Many property, engage in a business life, and

Many
civilizations around the world have developed similar features of everyday life
including their government, social structure, and culture.  One specific example is the development of
the Greek and Roman political and governmental structures.  Both civilizations borrowed some innovations
from the other and developed some technologies of their own to help shape their
government.  The Ancient Greek and Roman
governments were very similar through their political structures, but differed
in their focus; for example, citizenship, democracy, and the branches of
government all differed in their function, but played a key role in both
societies.

The
first similarity represented between both ancient cultures is through the
citizenship of the people.  The Roman citizenship
system consisted of people from all regions in and out of Rome, that contained
different rules and restrictions.  Firstly,
the men of Ancient Rome had a wide range of privileges that were all defined by
the Roman state, but could vary throughout the society based on the time and
place of origin.  The most common rights
were the right to vote in assemblies, the right to run for public office, the
right to make legal contracts, and the right to own property.  Other less common rights included the right
to sue courts, the right to have a legal trial in court, and the right to
appeal legal decisions made by smaller courts (Goldsworthy ¶1). 
The
women of ancient Rome also had many privileges, but still were considered
lesser than men.  Women could still own
property, engage in a business life, and obtain a divorce, but were restricted
from voting and running for a political office which always left women
un-recognized for having any influence on Roman culture (ibid).  The next form of
citizenship had to do with the allies and client states around Rome.  These people received a limited form of Roman
citizenship and could not vote or run for office even as a male.  The slaves of ancient Rome actually received
some legal protections under Roman law, but still were considered
property.  Freedmen, or former slaves
that had gained freedom did not receive any rights themselves, but their
children were born as free citizens with all legal rights (ibid).  The citizenship of
ancient Rome also relates to the present-day rights of citizens in the United
States, but can be more closely related to the Greek in their society.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

The men in ancient
Greece had all the privileges of Roman men during that time, but were split
into three sub-groups within each class. 
The richest and most affluent class was the aristoi or ‘best people.’ 
These people possessed lots of land, and usually led their society in holding
the highest political positions (Cartwright Greek Society ¶2).  The second class of male citizens were the periokoi or ‘dusty feet.’  These people possessed little amounts of
money, had less protection against invading forces, and lived in small
communities that were subordinate to the neighboring cities (Cartwright Greek
Society ¶3).  The third class was the
business class, engaging in trade, commerce, and manufacturing goods.  These business people could vary depending on
how successful their business ran.  Most
business leaders rose to power by wealth or by owning a monopoly while other
smaller business-men could down a class if bankruptcy or political upheavals presented
themselves (Cartwright Greek Society ¶4). 
The next group of people lower than the men were the women in Ancient
Greece.  Women had very few rights in
comparison to men and could not vote, own property, run for government or
inherit wealth.  Many women were forced
to marry and the entire marriage was arranged by the male figure in the family
(Cartwright Greek Society ¶5,6).  The laborer
class was disinguished as lower than women as they were forced to answer to
their employer.  Many laborers could
become serfs, bound to the land, but were not allowed to be sold into
slavery.  Most of their rights were
determined by their employer and the employer provided the laborers with
protection as well as wealth (Cartwright Greek Society ¶9).  Slaves however had no rights but were
considered a normal part of city-life in Greece, but served by working on
everyday jobs in the city, making perfumes, food, and clothing, as well as
working on agriculture, mining, banking and entertainment (Cartwright Greek
Society ¶10-12).  The foreigners in
Ancient Greece were granted with some rights as they brought many new ideas and
cultures into the society.  Most foreigners
had to register as a “guest” citizen but were not fully considered as having
full citizenship until they proved great loyalty and contribution to the state (Cartwright
Greek Society ¶13).  As citizenship
expressed some similarities between these two great societies, the governments
set up in each civilization can prove a greater equivalence.

            The Roman Republic was created from the ashes of a
monarchy and developed into one of the first democracies created.  This form of government was divided into
three forms which consisted of elected
non-hereditary magistrates, the Senate, and the popular assemblies (Wasson
¶2).  One form of this non-hereditary
magistrates is the appointment of the consul.  The consul
replaced a king in having a higher power but only worked to prevent any repression against the new form of government.  The two consuls
were elected by the popular assemblies and only served a one-year,
non-consecutive term.  A consul had full executive power in
controlling both the military and political head of the state, controlled the
army, presided over the senate and proposed legislation.  Even with all this power the consuls checked each other’s power and
had the power to veto any decision made by the other consul.  In this way each
decision made by the other consul could
be checked and kept in balance with the other (Wasson ¶3).  The second branch of the Roman Republic was
the Senate which held indirect executive power called auctoritas.  Surprisingly the Roman senate had very little
legislative authority in the government, but served as a significant influence on
the other bodies.  The number of senators
varied from as little as three-hundred to as much as one-thousand depending on
the ruler at the time.  Each individual
member of the senate served for life and received no pay while being forbidden
to participate in banking and foreign trade. 
Although the Senate had little political and legislative powers, they
did have responsibilities that were essential to the operating of the Roman
government.  “First of all, the senators not only discussed both domestic and
foreign policy but supervised relations with foreign powers. They directed the
religious life of Rome, and most importantly, controlled state finances”
(Wasson ¶6).   The third field of the
Roman Republic was in the form of popular assemblies whom held power in the
legislative branch.  The assemblies were
entirely run by the people of Rome and they allowed any free man to run for a
spot in the assembly. “Its
duties included electing various magistrates (consuls, praetors, and censors),
enacting laws, declaring war and peace, and invoking the death
penalty on Romans who were arraigned on political charges” (Wasson ¶9).  Although the Roman government seems complex,
the Greek government shared lots of similarities including three main parts and
the system of democracy. 

            The
Greek government, much like the Romans, was divided in to three main parts to keep
each power in check with the other.  The
three branches included the assembly, the council, and the courts which all
played key roles in maintaining a stable society.   The
first Greek democracy was developed by the city-state of Athens in 460 B.C.E.
and, Athens, was one of the only city-states to develop this form of government
(Cartwright Greek Government ¶3).  Within
Athenian government, the first branch was the assembly or the ecclesia.  The assembly was composed of free males whom
where not elected, but were attended by choice which was a right of the
government (Habicht ¶26).  The assembly had
four main functions in maintaining the structure of Ancient Greek society,
those being: to make executive decisions (making decrees in war and granting
citizenship), tried political crimes, it legislated, and elected officials
(Habicht ¶27).  The second main part of
the Athenian democracy was the council or the boule.  The members of the
council were elected from the assembly and could only consist of respected
politicians. 
“The boule served as an executive committee for the assembly, and
oversaw the activities of certain other magistrates” (Habicht ¶35).  Overall the council served as a huge
administration over the state and greatly helped in executing the wishes of the
assembly (ibid).  The third most influential
part of the Greek government was the courts. 
The members of the court were all put under oath and served fully on
citizen’s rights.  The number of people serving
in a court varied depending on the crimes committed or rights exercised.  The rest of the court ran much like to
judicial branch today in serving for the people of the state and by making
decisions to better the society. 

            In conclusion, even
though most civilizations have developed on different sides of the world, it is
interesting to see the similarities in political institutions, inventions, and
achievements.  One example of this simultaneous
development is through the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman civilizations.  Although they developed in different regions
at different times, many aspects of both empires are present in each
other.  Most specifically the political
structures of both societies grew to be very similar through the democratic
style and branches of government.  This
is just one example of the similar developments of two civilizations, but what
could be the cause of such closely related societies in this and in the
countless other examples?