Discuss the composition and workings of the Roman and Greek armies and the effects the army had on culture and values. Which system was better?

Discuss the composition and workings of the Roman and Greek armies and the effects the army had on culture and values. Which system was better?

Warfare was a significant part of the ancient civilizations, including Roman and Greek civilizations. Thus, armies played a critical role in the process and were considered important for the success of any society. For this reason, the civilizations took the time to create military forces that would effectively lead them to success against adversaries. This essay discusses the composition and workings of the Roman and Greek armies and the effects they had on culture and values and claims that the Roman army was better than the Greek.

Evidence of organized armies amongst the Roman and Greek civilizations is provided in historical records. However, during the early days of the civilization, the military greatly relied on the militia. For the Roman, the army was highly organized since the very early days of the civilization, and was effective in fighting against different enemies, including the Etruscans, the Greeks, and the Italians, among others (Ralph et al. 190). The army consisted of well-trained soldiers, beginning with Etruscan-model hoplites and later use of the infantry. As the Greek civilization developed, so was the progress in its military. During the early days of the city-state, armies took the form of Hoplites, which was the armored infantryman (Ralph et al. 77). The weapons of choice at the time were spears and shields. With the advancement in the warfare, which Greece had to participate in, the army transformed to include input from many city-states, especially during the Greco-Persian Wars. Later, Greece assumed naval warfare to handle the increasing complexity of warfare. While there appear to be similarities in the organizations of the armies in the two civilizations, Romans mostly preferred manipular (Ralph et al. 190), while the Greeks favored hoplite armies (Ralph et al. 78).

The army was an important part of the history of the civilization and, thus, greatly affected the values and culture of the people. For instance, within the Greek civilization, the increase in population and improved use of the military ushered in the urbanized culture (Ralph et al. 81). Within the Roman civilization, military actions appeared to be a part of the people: it was as if the humans were born ready for the army. Thus, the army’s actions were affected by how the people viewed themselves and their states. Success in the warfare for both civilizations is something the people would celebrate as they meant the greater expansion of the civilization. The cultures and values of the peoples were mainly linked to the conquests, and thus, the army had a major impact on the same. With the role played by the army, the Romans lived up to the expectations of their belief to have descended directly from war god.

The Roman army was better and more effective than the Greek Army, from a comparative analysis. In fact, the Roman army has been described as the most powerful and successful in history and dominated the western civilizations for many centuries. The Roman army’s size, organization, and strength could not be compared to that of the Greek civilization or any other for the following matter. The Romans believed that they descended from Mars, meaning they were descendants of the war god. Therefore, the belief motivated their organization of the father’s army and their victories in the war process.

Explain advantages and disadvantages of the Roman Emperor’s system of rule and why these aspects were advantages and disadvantages. Was the Empire better than the Republic? 

Initially, Rome was ruled by kings, then it became a republic and eventually an empire ruled by emperors. The changes were mandated by the varying landscape of Rome with the continued expansion following the conquest (Ralph et al. 176). Complications related to one of the systems in ruling led to the development of the other. Evidently, each of the systems had its advantages and disadvantages. This essay explains some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Roman Emperor’s system of rule. The discussion further provides evidence for the argument that the Empire was better than the Republic.

As it is stated above, there were both advantages and disadvantages of the Roman Emperor’s system. Decision making using the emperor system was faster since there were no longer confects between the two rulers. Indeed, this was an advantage in that decision like the need to go to war could be made faster. There was also a drawback in having the rule of the single emperor. The system made it possible for the ruler to become a dictator (Ralph et al. 176). In this case, a good example of the rule with the absolute power of the Emperor was Augustus. Hence, this was a disadvantage as the emperors could make decisions without consulting, regardless of their potential to hurt the people.

The emperor’s system had military advantages. Under the rule of the emperor, Rome was able to conquer more lands to expand the empire. Therefore, this advantage emanated from the fact that the emperor could consolidate a stronger and more organized army (Ralph et al. 195). Having a single strong leader made it possible for Rome to become more effective and efficient in war, developing massive cities and other infrastructural systems. The disadvantage of the system was that it provided the Romans a chance to fight each other following the decision of the emperor to divide the empire into two. Hence, this was a disadvantage as rather than using the military strength to protect the empire, more time was spent in fighting between the East and West Empires.

Socially and economically, the Roman Emperor’s system had some advantages. Due to the concerted effort of one ruler, Rome was able to become economically, socially, and politically stable, for instance, the establishment of the Roman Peace (Pax Romana) under Emperor Augustus (Ralph et al. 196). In this case, it was an advantage in that the single ruler could make lives better for the people of Rome. Romans could take up positions as soldiers, senators, and bureaucrats. They also developed into the Mediterranean’s economic, social, and cultural capital. The disadvantage was that the emperor had the chance to use much of the acquired wealth in self-enrichment. In fact, the all-powerful emperor could exploit the people.

Regardless of the disadvantages, the Emperor’s system was still better than the Republic. The Republic provided a complicated system where the two rulers could lead and decide. Such a system led to the dragging and the ineffectiveness of decision making since the two rulers spent more time fighting than making important decisions on behalf of the Republic (Ralph et al., 198). Additionally, Rome had expanded following more conquests, making the republic system of rule ineffective. The change led to the emperor’s system, which proven better given the major changes that took place following the assumption to power of Emperor Augustus.

(Pick 2) Explain the effects of war (Persian War, Peloponnesian War, Punic Wars)on the societies which waged them, evaluating whether the effects were ultimately good for the society.

The ancient civilizations were mostly based on the ability to conquer less powerful lands and annex them to become part of their empires. The efforts required organized warfare, and there were many such wars. The war struggles had major effects both positive and negative on the societies that were involved. Thus, this essay investigates the effects of the Punic Wars and Peloponnesian War on the involved societies and further argues that the effects were for the greater good depending on the particular war and the society that emerged victorious.

The Punic Wars were the wars fought by Rome against the Carthage. The war cost Rome a lot regarding resources and workforce, but Carthage was unable to survive the war’s effects. Rome easily overran Carthage due to the lack of the vast resources available to Rome. Moreover, Carthage was destroyed not only regarding its structures but also its culture. In fact, Carthage was affected, especially by the time of the second Punic War, since people had been killed during the first battle, some had joined the army, while others fled to escape the war (Ralph et al. 179). The adversary did not only lose people, but the Romans captured their land and most of the other resources they had. During the wars, Carthage lost a lot more than Rome. In fact, Rome won not only due to the war efforts but also because it could annex the lands that belonged to the rivals, further expanding their empire.

The Athens fought the Peloponnesian War against the Spartans. In fact, there were major effects of the war on the two sides. During the initial stages of the war, the Athenians were moved inside the walls of the city. The Athenian army was resourced and was also safe by hiding behind the walls. However, due to a deal between Sparta and the Persian Empire, a navy was made, which led to the defeat of the people already weakened by a disease behind the walls (Ralph et al., 94). The war negatively affected the city-states that made up the Greek Empire due to the vast loss of life in the war process. Consequently, the weakening of the empire made it vulnerable to attacks by outside forces due to a war that was fought from within. The process also destroyed resources, including farmlands, (Ralph et al., 95). Finally, the war affected future efforts to unify the Greeks because of the lack of trust.

The greater good or bad of the war depended on the particular war and the society that came out victorious. The Punic Wars were for the greater good of Rome as they transformed it from an Italian power which was the dominant power in the Mediterranean. Moreover, the wars allowed for a further expansion of the empire. However, viewing it from the perspective of the Carthage, the war was terrible as it led to its complete ruin. From the point of view of the Peloponnesian War, the greater good was not experienced by any side, regardless the fact that Sparta won. The war was fought from within the Greek Empire and ended up weakening the empire opening it up for outside threats (Ralph et al. 95). In essence, the battle also affected the possibility of uniting the people of the empire due to the lost trust.


Works Cited

Ralph, Phillip L., Robert E. Lerner, Standish Meacham, Alan T. Wood, Richard W. Hull, & Edward McNall Burns. World Civilizations Volume I, 9th ed. Norton, 1997

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