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Contributions of Rome

An brief overview of some of the impacts of Rome
by Jonathan Kieffer

"All roads lead to Rome." This quote holds much truth as what Rome has left to Western Civilization is brought to light. The Roman made countless contributions to Western Civilization, but a few are the most significant of all. Rome, the most important civilization to the Western World, left a great legacy, paving the road for the spread of Christianity, forming the basis for republic, and allowing for a widespread diffusion of culture.

Though not Rome's intention, it allowed Christianity to spread and flourish throughout Western Civilization. Rome, unified under one government, made possible the passing of information very quickly, thus greatly assisting the spread of Christianity. Even in the wake of persecution from such rulers as Diocletian and Maximian, Christianity continued to grow in strength. People were converted daily to this attracting faith. Men like St. Paul, who before becoming a Christian was a heavy persecutor of them, fervently preached the growing faith, adding more to their numbers. In addition, the cold religion of the Romans made Christianity extremely appealing, as Christianity offered a personal relationship with a deity who offered an everlasting life of beatitude after death. With the weakening government of Rome, the Christian church began to seize the power that the state lost, allowing more and more converts to be won over to the faith. Also, with the rise of the ruler, Constantine, who made Christianity legal, Christianity took the upper hand as Christian laws were passed and enforced. During Rome's reign, the spread of Christianity flourished, making way for Christianity to evolve from a small following of people to an accepted faith of multitudes. This incredible, though unintentional, contribution forever changed the course of history.

The Roman Republic left a form of government similar to the democracy of Greece but with the ability to govern large bodies of people. Rome used a representation method, where senators represented groups of people, allowing for a democracy encompassing a very large population. Developed after the expulsion of the last Etruscan king, Tarqin the proud, this government was meant to prevent the development of a hereditary monarchy and did so until the rise of Augustus. It contained checks and balances to ensure that power was not too highly concentrated, much as the government in the United States of America is today. Unfortunately, the Roman Republic did not last throughout all of Rome's glory due to civil unrest, but it did leave an incredible form of government for the rest of humanity to mimic. This form of government would later prove vital to the structure of the government of the United States of America and many other countries. The republic gave the peoples of a large population a say in political issues, leaving a priceless gift to the Western World.

Rome's magnificent size and its unified nature allowed for the spreading of ideas throughout Western Civilization. Because of this unification of Rome, information moved like it had never before. Rome was a melting pot of cultures and customs, bringing together countless ideas to a place where these ideas could quickly be passed around like never before in history. Ideas ran rampant through the Roman Empire, mixing cultures and societies. The military fronts of the Roman Empire formed new cities, furthering cultural diffusion by Romanizing much of the Roman front, therefore leaving a permanent Roman mark. Many barbarian peoples came under the great influence of Rome, which in turn, was passed from generation to generation. Rome left an indelible mark on the Western World through its grandeur and unification.

Surely, Rome has had the greatest influence on Western Civilization of all previous civilizations, leaving priceless gifts that should not be forgotten. Rome left cultures, customs, government, politics, and religion, contributions that to this day have greatly influenced Western Civilization. As Rome expanded on the ideas of the past and bettered them, so should the people of this world expand and elaborate on Rome's genius.