Mediterranean Society under the Greeks and Romans

Mediterranean Society under the Greeks and Romans Free Essay

The Roman and Greek history both cover the Mediterranean civilization under the Romans and Greeks. The classical civilizations arising from the Mediterranean Sea as from 800B.C. E ending in 476 C.E. during the fall of the Roman Empire was comparable to the civilization witnessed in China and India in terms of impact and richness. Peninsula of Greece was initially the center of this civilization before shifting to the burgeoning Roman provinces; however, the Mediterranean culture accepted some forms of both Greek and Roman civilizations but equally rejected certain aspects of these two civilizations (Andrew, 2009).

Both the Greek and Roman empires promoted civilizations westward from the earlier centers of civilizations along the Nile and the Middle East through the development of new values and institutions that later formed part of a history of Europe and the Middle East. The classical Mediterranean civilization constitutes what most Americans inclusive of the descendants of European immigrants, consider as their own classical past.


Greek Political Culture

The Mediterranean Society under the Greeks did not reflect the Greek political culture characterized by adoption democracy, as an alternative political system in the various Greek city-states such as Athens. Tyranny and democracy popular with Greek political culture did not prevail, as the favored Mediterranean political framework since Aristocratic assemblies was the favored political framework during the classical Mediterranean world (Andrew 2009).

The Roman Ppolitical Culture

The Roman Empire in the Mediterranean society tried to reconcile the various political concepts experienced in the region during the era of the Greeks, though they tended to favor aristocratic political framework and principles (Andrew, 2009). The Roman Empire relied on a constitution that they harmonized in order to incorporate certain aspects of the Greek political culture already entrenched in the empire. It is important to note that the Romans established expansive organizational capacities beyond the city-states.


There were certain similarities in the Mediterranean society under both Greeks and Romans such as the tendency of both political systems to emphasize aristocratic rule with certain elements of democratic political frameworks incorporated. The classical Mediterranean political concepts involved duties of citizens, ethics and appreciated oratory skills.

Agriculture was an important economic part of the economic activities in the Mediterranean under both the Romans and Greeks. Most of the Romans and Greeks were self-sustaining farmers but some of them equally indulged in commercial agriculture as their mainstay economic activities (Andrew, 2009). Agriculture was a very important economic activity during the Mediterranean civilization under the Romans and the Greeks as it supported the establishment of the empire. The empire engaged in extensive trade/ commerce with slavery equally playing important economic activities in the Mediterranean civilization.

Socially, slavery was part of the social institutions in the Mediterranean civilization. Under both Romans and Greeks, the Mediterranean society had the family as the primary social structure characterized by the domination of the men who were the main decision makers within the family and society. Women, on the other hand, engaged in business activities and in certain instances controlled property. Both the Romans and the Greeks equally did not come up with any major religion thus believed in certain gods and goddesses they believed to have influence over human life.

Influence on the Western World

The Romans and Greeks contributed significantly towards western civilization through the emergence of philosophers and philosophies such as Cicero, Confucius and Aristotle taught about the significance of the balance and moderation of human behavior. It equally marked the emergence of rationality and critical thinking associated with western civilization as Socrates taught on the need to challenge and question conventional wisdom through rational investigations and inquiries.

The philosophy that is not based on official religion, but not hostile to religion emanated from the political theories of the classical Mediterranean civilization, which made little or no reference to any religious principle. This type of philosophical system emphasized the appreciation of the human ability to think while down playing the significance of human spirituality.

The Greeks contributed immensely towards the field of science such as through their work in anatomy and geometry. The Romans, on the other hand, made major contributions towards engineering in the field of sciences. The Greeks and the Romans did not only influence the western world in the field of sciences but equally in literature and art where the Greeks made greater contributions as compared to the Romans. The Greeks made good sculptures, plays and were good architects. It is important to note that the Romans did not surpass the Greeks’ contribution in these fields.

Through commerce and trade, the Romans and the Greeks interacted with the West thus influencing the commercial activities of the western world. The Greeks, for instance, established an extensive trading and colonial networks. The Romans, on the other hand, were aware of northeastern European, Asian and African world beyond their realm.

The Mediterranean society under the Romans and Greeks influenced the Western world by developing ethical systems anchored on the independence of inner morals, cultivated through personal bravery and strict discipline of the human body.

The agricultural activities of the Greeks especially the land ownership system in which farmers owned their own plots claiming social and political status was of significant influence to the western agricultural and land ownership systems. The aristocratic ownership of large estates and reliance on agriculture as the mainstay economic to a certain extent inspired the consideration as one of the key economic activities in the western world. The free farmers equally participated in the political affairs thus forming the basis of western democracy

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