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Rise And Fall Of Athens And Ancient Rome

742 words - 3 pages

History has witnessed the rise and fall of many powerful cities, starting with Ur and Babylon and continuing into present day with cities such as New York City. Two of these cities, ancient Athens and ancient Rome, stand out from other cities of their time due to their culture, politics, and influence, both on the world around them and on future civilizations. These strengths qualify them as world cities, and despite their eventual losses of power, their legacies live on.
Athens obtained hegemony around 448 BC, right after the war-like city-state of Sparta. Athens’ Golden Age was under the rule of Pericles, who initiated a large number of public works projects and encouraged the arts and literature. With the help of rulers such as Pericles and the silver mined in southeastern Attica, Athens quickly became known as a city of wealth and prosperity. It was also notable as a center of philosophy, being the home of Plato’s Akademia and Aristotle’s Lyceum. One of its most significant contributions is that of the beginning of democracy, a system of government that set a standard for many to come, most notably the United States of America. Though by no means a completely egalitarian system, as only free adult males could participate as citizens, Athenian democracy was still a completely revolutionary way of running a government. Overall, Athens became a city of enormous power, which it displayed through its numerous marble buildings, including the Parthenon. The grandeur Athens exhibited made it the envy of all other cities at its time. Athens’ dominance found its end when it was defeated in the Peloponnesian War, and the once traditional and honored city lost its independence, though it still maintained its rich culture and wealthy lifestyle. Eventually, Greece as a whole was absorbed by the Roman Republic, which gave birth to the next world city.
Called the “Eternal City,” Rome emerged as the capital city of a powerful Republic at about 508 BC. Roman culture was greatly influenced by that of Greece, and Rome too emerged as a center of art and literature while also making vast contributions to the development of technology, war, law, and architecture in the Western...

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