The Roman Empire can be said to be the most influential in the modern world; this can be seen by the influence of the Roman civilization in the present day ideas and activities. Historic events have remained to shape the present day lifestyle with many ideas being inherited or adopted from historic generations (Scheidel, p.18). Language, technology, laws, literature, political institutions, religious practices/superstitions, sculpture, warfare and architecture among other things have been greatly influenced by the great Roman civilization.
Even though the Roman Empire came to an end long time ago its influences have been translated to the present day life and society still portray some of its practices, beliefs and cultures. This paper examines influence of Rome on the present day particularly on language, laws, political institutions, religious practices/superstitions, sculpture, and architecture. It gives some examples that portray the existence of the practices so as to confirm the great Roman influence.
The Roman Empire was dominant for more than 1000 years this was from the 753 BC to 456 AD where the massive empire was established by the Romans who were indo-European immigrant to Italy (Starr, p.19). Rome is a small city in Italy that had favorable geography to establish an empire in view of the fact that the terrains were strategic for defense. The seven hills contributed to this fact. Rome also had advantage due to the trade going on. The empire was initiated on the Palatine Hill and the TibetRiver as a settlement that later grew to an expansive empire ruled by Romulus the king and the founding father in the 8th century (Starr, p.27). The settlement grew to become a huge city like the modern day city centers like Paris, London, and New York. The empire extended to control all over Italy and later expanded stretching from North Africa to England and from Arabia to the Atlantic Ocean.
The first period of development was characterized by the village developing to a city where kings were the rulers. The second period was where the kings were expelled and the Romans established a republic. The republic later fell and emperors dominated the empire. The first ran from 753 – 509 BC, while the second and third ran from 509-27 BC and 27 BC – 476 AD respectively (Starr, p.41).
The most resounding present day influence of the Roman Empire is religion; Christianity as established by the ancient Roman Empire belief brought to accomplishment the present day Roman Catholic Church which has million of followers’ world over (Sherratt, p.38). The church has continued to believe and use symbols of the ancient Roman people and this has passed the test of time since many continue to convert to the faith. The Romans had also the issue of polytheist where many gods were believed by certain persons; this is the same case in modern religion like the Judaism and Hinduism where different gods do different things (Ancient Rome, para.3).
ncient Rome held that religion was an instrument that was effective in cohesion of the state and there were leaders of religion that were entrusted with the obligation of leading people to the gods. These leaders were to lead in rituals like prayer, sacrifices, offering and festivals. This is still present today where leaders of the church lead the sermons of worship of god (Ancient Rome, para.4). The Roman calendar is also another modern day inheritance of the empire. The current running calendar that has twelve months was a religious document in the Roman state. The months included January for Janus, March for Mars, the war god September, from September for seven, and October, from October for eight among others (Ancient Rome, para.5).
Political institutions and Laws
The political landscape of Rome change with time; this was from a monarchy, to republic, oligarchy & democracy combination, and an autocratic empire. These political structures were very static and changed slowly with time. There was a law that governed the state and empires which was the constitution and there were establishment of political institutions. The political rulers such as kings had executive powers and controlled the entire empire including the judiciary and military (Ancient Rome, para.6). This has been carried on to the present world where many countries have adopted such systems to rule their people. States have monarchs, empires, republics, oligarchy & democracy or a combination of the above (Scheidel, p.91).
The countries have separated the political institutions where most have the judiciary, executives and parliament each with a different function. There are kings, presidents, prime ministers or governors that have the executive power to rule over the people and acts as the supreme person in the land (Scheidel, p.132). Many states presently also have a constitution which is the supreme law of the land as in the case of the Roman Empire; this gives a clear view that the Romans had a significant impact in the world today.
The legal system of the Romans was based on a superior head controlling all the functions and powers of the state. The legal system has been aped by many nations to form republics and rule the people. Judges, magistrates, area chief’s governors have been established in the present day societies where the mode remains just like the legal system of ancient Rome (Ancient Rome, para.9). The laws include those of religion public finance, domestic policies and foreign policies which Rome had developed. Present world governments have established foreign diplomatic laws and relations that continue to be eminent in all states just like those in ancient Rome.
Language was a vital factor in the building of the empire without a language where communication was possible then the empires would be a problem to build. The Greek language was overtaken by Latin which was the communication language in the empire. The alphabet was based on Greek and Etruscan and learning was done through lingua franca. Latin contributed a lot in the cohesion of the empire especially throughout Europe (Ancient Rome, para.10). It became the groundwork of the romance languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Latin also contributed to the establishment of English which later became the official language of most cities in the world.
Presently the English language has become the superior language where most countries that have been colonized by European nations use it or other romance language. This is a clear evidence of the influence of the Romans.
Architecture, Arts and Sculptures
Modern day economies pay tribute to Roman cultures with respect to architecture and engineering which have enabled them build numerous infrastructure and buildings. The Romans were famous with their building of roads and artwork. This was later spread to the European continent during the expansion of the roman civilization (Scheidel, p.53). The Appian road was a major development of the Romans that can be seen as also a development by many present day governments who utilize the ideas to build similar roads.
Arts and architecture remained a critical component of the Roman culture; this was seen in decorative arts and temples artifacts. Temples were designed with beautiful designs and decorated with gold and other ornaments using numerous designs. The king palaces were also decorated and filled with ornamental artifacts made of gold and expensive material. Churches were also specially designed to look different from other building. This is translated to the modern day cultures and regimes where artifacts for spiritual purposes are decorated with different designs (Scheidel, p.66). The most common is the artifacts in the Roman Catholic faith which are still used in the present day practices.
The Romans also had different designs of painting which were learnt from the Etruscans where they practiced mosaic and different forms of art to decorate houses. This was passed on to future generations that embraced and practiced it. Art in the present day world has been highly practiced with numerous art exhibitions being set up to portray the different artworks from people (Ancient Rome, para.15). Sculptures were also done in the ancient Roman Empire especially in religion. The gods were sculptured to represent their different images such as the god of the sun, god of the moon and others. These images sculptures have still been present in the present day world with those religions that are polytheists. The sculpture of Mary the virgin mother of Jesus, and that of Jesus himself on the cross has been major symbols of the Christian faith particularly the Roman Catholics.
In conclusion the present day world is just like an extension of the ancient Roman Empire in view of the fact that most of the practices are reflected from it. From language, technology, laws, literature, political institutions, religious practices/superstitions, sculpture, warfare to architecture the world emulates the strong Roman Empire that was a symbol of strength and success. The legacy left by the empire is worth emulating in the present world since it gives a background of the dos and don’ts and the cautions that are necessary to establish a strong and extensive state.
Society has continued to pass to future generations the practices that are positive and hence capitalize on them in order to build a new world and social order based on historical facts. The Roman Empire is a clear reflection of the modern world with its practices cultures and beliefs.