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Contributions Of Greek And Roman Empires

1053 words - 4 pages

While Greece had many contributions to the formation of Western civilization, perhaps their most important contribution is the Olympic Games. Originally held in honor of the gods, then Olympics became a 5-day festival in 472 BC. The first day of the games were devoted to sacrifices. There were large group sacrifices, but the athletes also spent time alone to offer sacrifices to the gods. On the second day of the festivities, the most important event of the Olympics was held, the foot-races. There were four different kinds of footraces: the stadion, which was the length of the stadium, a 2-stade, which was the length of the stadium and back, a long distance race, which was about 7-24 times the length of the stadium, and a 2-4 stade race with the runners wearing full armor. The other events in the games were held on the remaining days. Boxing was much more dangerous back then then it is now. The athletes wore straps of leather over their hands to protect them. Sometimes the leather was weighted down with metal. The match went on until one of the athletes quit. Horse-racing was also held during the Olympics. The horses were owned by the athletes, who were mostly of the higher castes. The race was 6 laps around a track. There were also chariot races, consisting of 2-4 horses pulling a chariot for a similar distance, and a mule race. The Pentathlon in the ancient Olympics consisted of sprinting, long-jumping, javelin-hurling, discus-throwing, and wrestling. The winner was the one with the average best score (ancientgreece.com). The early Olympic Games contributed to Western civilization by not only providing the Olympic Games, a tradition that still continues to this day, but by setting a standard for other athletic competitions.
While ancient Greece was coming up with the idea of the Olympic Games, the Romans weren’t wasting their time either. The Romans also came up with many important contributions to the development of Western civilization. One of these is the creation of a private army. This was done by Roman General Marius. At the time, the Roman army was suffering many major defeats in Africa. Many Roman citizens believed that Marius’ leadership was the only thing that could save the Roman army. Marius was unhappy with the way the army was organized, so he reorganized the army. Before the reorganization, the Roman army was a random selection of citizens. Marius made the army a group or trained citizens who held all sorts of jobs previously. The new soldiers were devoted to their commander, which made them even more effective in combat. After his many military victories, mostly due to his reorganized army, Marius was elected to the Roman consul an impressive 6 times (Morey). The reorganized Roman army contributed to Western civilization by setting a standard for armies. Many modern armies are a collection of trained citizens who specialize in many different things. The soldiers are also completely devoted to both their country and their...

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