The civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome have arguably been amongst the most and influential through history. There are as will be evaluated a great deal of similarities as well as differences when it comes down to the religious, political, social structures and worldviews of Ancient Greece and Rome. These two civilizations had a key role in the way the European civilizations developed and also evolved over many centuries; and have had a significant influence over modern Western cultures. In their differing ways the religious, political, social structures and worldviews of Ancient Greece and Rome demonstrated the sophistication and the achievements of both these remarkable civilizations.
The Civilization of Ancient Greece developed before that of Rome, and its impact would arguably be more important than earlier civilizations such as those of Egypt, Babylon, and Persia. Other earlier civilizations had done a fair amount to improve technology, understanding, and knowledge yet was not generally as advanced as that of Ancient Greece. The Egyptians, the Persians, and the Chinese did much to advance the levels of human understanding and culture, yet done of them developed such systematic knowledge as the Ancient Greeks did.
A great deal of evidence about the achievements and the knowledge of the Ancient Greeks had survived to the present day, which makes it easier to understand their Civilization (Roberts, 1996, p.21)
Ancient Greece began to flourish around the 8th century BC, due to the acquisition of writing and literacy skills, greater political stability as well as the establishing of trade contacts with Southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Ancient Greece was not a unified country rather it was a series of city-states and settlements often described by the Greeks as polis. The most powerful and important of these city states included Athens, Corinth, Macedonia, and Sparta. Some of these Greek city-states formed colonies in the Aegean and beyond which helped to spread Greek Civilization further afield (Speake, 1995, p.291).
Although these city-states and settlements shared a common language alongside customs even if they politically distinct from each other. The survival of the poems by Homer arguably demonstrates that the Greeks had a well-developed understanding of the Aegean, the Mediterranean, and also the Middle East (Lane Fox, 2006, p. 16).
Religion was considered to be very important by the Greeks, an importance reflected in the splendour of the architecture of the fine temples they built to worship in. The Greeks built their fine temples to be at the centre of their city-states, and the powers that be encouraged people to go these temples with lavish religious festivals, and also sporting events. The most important deities generally had the largest and most extravagant temples built so that people could worship them and understand their greater importance and divine power (Guhl & Koner, 1994, p. 1).
The Greeks worshipped several different gods and goddesses with the most important of them being Zeus. These gods and goddesses needed to be worshipped and placated as frequently as possible, the devout could expect rewards whilst the unbelievers could only expect divine punishment. The Greeks that they were the people most favoured by the gods, as the deities were based in Greece itself, above Mount Olympus. Greek temples tended to be dedicated to specific gods and goddesses, and worshippers could visit several temples depending upon their beliefs as well as their need for divine assistance (Speake, 1995, pp. 545-46).