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Roman Civilization.odt

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HUMA 1770
Leo Stan

Sameer Musaad HUMA1770 November 8, 2012 Roman Civilization What is a civilization? Based on the definition given in our course textbook, a civilization is a “complex culture in which large numbers of people share a variety of common elements” (Duiker and Spielvogel, 7). The main elements of a civilization include a combination of the following things; large urban cities/environments, an economic social structure/hierarchy based on power, dominant political/military structures, developed writing systems and literature, intensive agriculture, efficient trade/market economy, significant artistic/intellectual achievements, a centralized governmental bureaucracy, written laws/regulations and a distinct religious structure.Aculture must have all of these elements to be considered a civilization, and this is why I believe that Rome in my opinion deserves to be called a civilization. Rome deserves to be called a civilization because it has all the main elements present within its culture such as its large urban cities, developed writing systems and a dominant political/military structure, just to name a few of them. These important elements will all be discussed in further detail in the upcoming paragraphs. Rome’s political/military structure had transitioned from a monarchy to a republic governmental system after the overthrow of the leader at the time by the nobles. Throughout Rome’s colonization over Italy, the Romans had developed efficient policies to maintain control over their population. They were strong military soldiers and had a practical sense of strategy as they established colonial rule in locations throughout the country (Duiker and Spielvogel, 108). The classes were organized by wealth, which meant that the richest people would always have the most power. Rome’s political structure was split into three branches: legislative, executive and deliberative. The Roman monarchy had a curiate assembly that consisted of two main groups; the Sameer Musaad HUMA1770 November 8, 2012 plebieans and the patricians. The struggle between these two groups had a significant impact on the development of the Roman government. The senate had become the effective governing body of the state and played an extremely important position in the republic (Duiker and Spielvogel, 108). They directed all wars and were responsible for both foreign and domestic policy, as well as issues pertaining to financial affairs. Long-distance trade/commerce was an important aspect of Roman civilization during the Early Empire. Developments in both the Roman and Chinese empires helped expand the growth of trade as roads were used to facilitate trade between nations. There was much trade between the provinces 2within the empire, and all regions of the empire were economically interdependent from one another .With the creation of large empires, the Romans and Chinese were able to strengthen their bordering territories to block off thieves and bandits that posed a threat to the traders (Duiker and Spielvogel, 115). The Romans greatly benefited from trading with other nations as this generated huge amounts of profits into the country. Romans thrived off of its imports, and importers were among the wealthiest citizens of the Empire. Aside from trade and commerce, agriculture remained the main underlying basis of prosperity of Roman culture. Agriculture in ancient Rome was not only a necessity, but was accepted among the social elite as a way of life. The development of towns and cities was largely based on the agricultural surpluses of farmers from the countryside. The backbone of the Roman state had traditionally been small farmers and had a great impact in the prosperity of the empire (Duiker and Spielvogel, 115). Though some small farms were owned by lower class citizens and soldiers, much of the land was controlled by the noble class of Rome. Land ownership was just one of many Sameer Musaad HUMA1770 November 8, 2012 distinctions that set the aristocracy apart from the lower classes. The Roman army had traditionally conscripted small farmers who were landowners, as well as those that possessed no property. Rome had a distinct social structure/hierarchy that was largely based on power and wealth, with the aristocrats at the top of the pyramid. The aristocrats had acquired large estates which used slaves, usually small farmers, as labor which affected the number of citizens available for military service. This has caused many farmers without any land to travel to urban areas in hopes of finding employment and job opportunities, forming a large class of landless poor that greatly affected the Roman economy. Slavery was a common practice within the country. Slaves were used mainly as farm laborers and worked under extreme and inhumane conditions. Many of them were also employed as cooks, waiters, cleaners and gardeners (Duiker and Spielvogel, 117). They were subject to cruel and severe punishment, torture and abuse by the hands of the master. There were also classes of non-citizens with different regal rights than citizens. The family was considered to be the basic unit of Roman society and was a patriarchal society that had been marginally dominated by males. Women were not allowed to vote or hold public office at the time. Fathers arranged the marriages of their daughters and had no say as to who they wanted to marry. The legal minimum age for marriage was twelve, although fourteen was a more common age that girls would get married. Another key feature of Roman culture is their developed writing systems and are widely renowned for their famous poets. Latin literature had been strongly influenced by the Greeks and adapted Greek literary forms like lyric poetry and drama to the Latin language with fa
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