How many years did the Roman Civilization last?
The Roman Empire existed from 27 BC to AD 1453 for a total of 1480 years. What? 1453! Yes, only Rome the city fell in AD 476. Western European historians (and people) are too focused on the impact of the Fall of Rome (the city), because that was a time of tumultuous change for them.The capital of the whole Roman Empire had already moved to Constantinople in AD 330 by Emperor Constantine. That was because the east had always been was the economic centre of the Empire. Ephesus (now in Turkey), Rome’s second largest city, was the terminus of the various Silk Trade Routes.The people of that day still called it the Roman Empire. It was still large but they gave up on Northern Europe. A revisionist German historian in the 16th century came up with the name Byzantine Empire. There was no such thing.The reasons why it lasted so long will be explored in walk 3 of my series on Rome Walks, starting with Amazing Ancient Rome
Which was the most advanced civilization for its time?
At its economic height, in the 4th century BC, Ancient Greece was the most advanced economy in the world. According to some economic historians, it was one of the most advanced preindustrial economies. This is demonstrated by the average daily wage of the Greek worker, it was, in terms of wheat (about 12 kg), more than 3 times the average daily wage of the Romano-Egyptian worker during the Roman period (about 3.75 kg).
Was Ancient Rome or Athens a better form of government?
No perfect answer here. The Greeks (other than Sparta) utilized democracies, which fostered a greater participation of the people than the Roman Republic. But Athens and the other Poleis were relatively small population centers whose size waslimited by the geography of Greece. Small cities fostered greater public participation because the people did not have to travel a long distance to vote. The democracy of Athens was not like the democracies we have today, which utilize representatives in place of a voting public who are chosen to advance the people’s interests.Rome was a Republic, the word derived from the Latin res publica meaning “thing of the people”. This referred to the fact that Rome had assembles built into its political system which allowed the people to pass laws and elect magistrates. The other components of the Roman political system included the Senate and the Consuls who were chief administrators of the government. A republic is a political system designed to balance the interests of the economic classes, not make everyone an equal participant.When the American Constitution was written and its government came into existence it was a republic. It had a Senate, assembly (House of Representatives, and consul (the president). The founders feared democracies as giving too much power to the people. The key difference between the United States and Rome was the existence of states. America was created as a republic of republics. One of insurmountable problems with the Roman Republic was trying to administer a vast territory from a central city, which would have been solved with a state-like model.
Why did the ancient Greeks fail to establish a long-lasting empire before the Romans?
Because the Greeks, like the Arabs, have a long history of fighting among themselves.Different Greek cities competed and fought with each other right from Bronze Age days, until they were subdued under Rome (and even after)Greek kingdoms (think the Diadochi) did the same thing — read “The Rise of the Seleucid Empire” and the internecine fighting will boggle your mind.They only united when faced by an external threat (the Persians or later the Ottomans) or when they were united by a powerful, forceful ruler like Philip II of Macedon (Alex’s dad)When they did unite — like the Arabs — they were an unstoppable force. But that happened very rarely and broke up soon after.Another factor stopping them from reuniting was geography — this is the geography of mainland GreeceLots of little valleys with access to the sea meaning it made more sense to communicate with a city across the waters rather than one behind the next couple of hills.And this resulted in the greater Greek world looking like thisWe forget that “Greece” not only include mainland Greece, but alsoVery important was Ionia - the coastline of Asia Minor — this was Greek for centuries and culturally different from those on mainland greece - and even competing with themMagna Graecia - the two Sicilies (Sicily and the bottom of the boot of Italy) - this was a very rich areaLook at Ioniaand you see the ancient cities like Miletus (which set up colonies on the Black Sea etc.)And you can see the divisions in the way Magna Graecia was settled by different “Greek nations” — and these different “Greek nations” competed with each other — and also amongst themselvesThe Romans on the other hand were single-minded, doggedness. When they conquered other cities, they gave the leading citizens (and later all citizens) a path to become Romans.Geographically they were on the Latium plainand they had the ethnic composition of the Italian peninsula wasRome conquered the nearby cities and assimilated them culturally, then the Etruscans, then umbrii, etc etc.Some of the later Roman greats were descendants of Rome’s earlier enemies — there were Senators and Emperors descended from Sarmatians, from Sabines, from people from Albo Longa, from Thracians (Max Thrax, Aurelian), from Spaniards (Trajan, Hadrian), from Punic/Berbers (Septimius severus), from Syriacs (Elagabalus etc.) — you too could become Roman, so no need to hold allegiance only to your city state, but you can become part of something bigger — Roma