Ancient Rome as a Direct Predecessor of European Civilization
Ancient Rome, though unmistakably belonging to the antiquity along with Greece and some other nations of ancient Mediterranean, possesses a number of quite unique features that made its role in the world’s history very special. At the first glance one may think that Rome and Greece are almost identical in their architecture, sculpture, system of religious beliefs and overall style. There is, nevertheless, an inherent difference lying beneath.
The first and most important distinguishing feature of Rome was its unquestioning belief in its own great future, which began when Rome was nothing more than a stretch of land along the river Tiber, constantly being in danger of overrunning by neighboring tribes that were at the time much more powerful than the Romans. This feeling, that treated the Romans as true people and all the rest as barbarians, makes Rome somewhat similar to ancient Greece; there is, however, one detail that differs. The Greeks considered outside barbarians to be unworthy of attention and all the communications of them had to be limited to necessary trade and diplomatic relations; the culture melding was out of the question. The Romans considered other nations as barbarians that have to be conquered and absorbed by Rome – for their own benefit, for thus they will receive good Roman culture instead of their inferior ways – and for the benefit of Rome, of course. This directed Rome’s power outwards rather than inwards, making it in turn one of the greatest empires that have ever existed on the Earth and the greatest at its own time.
Among other distinctive features of ancient Rome was the practical way of thinking and love for organization and discipline. The very word “religion” in its modern sense was coined by them and was based on the word “religare”, “to bind” – i.e., to organize. Though borrowing a lot from the Greeks- from architectural style to the religious pantheon – the Romans never actually ceased to consider them to be effeminate, chaotic and in all respects inferior.
The Romans actually believed themselves to be the nation that existed in order to rule the world and all the other peoples – the idea that was surfacing from time to time later on, but never led to such a great and lasting success as it was in Rome. We may treat…