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Western Civilization: A Very Brief Overview From The Romans To The Counter Reformation

1056 words - 4 pages

Rome’s greatest achievements was to go beyond the limited political process that of the city-states and to develop a world-state with the different nations of the Mediterranean. In the eight century, B.C., peasant communities, along with Etruscan cities south to the Greek cities were absorbed by the Romans. Throughout this century, Roman acquired architectural styles and skills in road construction, sanitation, hydraulic engineering to include underground conduits.
By the sixth century, Rome evolved into a republic, landowners, aristocrats and patricians overthrew the Etruscan king and religion governed the people, dictated the laws and legitimized the rule of the patricians. As they evolved the Romans loosened the grip between religion and politics and gradually implemented a constitutional system similar to the Greeks with interests on rational and secular politics and law. The sudden growth of the constitution arrived from a conflict known as the “Struggle of the Orders” between the patricians and the plebeians (commoners). The patricians owned most of the land and controlled the army.
There was a constant struggle between the plebeians and patricians as a result of grievances which resulted in enslavement and discord with the patricians. However they knew that Rome could not afford to do without the plebeians because of the constant warfare on the Italian peninsula. By the fifth century the plebeians won the right to form their own assembly and slowly gained legal equality. As a result of the plebeian revolt, around 450 B.C., The first Roman code of laws was written (called the Twelve Tablets). The plebeians received some protection against the unfair practices of the patricians. However, despite the many reforms, Rome was still ruled by the upper class.
By 146 B.C., Rome was considered to be a dominant state in the Mediterranean world. The expansion of Rome occurred on three stages; the unification of the Italian peninsula, the collision with Carthage as Rome emerged as ruler of the western Mediterranean; and the conquest of the Hellenistic states. Rome’s successes of conquests was largely due to the superior military organization, training and iron clad discipline.
Rome and the Mediterranean world enjoyed two hundred years of peace known as the “Pax Romana,” the Roman peace. During this period, Rome was enjoying peace and prosperity even after the death of Augustus. The Romans saw the “Pax Romana” as the fulfillment of Rome’s mission; a world-state providing peace, security, ordered civilization and the rule of law, “the time of Happiness.’ During this period, thousands of cities served as the centers of “Greco-Roman civilization. This process of expansion continued through the Hellenistic Age.
Conditions for women and slaves improved and because Rome was engaged in fewer wars, the practice of freeing slaves was common. By preserving the Greco-Roman civilization and instituting a rational system of law to use for all humanity...

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