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Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Empire Of Ancient Greece , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Empire Of Ancient Greece. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. All Languages. More filters. Sort order. Erin rated it really liked it Feb 25, Blake rated it really liked it Jan 04, Shelley rated it it was amazing Aug 01, Joe added it Jul 11, Drfrog added it Aug 10, Simon marked it as to-read Jul 05, David Calderwood marked it as to-read Apr 20, First marked it as to-read Sep 24, Dmitry marked it as to-read May 04, Sarita Goyal Kokra marked it as to-read Jun 29, Shannon Deep marked it as to-read Apr 22, Karishma marked it as to-read Aug 24, Caner Degeroglu marked it as to-read Oct 01, Nathan Jones-Croft added it Feb 08, Saleh marked it as to-read Aug 13, Many cities were located on the coast or by a large, navigable river.

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Here, a harbor would be situated, consisting of quays built of wood or stone for loading and unloading vessels, and docks for repairing or building ships. Surrounding the city was the territory which it controlled. Hamlets and villages were scattered across the landscape, whose people came to the city for market or other special occasions. Villas of the rich were also to be found — large farmhouses set in country estates worked by slaves or tenant farmers.

Some villas were truly magnificent, palaces set in beautiful parks. As in all pre-modern societies, the Roman economy was based primarily on agriculture. For the Romans, this was then typical Mediterranean farming of the ancient world, cultivating grains, vines and olives, and keeping sheep, goat and cattle. Landholdings were very small by modern standards, the majority no more than a few acres in size. An estate of acres was considered large. In the late Republic, however, many wealthy Romans developed huge slave-run plantations.

As the city of Rome grew into a huge imperial capital, its population was fed by grain imported from overseas. However, there was still a great demand for vegetables, olives, wine and other farm produce. As a result, the countryside near Rome was given over to intensive farming and market gardening. Manuals on agriculture were written to spread efficient methods of food production. Long-distance maritime trade was more extensive at the time of the empire than at any time before the nineteenth century. This expansion in trade encouraged the development of farms and estates growing crops for export, of craftsmen specializing in export goods, and the growth of highly organized trading operations spanning the empire.

One fact which had a major impact on trade was the system of grain fleets which carried grain from Egypt and North Africa to Rome, to feed the population of the capital. This was set up by the emperor Augustus, so that the Roman poor — hundreds of thousands of them — could get free bread each day. Scholars used to think that this massive operation acted as a drain on the economy of the empire — it was, after all, paid for out of taxes.

More recently, they have begun to view it as having acted as a huge stimulus to trade. The ships which carried the grain would also have carried other goods, which would have subsidized the long-distance trade of the empire. Quite apart from the grain supply, the sheer wealth which flowed into the enormous imperial capital would have boosted commerce and industry right around the empire. The volume of trade in the empire brought into being the most advanced financial system in the ancient world. The large-scale military operations of the later Republic also brought into being firms of contractors which were involved in supplying armies and undertaking tax-farming operations in the provinces.

Associated with this was the rise of high finance, and what appears to be the arrival of modern-style stocks and shares: the firms of financiers were joint-stock companies issuing bonds and shares which apparently fluctuated in price, just as modern stocks do. This financial industry continued to be active into the imperial period, financing the grain fleets, large-scale mining and other major business operations.

This scale of Roman commercial activity would have facilitated an expansion in industrial output, and there is strong evidence that this, too, was at a level not seen again in Europe until the Nineteenth century. The copper mines which developed in Spain, for example, were huge by pre-modern standards.

Most industrial production took place in the small workshops of potters, blacksmiths, bronze workers, carpenters, leather workers, cobblers, lamp makers and other craftsmen. Family members plus some slaves would make up the workforce in most of these. However, some workshops were much larger.

The armories which supplied the Roman army employed hundreds of workers, mostly slaves. At the top stood the senators — members of the senate the council of state — and their families. In early Rome, these were probably all members of the class of Patricians, a group of hereditary aristocrats; as time went by, however, membership of the senate became more broadly based, as men from Plebeian families were enrolled.

Ancient Greece

Below the senatorial class came the equites. These were originally those in the army who could afford to own a horse equus. Below them were the ordinary Roman citizens. Their numbers grew vastly over time, from a few thousand to many millions; and spread right around the empire. Slaves would have been found everywhere, in the cities and in the country, and of course in the home.

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They worked in all kinds of businesses, and did all kinds of work — from unskilled laboring through to high level professional jobs. They had no legal rights — they were property, like cattle. But one thing they could, with luck, look forward to: freedom. Generation by generation, millions of slaves were freed and joined the main body of citizens, with all their rights.

Some freedmen became very rich; many others made a moderate living in their trade. But all swelled the ranks of citizens. Take a more detailed look at how Roman society and economy changed over time as it grew from single city state to huge empire. The father — the Pater Familias — was the head of the Roman family. In early law, he had complete control over his wife and children, with power of life and death over them. Even as adults, his sons remained under his authority.

Later, the laws governing family life were greatly relaxed, and discipline in most homes became much milder. In fact, from late Republican times onward, Roman women lived much freer lives than their Greek predecessors had done. Also, women could initiate divorce as easily as men. Young Roman men came of age about the age of 17, when he became liable for military service. In early times all men would be expected to fight in the army, and could be called up to do so for some of each year, until he was 40 years old. From the late Republic onward, however, serving in the army became a full-time profession, so unless they volunteered, ordinary citizens would not expect to serve.

Parents arranged the marriages of their children. A man would usually move to his own house when he married. Although boys could marry 14, and girls at 12, most did not do so until they were older.

Greeks Romans Vikings The Founders Of Europe 2of3 The Romans

In poorer households they would be needed in the family workshop. Young children of both sexes, and from a wide range of social backgrounds, attended small schools run by slaves or ex-slaves; in better-off households, they were taught at home, also by a slave or freedman. Schools were held in public places, such as the portico open colonnaded area of the forum. Children were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, by rote learning — reinforced by regular beatings!

Older girls were excluded from formal education — though some Roman women were noted for their learning, and must have continued their education at home. For boys, schooling continued with mastering Latin and Greek grammar. Often, cities paid for a public teacher to perform this task — this was a well-respected post even if often occupied by an ex-slave , and such teachers sometimes went on to take important jobs in the civil service. The sons of wealthy families who wanted them to take up a career in public life then progressed onto higher education.

Here they would learn the art of public speaking — a vitally important skill if they were to persuade citizens to vote for them, or sway juries in court, or influence decisions taken in city councils or even the Roman senate. Like grammar teachers, these were important men in the city, and could go on to high government office later on. Some teachers attracted students from all over the empire, with their schools becoming a kind of university. The two institutions of higher education in Athens, in Greece , the Academy originally founded by Plato and the Lycaeum by Aristotle , continued to flourish under Roman rule, and specialized in the study of Greek philosophy.

The earliest Roman houses were essentially small wattle-and-daub cottages with thatched roofs.


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This is hardly surprising as Rome originated as a collection of rural villages. By the time of the end of the monarchy, however, houses designed along Etruscan lines were being built. Early Roman dwellings were one-story buildings erected around a courtyard. The main reception room the atrium gave out onto smaller rooms — dining room triclinium , office tablinum , bedrooms, kitchens and other domestic areas.

Many of the family rooms had painted walls. Later, under Greek influence, the courtyards of larger houses became small colonnaded peristyle gardens, complete with fountains and ponds. Later, some houses became larger in size and more complex in design, with two stories. The area around the atrium expanded to become a main block, and the garden was moved to the back but still surrounded by wings with kitchens, servants quarters, storerooms and so on. All Roman town houses had toilets, which were built above sewers which discharged into a large public sewer to take the waste away from the town.

In the cities, the poor lived in rooms above or behind their places of work. Craftsmen and shopkeepers rented out shops, workshops or cafes, plus the living accommodation which went with them. Some large houses were completely converted into either workshops or apartments. In large cities such as Rome, apartment blocks as high as five stories or even more, before the emperor Augustus imposed housing regulations were built, divided into many rooms.

These would have had no water or toilets above the first floor, and life in them would have resembled living in the midth century slums of London or New York. The lower stories were sometimes divided into larger suites of rooms, for well-off families. The main building material for houses was fired brick. Stone, marble and even an early form of concrete were used in the palatial mansions of the rich. Roofs were made of wood covered with terracotta tiles terracotta is a type of clay. Houses had small windows, without glass but with wooden shutters.

In apartment blocks, however, the windows were larger, as they were usually the only source of light. They sometimes had glass panes in them. The rooms were furnished with sparse furniture, mostly wooden chairs, couches, stools, benches and tables. Cupboards similar to those of today were also to be found, as well as chests of various sizes.

The dwellings of the rural poor were small huts and cottages, with tile or thatched roofs. They were normally huddled together in hamlets or villages. The focus of Roman community life was always in the city, and so country villages were low-status places to live, despised by the city-dwellers.


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However, one type of country house was very desirable: the villa. Many of these were more or less large farmhouses, the center of a working farm. Indeed, most villas were the headquarters of a large farm or country estate. Some, however, were mansions designed primarily for a leisured lifestyle. Such houses, owned by wealthy families, were often located within easy reach of a city, and were used as retreats from the stresses of urban living.

Villas were similar in design to large urban dwellings, but were more spacious. Some were laid out with three wings, others completely enclosed a large inner space. This was often used as a luxurious garden. The rooms were likely to boast mosaic floors and painted walls. Roman clothing was almost identical to that of the Greeks. Men wore a tunic tied at the waste. On formal occasions they would also drape a large piece of cloth, called a toga , around themselves.

Only Roman citizens were allowed to wear this. For most citizens, the toga was a plain white cloth. A depiction of a Roman Toga.

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Asia Minor

Towards the end of the Roman Empire, although togas continued to be worn by senators and high officials, they went out of fashion for everyone else by this time all free people were Roman citizens, so it had ceased to be a mark of distinction. Barbarian influences began to be felt, with long-sleeved tunics and trousers became popular.

Highly decorated cloaks fastened by a broach also came into vogue. Most men wore their hair short. Throughout the republic and early empire, they were clean shaven. From the second century onward, older men adopted the Greek fashion for growing a beard. In the later Empire men of all ages wore beards. Women wore a stola , a long tunic tied at the bust and falling to the ankles.

They too could drape large pieces of cloth, looking like a toga but called a palla , over themselves. In earlier times, women grew their hair long, then gathered it into a bun. Later, hair styles were more elaborate still, with many curls piled high on the head. Wealthy Roman women also wore a lot of make-up, at least during the empire; face creams and perfumes, red ocher for the lips and cheek and soot for eyeliners were all applied with the aid of a polished metal mirror plus slave. Romans of all classes, like people of all races and times, enjoyed dining with friends, eating, drinking and chatting in the privacy of their own homes.

In wealthy household, large and elaborate banquets were the norm under the Empire.

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Books — or rather, scrolls — were expensive. They were copied by hand this was long before the days of printing by groups of slaves laboring in the workshop of a book publisher. In Roman times, only the well-off could afford this pastime. All Roman, of both sexes and all classes, enjoyed visiting the public baths. These were not just places to go and bathe, but also to take exercise, have a massage and above all to socialize.

Public entertainment was to be had at theaters, where plays by Greek and Latin playwrights were staged. Chariot races were put on at the racecourse, or circus the most famous of these was the Circus Maximus, at Rome. At frequent intervals, bloody shows were put on at the amphitheater. Here, armed men fought animals, or gladiators swordsmen fought each other; or unarmed criminals condemned to death were put into the arena to be eaten by lions.

It was only with the coming of Christianity as the official religion of the empire, towards the end of the Roman period, that the worst of these shocking shows — gladiatorial combats — were abolished. The Roman Republic governed Rome as it changed from single city-state to enormous empire. The stresses and strains of growth eventually led to the breakdown of the Republic, but the Augustan settlement which opened the curtain on the Empire was a masterpiece of practical adaptation. The Republican government involved a mix of different institutions — the magistrates, above all the two annually elected consuls; the senate, a council of state composed of the most important men in Rome senators ; and the popular assemblies, which elected the magistrates and had the final say as to whether Rome went to war or not.

Click here for more on government under the Roman Republic. Most of these institutions carried over into the Empire. However, they were adapted to give the emperor supreme command over the army, as well as the final say in what legislation was permitted. They were also fine-tuned more to the needs of governing a large empire than of running a single city-state, which is how they had originated. Click here for more on government under the Roman Empire. The Roman army was the most formidable fighting force of its day.

It changed considerably over the long period of Roman history, but for most of this time it was based around the legion.

Geography of Greece

This was a body of some infantry soldiers depending on the period , divided into units of men centuries. This division into small formations gave the legion a flexibility unmatched by its opponents; and combined with innovative tactics and sound discipline, it endured as an unmatched fighting force for many centuries. For more in-depth looks at the Roman Army, see the coverage of the military in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. The Greeks had developed legal codes , and the Romans followed their example.

In the mid-fifth century BCE they published 12 tables of laws, which were put up for public display in the Forum. Roman law guaranteed all citizens a fair trial. There were several courts, each presided over by different magistrates and each dealing with different kinds of cases, some civil, some criminal. In some courts, juries, made up of ordinary citizens, could by strong.