea and in the City of Rome, ancient Rome expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world.
Rome was an economic powerhouse of the classical era. During most of its civilization of ancient Rome was a republic governed by a Roman senate. The early expansion of Rome into Italy was because of handwork by citizens, domination, and aggression (Lockman, 2004). The Roman Empire expanded through settlement of farmers on confiscated territory. The conquered neighborhoods did not retaliate because the settled farmers treated them prudently. Some of the conquered neighborhoods were sometimes admitted into roman citizenship.
The fall of the Roman Empire was largely due to lack of external markets to sell their produce. The reliance on internal markets where goods produced were sold resulted in limited Roman Empire ability to interact with other civilization. However, over time the leaders of the Roman Empire realized the need for external markets. The civilization of ancient Rome was largely due to availability of salves who worked in the farms owned by their masters. With the expansion into markets resulted in a need for new salves in order to satisfy demand for farm produce in the external markets. The lack of salves was major contributing factor to fall of the Roman Empire (Kahn, 2005).
The Roman government at the time of Roman civilization created a good atmosphere for the advancement of engineering, farming, education, manufacturing, science, and art (Lockman, 2004). The Roman government was able to create a huge battalion of soldiers who contributed significantly to the Roman civilization. The Roman military were well trained. The military officers would use formations in a battlefield, which enabled the Roman military to subjugate and conquer their opponent. Through use of its military the Roman government was able expand its conquest through subjugation of weaker communities.
The Roman Empire was the first true empire, however when leadership of the empire shifted to emperors it resulted in its downfall. As ancient Rome expanded this, it becomes necessary to create new provinces, which would assist in the governing of the Rome (Kahn, 2005). With new provinces came state governments who became powerful with time because they had more control over the citizens. To mitigate the influence of the provincial governments the Roman empires created small states, which were highly bureaucratic. The expanding bureaucracies took a toll on the civilization of ancient Rome because of the escalating cost of maintaining the individual governments.
The internal problem within the Roman Empire was further increased by raids from German tribes, which made the resources by the individual states insufficient to adequately deal with the external interference. In addition, the Roman government was facing a major challenge due to the debasing of its currency causing inflationary crisis in the country (Lockman, 2004). Due to the high levels of inflation, the government was unable to pay its military. The cost of running the government began to exceed the gross domestic income (Lockman, 2004). This made Rome of the first civilization to depend on deficit spending. The introduction of religion served to acerbate the situation further because of the brainwashing concepts which did discourages citizens from hard work due to communism and in turn this dealt a blow on the economy.
The Roman and Greek civilization contributes significantly to modern worldviews. The rise of fall of the two civilizations has profound significance in our society today. The society should appreciate the importance of peace and unity, for example, when Greece divided into three kingdoms it was conquered by other civilizations, one kingdom at time because the separated kingdoms did not have the resources to defend themselves. In addition, when the Rome divided into provinces, which had separate governments this contributed to its downfall because of the high, cost of incurred by the government in running the provinces.
The society should also recognize the importance of international trade in the development of an economy. The Greek empire was only able to rise into the world map through its interaction with other civilizations. This only happened after Alexander the great opened trade routes that enable Greece to trade with India, china, and other economies (Lockman, 2004).
The society should also realize the importance of the leadership it puts into power because the political structure plays a fundamental role in the development of county’s economy. Overly bureaucratic governments results in high cost of running the government, which in turn leads to high taxes. When the Roman Empire divided into provinces there was, need to create state governments, which made the government expenditure, exceed its gross domestic income thus operating on a deficit budget.
Dowden, K. and Livingstone, N. (2011). A Companion to Greek Mythology. New York: Wiley Publishers.
Kahn, C. (2005). World History: Societies of the Past. California: Portage & Main Press.
Lebow, R. N. (2000).The tragic vision of politics: ethics, interests and orders. Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press.
Lockman, Z. (2004).Contending visions of the Middle East: the history and politics of Orientalism. Massachussets: Cambridge University Press.
Pavlac, B. A. (2010). A Concise Survey of Western Civilization: Supremacies and Diversities throughout History. New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefield
Stanton, M. & Hyma, A. (2003).Streams of Civilization: Earliest Times to the Discovery of the New World. USA: Christian Liberty Press.