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View Poll Results: Which interests you more?
Greek culture/history 16 50.00%
Roman culture/history 16 50.00%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-05-2012, 09:59 AM
Location: Orange County, CA
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My vote went to Rome, largely because they had a much larger impact on the course of human events and history. As a sidenote, would extend back a bit the dates given in the OP. Mycenaean Greece, which goes much farther back than 900 BC is certainly part of Greek history. The epics of Homer take place in this era. The traditional date given for the founding of the Roman Republic in usually given as 509 BC, although this is uncertain. The legendary Cincinnatus, often held as an example of selfless public service, is reputed to have served his sixteen day dictatorship in 458 BC.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:28 PM
Location: Beverly, Mass
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In the modern western world ancient Greek culture and the Western Roman empire are widely known and admired. I think the Byzantine empire (where Roman and Greek history meet) is underrated and deserves more attention than it gets, partially because it has been annihilated.

It centered around Greece, and included the present day Turkey, Bolgaria, the Balkans, Armenia, Egypt, Lybia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and parts of Spain, Southern Italy and Morocco.

It was the longest lasting empire in the history of the world, it was more sophisticated than the Western Roman empire, and had the most advanced culture of it's day. Constantinople was the largest city in Europe and had the first University in the world. This city was the envy of the Medieval world. It's biggest cultural and trading partner was Kievan Rus, or Russia, which adopted Byzantine's orthodox christianity, alphabet, art, architecture, laws and court system. The ruling families intermarried. To this day most Russians have Greek names. After the fall of the Byzantine empire to the Ottoman turks in the 15th century Russia became it's successor as a new home for the head of Orthodox Christianity. A monk wrote to the Russian czar: "Two Romes have fallen, but the third stands, and there will be no fourth."

It's biggest tragedy was when it's demise was aided by the invasion of Roman crusaders in 1204, who they looked to for cooperation against the turks and protected from the arab world for centuries. This is why many of it's former treasures can be seen today in Venice. Ironically, Byzantine's plunder contributed to (if not jump-started) the Renaissance.

Please excuse me for quoting Wikipedia for more details:

"Byzantium is distinguished from ancient Rome proper insofar as it was oriented towards Greek culture, characterised by Christianity rather than Roman polytheism and was predominantly Greek-speaking rather than Latin-speaking.[3]

As the Western Roman Empire decayed and fragmented into numerous separate kingdoms, the Byzantine Empire continued to survive, existing for more than a thousand years from its genesis in the 4th century until its final conquest in 1453. During most of its existence, it remained one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe.

Generally speaking, the eastern Mediterranean provinces were more urbanised and socially developed than the western, having previously been united under the Macedonian Empire and Hellenised by the influence of Greek culture. In contrast, the western regions had mostly remained independent from any single cultural or political authority, and were still largely rural and less developed. This distinction between the established Hellenised East and the younger Latinised West persisted and became increasingly important in later centuries, leading to a gradual estrangement of the two worlds.

It was during the Komnenian period that contact between Byzantium and the "Latin" Christian West, including the Crusader states, was at its most crucial stage. Venetian and other Italian traders became resident in Constantinople and the empire in large numbers (60–80,000 'Latins' in Constantinople alone), and their presence together with the numerous Latin mercenaries who were employed by Manuel in particular helped to spread Byzantine technology, art, literature and culture throughout the Roman Catholic west. Above all, the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the west at this period was enormous and of long lasting significance.

During the 12th century, population levels rose and extensive tracts of new agricultural land were brought into production. Archaeological evidence from both Europe and Asia Minor shows a considerable increase in the size of urban settlements, together with a notable upsurge in new towns. Trade was also flourishing; the Venetians, the Genoese and others opened up the ports of the Aegean to commerce, shipping goods from the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer and Fatimid Egypt to the west and trading with the Empire via Constantinople.[122]

In artistic terms, there was a revival in mosaic, and regional schools of architecture began producing many distinctive styles that drew on a range of cultural influences.[123] During the 12th century, the Byzantines provided their model of early humanism as a renaissance of interest in classical authors. In Eustathius of Thessalonica, Byzantine humanism found its most characteristic expression.

Byzantine society was highly educated by the standards of its time, with high levels of literacy, compared to the rest of the world. Significantly it possessed a secular education system that was a continuation of the academies of classical antiquity. Primary education was widely available, even at village level and uniquely in that society for both sexes.

The nephew of the last Emperor, Constantine XI, Andreas Palaeologos had inherited the title of Byzantine Emperor. At his death, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy was claimed by Ivan III, Grand Duke of Muscovy. He had married Andreas' sister, Sophia Paleologue, whose grandson, Ivan IV, would become the first Tsar of Russia (tsar, or czar, meaning caesar, is a term traditionally applied by Slavs to the Byzantine Emperors). Their successors supported the idea that Moscow was the proper heir to Rome and Constantinople. The idea of the Russian Empire as the new, Third Rome was kept alive until its demise with the Russian Revolution of 1917.[151]

The Byzantine economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, was unable to match Byzantine economic strength until late in the Middle Ages. Constantinople was a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa, in particular being the primary western terminus of the famous Silk Road. Until the first half of the 6th century and in sharp contrast with the decaying West, Byzantine economy was flourishing and resilient.

Byzantine forms were spread by trade and conquest to Italy and Sicily, where they persisted in modified form through the 12th century, and became formative influences on Italian Renaissance art.

As the only stable long-term state in Europe during the Middle Ages, Byzantium isolated Western Europe from newly emerging forces to the East. Constantly under attack, it distanced Western Europe from Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, and for a time, the Ottomans.

Differences between Eastern and Western Roman Christianity:

*Eastern emperor is the head of church in empire.

As absolute ruler, he controls Church affairs.
Appoints patriarch.
Rejects pope’s claim to authority over all Christians.

* Byzantine clergy keep their right to marry.

* Byzantine clergy use Greek. Not Latin.

* Byzantine holy day is Easter. Not Christmas"

Last edited by konfetka; 05-06-2012 at 09:38 PM..
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:46 PM
Location: East Brunswick
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Originally Posted by konfetka View Post

* Byzantine holy day is Easter. Not Christmas"
This was the case virtually in all of Christendom until rather recently.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by taha-nj View Post
This was the case virtually in all of Christendom until rather recently.
It still is for those who see these days for their religious values, not retail shopping.
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Old 12-21-2015, 09:51 PM
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
But I always wonder how come Greece is considered the root of Western Civilization. I always though after the fall of Rome, just about everyone forgot what had happened then. The germanic tribes settled everywhere, and brought with them Feudalism, and even before Christianity brought the god fearing / bible thumping culture to Europe. I always thought those were the biggest influence.
Those Germanic tribes were actually pretty Romanized; many of them had been supplying legionaries to Rome for a long time. They didn't so much want to destroy Rome as to become Romans themselves. Mostly the empire collapsed under its own weight, a victim of excessive bureaucracy, decades of poor leadership, and unwise fiscal policies.

Feudalism arose out of necessity, as the Empire's bureaucracy imploded and it was no longer possible to look toward distant lands for reliable help in times of crisis.

And Christianity only spread out of the Middle East because of the Roman Empire. And the early Church was the exact opposite of "God-fearing/Bible-thumping" (which is one reason why, out of so many mystery religions which were wildly popular throughout the Empire, it eventually triumphed).

What was Greece to the rest of Europe before Rome?
Greece in its day was a major regional power, dominating the Aegean Sea, eastern Turkey, and parts of Italy. But when Greece was at the height of its power, distant travel was still something of a novelty, city-states were the dominant form of political organization rather than nation-states, and most city-states had a very limited reach. Persia was the real 800-pound gorilla of that time; if Alexander hadn't been born, history might have unfolded very differently, and the Romans (had they even gone on to found an empire at all) might well have been adopting and adapting Persian culture and transmitting it throughout the west.
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