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Roman Culture a Rip-Off of Greek Culture(and other Cultures Rome Conqu

Roman CUlture is a Rip off-Yes or No?  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you think Roman Culture is a Ripoff of Greek and other Cultures?

    • Absolutely
      2
    • Romans no More Guilty than Persians and other Empires Were
      5
    • Only Small and Substantial Things the Roman took from other Culture
      0
    • Not at all
      1


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Guest ParatrooperLirelou

This topics been discussed in many other forums already.I gott into arguments my self.

 

But I want to hear the expert opinion of you folks at UNRV;afterall you guys actually study Rome and the Ancient World rather than just simply basing facts on mere assumptions.

 

My Opinion:Yes Roman Culture took things from other Cultures including Greeks but I believe contrary to what Anti-Roman folks brag about,Rome did NOT COMPLETE RIP OFF GREEK CULTURE(or any other culture for the matter).In fact I 100% believe the Romans were no more Guilty of Ripping of the Greeks and others than the Persians(who took various aspects of other cultures) and other Pre-Modern Empries and Superpowers did(I.G. Mongols,Han Chinese, Arabs,etc).

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The upper class Romans were schooled in Greek letters. They were often tutored by educated Greek slaves, and finished their schooling in Greek cities like Athens and Rhodes.

 

Upper class Roman culture from the late Republic through the Empire does bear an influence of Hellenistic culture. A prime example is Virgil, whose Aeneid was a conscious imitation of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

 

That being said, Roman culture is not synonymous with Greek. Roman literature and philosophy may be influenced by the Greek, but it has its own tone (less abstract, more practical). Roman architecture may be based on Greek, but it has its own stories to tell (the use of arches, concrete).

 

Even some of the religious cults that were imported from the Hellenistic east were to some degree Romanized (the Cults of Isis and Bacchus had to find a Roman niche, for instance).

 

Then the majority of Romans, the Plebians, who were not educated in Greek ways, held to their native culture. Gladiator games and such would be their cultural experiences.

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Guest ParatrooperLirelou

Then the majority of Romans, the Plebians, who were not educated in Greek ways, held to their native culture. Gladiator games and such would be their cultural experiences.

 

 

Unfortunately people assume that since the upperclass well indepthed with Greek culture and even adopted many Greek art and etc, the Roman culture copied the Greek.

 

 

As you point out(as did stuff I research), the lower classes were very different from the upperclasses and would not resemble the Greeks at all.

 

Seriously though anti-Roman folks and Pro-Ancient Greek students love to bash Roman Civilization as being a Rip-off of Greek Civilization!

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[seriously though anti-Roman folks and Pro-Ancient Greek students love to bash Roman Civilization as being a Rip-off of Greek Civilization!

 

This viewpoint implies that the majority of the Roman Empires population were attempting to 'become Greek' or at least pretending that they were Greek for purposes of cheap resale. Even if some aspects of Greek (as well as numerous other cultures) were integrated into the Roman model patently this was not done it as a 'rip-off' so to me is basically a non-argument. :blink:

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No people is without a unique culture of their own. Before coming into contact with Greece, it wasn't like the Romans had "no culture;" there were many things very distinct about the Romans that differed from Greeks. That being said, they did borrow alot and very much admired the Greek's culture. One thing that's important to note is that due to the Greeks'long presence in Italy, Rome had been influenced by them from the very beginning, although this influence went up a great deal after the Punic Wars.

 

One thing that's important to remember is that many of our assumptions about the "Greco-Roman" world is that they aren't based on solid historical fact, but romanticized interpretations by Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers.

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Rome did not rip off anyone's culture. So there.

 

I'm going to argue that this is because from around 800 BC there was NO Greek or Roman culture. There was a single culture common to all the peoples of the Mediterranean seaboard and which each society adapted from, selectively adopted or abandoned parts of as their societies changed.

 

We know that Greeks and Etruscans influenced Rome from the very beginning, but at the same time the Greeks and Etruscans were swapping ideas between themselves and nicking them off 'barbarians'. In a society where writers, merchants, craftsmen and aristocrats were constantly cross-fertilizing each society with ideas from the other, it's very hard to say a particular idea 'belongs' to a single nationality. It might be something thought up by a Greek in discussion with a Persian, developed by an Etruscan, and put into use by the Romans.

 

As an analogy, how many aspects of Western culture can we say are American, English or other European? Each nation has its own quirks, but when seen by an outsider with a genuinely different culture - say Arabic or Japanese - I'm guessing we seem pretty much alike.

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That being said, Roman culture is not synonymous with Greek. Roman literature and philosophy may be influenced by the Greek, but it has its own tone (less abstract, more practical). Roman architecture may be based on Greek, but it has its own stories to tell (the use of arches, concrete).

As a tourist it can be confusing, because some of what you see in Greece was actually commissioned by Romans when they were in charge. Some of what you see in Italy was Greek-commissioned due to originally being Greek colonies (Paestum, Agrigento). Or Greek-looking buildings may originate from a tribe that built the town before the Romans siezed it (Pompeii civic center).

 

There is either a difference or I have a mental defect. Otherwise why did I evolve from an indiscriminate multi-ancient-culturalist... to loving only Rome and no longer Greece, Egypt etc? The borrowing question is well covered in 36 lectures of http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=3300 and I have repeatedly bored readers with it's assertion that wonderful Roman sculptures of individuals are utterly un-Greek in style, even if carved by a Greek and lugged into a Roman villa by a Greek. It was commissioned to be lifelike rather than idealistic or stereotypic (based on Roman deathmask tradition).

 

The course goes on to compare and contrast art, philosophy, etc and pleased my narrow mind how often my favorite stuff seemed Roman in origin. In cases where Romans borrowed directly from Greeks, it could be almost out of condecension. They didn't think it was practical or manly to focus effort on certain aspects of life, but if the Greeks had embellished solutions in those areas then they could be picked up as sort of decadent status symbols. Let's see, what areas were these in... I forget, because I listened to this course at bedtime and have just found out I have been nodding off thru some of the sentences and will have to replay:

 

The relationship between the Greeks and the Romans has virtually no parallel in world history. Greece and Rome's relationship resembled a marriage: two distinct personalities competing in some areas, sharing in others, and sometimes creating an entirely new synthesis of the two civilizations.

...<snip>

Romans displayed a love-hate relationship with Greece, epitomized by the Roman politician Cato the Elder, who was deeply immersed in Greek culture but who publicly denounced its corrupting influence.

...<snip>

Religion: Greek religion was anthropomorphic, with deities displaying human form and manner. Early Romans did not believe in deities but rather in numina

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The Romans took aspects of other cultures, in particular Greek culture, but they gave them their own identity and slant, for example, roman sculpture was heavily influenced by Greece, but whereas Greeces sculpture was idealistic and stylised, the Romans leaned towards realism portraying people warts and all. Also, it's important to distinguish between the almost hidden influences from cultures e.g. swords from Spain, and the openly acknowledged imitation such that of Hadrians admiration for Greece.

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