The Romans and the Greeks


‘In their career of conquest the Romans came into conflict with the Greeks. The Greeks were inferior to the Romans in military power, but far superior to them in culture. They excelled in art, literature, music, science, and philosophy. Of all these pursuits the Romans were ignorant until contact with Greece revealed to them the value of education and filled them with the thirst for knowledge. And so it came about that while Rome conquered Greece by force of arms, Greece conquered Rome by force of her intellectual superiority and became her schoolmaster. It was soon the established custom for young Romans to go to Athens and to other centers of Greek learning to finish their training, and the knowledge of the Greek language among the educated classes became universal. At the same time many cultured Greeks—poets, artists, orators, and philosophers—flocked to Rome, opened schools, and taught their arts. Indeed, the preëminence of Greek culture became so great that Rome almost lost her ambition to be original, and her writers vied with each other in their efforts to reproduce in Latin what was choicest in Greek literature. As a consequence of all this, the civilization and national life of Rome became largely Grecian, and to Greece she owed her literature and her art.’

– D’Ooge. B.L. 1909. Latin For Beginners Boston, Massachusetts, United States: The Athenaeum Press, Ginn and Company (1911) p. 2

2 thoughts on “The Romans and the Greeks

  1. All roads may have led to Rome, but originality was rarely a passenger. The Romans borrowed nearly everything, including their gods – the name for the Roman god, Jupiter, for example, was merely a corruption of the Grecian god, “Zeus, the Father,” or in Latin, “Zeus Pater.”

    The Romans ARE credited at least with having invented the arch, and of course, their signature candle.
    (sorry –)

  2. Oh don’t apologise, you are right after all.
    Like this quote I published earlier will testify:

    “So again we have learned something, instead of making a cheap joke about the Greek civilisation upon which everything around us depends, from electricity to clothes to democracy and logic and philosophy and everything we take for granted and is so dear to us.” – Stephen Fry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s