While much of the early Roman culture was similar to the Greek culture there was one major difference. The Greeks built sacred buildings while the Romans were more practical. The Romans were “among the first to develop city planning on an extensive basis, and their methods of planning are in themselves a significant guide to their values” (Witt, M. et al., 1997, p. 181).
The perfect Roman city was rectangular and had major streets intersecting at right angles that were coordinated to the cardinal points of a compass. Smaller streets branched off from the main arteries, forming a grid pattern, and these grids had different functions of living, marketing, and entertainment. A series of aqueducts would feed water to the city, and the center of the town would have a forum, initially a place for public speeches but during Julius Caesar’s time it became “a visible sign of Roman conquest, law and administration” (Witt, M. et al., 1997, p. 182).
Fig. 11 Example of a Roman planned city, efficient and highly organized. (Sayre, 2013, p. 81)
The span of both the ancient Greeks and Romans existence is very impressive and gave birth to most of Western Civilization. Both cultures in one way or another consisted of the same beginning groups of other cultures already in the regions. Each culture will developed its own distinctive forms of architecture, government, art, sculpture and painting, poetry, literature, philosophy, and religion. While the peoples of the Greek culture do originate many of the cultural and societal traditions and customs first the Romans do not simply came after the Greeks and copy them. Instead the Romans see the value in the ideas of the Greeks but expand them into their own cultural norms.
Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Witt, M. F., Brown, C. V., Dunbar, R. A., Tirro, F., & Witt, R. G. (1997). The humanities: Cultural roots and continuities (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.