Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome: The Curse of Civilization

Both ancient Greece and ancient Rome were once very popular. However, in these two ancient civilizations with inheritance, we can all see the “curse of civilization”: the great civilization can not be conquered, only the natural rise and fall, this elimination He is long. The ancient Greeks were able to resist the intrusion of the Persian Empire, but they could not resolve the hostility and disputes within the city. Similarly, the ancient Romans conquered Carthage and ruled the Mediterranean, but they lost their self-improvement due to the expansion of the empire and gradually disintegrated.

From ancient Greece to ancient Rome, it left behind valuable resources that were unimaginable in the system, the law, philosophy, and art, and laid the foundation for Western civilization. However, the astonishing things are equally spectacular. Political conflicts, social injustices, and endless wars can be equal to the achievements of these two ancient civilizations.

Ancient Greek city-state system
Start with the ancient Greek. The city-state is an extremely successful design. In the more than 500 years since 700 BC, about 1,500 city-states have emerged in Greece and in Greek colonies from Spain to Afghanistan. The average city-state population is around 1,000. They are closely related to Athens, Sparta, Argos, and Collins, which have tens of thousands of people, but they are independent. The city-states are separated by rugged mountains and the sea that cuts into the land, so few people can get enough space to develop into a strong country.

In the 8th century BC, most ancient Greek city-states abolished the king. Power and prestige are shared among the oligarchs. The kingship is broken down into judicial, military, religious and other parts, and a new set of public office is set up to satisfy those ambitious aristocrats. What is important is that the oligarchic politics has imposed rigid restrictions on the number of years of administration and will be introduced into the political arena according to the qualifications of “ruling governance”.

Athens has a “slave army”, and that is its ally.

City-states give citizens a sense of identity, and Aristotle writes: “Anyone who is isolated from the city-state, if not a beast, is a god.” People love city-states, but contrary to love. It is an aversion to other things. In fact, looking at things in a non-black and white way is the main way for the ancient Greeks to know the world. The best way to define something is to figure out what this is not. This view of the world’s black and white has produced a clear way of thinking that has given birth to the philosophy and scientific revolution in the ancient Greek world.

When talking about the ancient Greeks, the German philosopher Nietzsche wrote something quite meaningful: “The most benevolent and noble people in ancient times have cold-blooded cruel traits and strong desires to destroy everything. Their inhumanity On the one hand, we are deeply scared.”

Athens and Sparta
By the end of the 7th century BC, under the threat of internal and external wars, the biggest problem facing the city-state was: What is the ideal way of governing the country?

The ancient Greeks were never satisfied with a single answer, totalitarianism, collectivism, authoritarian politics, oligarchic politics, and democratic politics. These ideas were tried in the city-state. As long as the city’s good order and independence are achieved, the ancient Greeks seem ready to adopt any system, as long as it is not a monarchy.

But Sparta is an exception. There are two kings in this city-state, but there are no walls and things that can be called public buildings. There is no written law and currency, and there is only one constitution that obviously involves too complicated and not applicable. The Spartans use a strict code of conduct to suppress the appearance and the exposure of wealth—the clothing and the home, all must be consistent, or it is destroying the whole.

The Spartans are very strict with themselves, they have removed the newborn boy who is considered to be sick and sick. The surviving children, when they are 7 years old, are sent to the children’s military training camp until they reach adulthood. There, they have to go through 13 years of devil training to become full-time fighters.

Under the reform of Cristini, Athens opened the public office of political and judicial institutions to all male citizens, and decided by lot to decide who can be elected. The picture shows 500 members of the meeting

At the Academy of Athens, philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle gathered together.

Despite the fact that all city-states share ancient Greek culture, the efforts to eventually create universal political identity are total failures. In fact, the difference between Sparta and Athens is so large that it is difficult for them to understand each other. Sparta does not trust the democracy of Athens, fearing that the free virus will be transmitted to the slave Hilo. On the contrary, Athens has become very annoyed by the victory of the Hippo war. This is the so-called Ionian awakening, they both pursue art architecture and drama, but also embrace science and philosophy, and the first renaissance in Europe is driven by a thorough democratic spirit.

Overloaded democracy
The democratic political reforms in Athens were initiated in Thoreau’s cautiousness, and when Christine was in power, he made a positive result. They belong to the savvy aristocracy, and understand that the aristocratic class must give up some privileges in order to maintain the good order of the city-state as a whole.

In Athens, Cristini was the first recognized ruler to lay the foundations for democracy. Under his reforms, the public office of political and judicial institutions is open to all male citizens, and lottery is decided to decide who can be elected. Members of the 500-member meeting will be sworn to propose the most beneficial to the people in accordance with the law. Cristini called his reform “equal equality before the law” and was praised for introducing the “pottery exile method.”

However, it is the war that ultimately makes the nobility truly equal to the lowest civilians. Sitting on the same paddle bench on the battleship, their sweat mixed together, turning the war against the Persians into a national war. After the war, civilians in the navy have become a force to be reckoned with in Athens. The fascinating Pericles appealed to citizens with loud debates and highly confident words, completing the transfer of power from the elite aristocratic warriors who owned the land to the seafarers’ civilian class. This class rose in the Hippo War, was the defender of the city during the war, and now becomes the master of the city.

However, it is not a free meal for the people to be the masters of the family. All male citizens in Athens now have to pay not only for the 500-person conference and the jury, but also to inject more money into the shipbuilding program. So, who will pay for all the expenses of this democracy? Fortunately, Athens has a “slave army”, that is its allies. In the time of two generations, this common defense alliance became an organization that blackmailed the royalties.

Due to the growing power of Athens, the city-states that did not join the alliance began to seek the protection of Sparta. Just as the spirit of the martial arts can motivate them, fear can be the same, Sparta hands. This ugly war between the Athenians and the Spartans, known as the Peloponnesian War, has been raging for 27 years, and the ancient Greek city-states lost everything during this period. Thanks to the historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides, we can understand how arrogance, viciousness, and sinisterness have led the ancient Greek ideals into astray.

A century later, the philosopher Aristotle wrote that as long as the Greeks can be united in one government, they can govern the world. However, in the end, it was an alien dynasty that united the unruly Greeks, that is, King Alexander of Macedonia. He used the spearhead of the Macedonian army to push the ancient Greek culture to the whole world, and the ancient world was no longer what it used to be.

Republic, Senate and People
The line of sight turned to ancient Rome, it was not a utopia on the Tiber River. From the Wang Zheng period to the Republican period, the ancient Romans concentrated on studying things that were much more complicated than statues and philosophy. They were most concerned about the black magic of politics-civilization. When the Senate, the law, and other means are not in use, they must decide on the battlefield. The ancient Roman civilization was so forged. They are committed to the perfect development of institutions and institutions. From law to engineering, they are practical and focus on the long-term, without interference from ideological dogma.

In ancient Rome during the Republican period (509-27 BC), the two consuls were elected by the Senate and the people, and each year was jointly governed for one year. This seemingly simple system is to ensure that no one has too much power. Later, at the request of the people, the Senate also agreed to establish a system of public security officials.

The success of the Republic depends on the system, which is most evident in the legal field. The ancient Roman legal system was the most advanced and enlightened system in the ancient world, combining the ever-expanding territory. As early as the middle of the 5th century BC, in order to prevent the elders from using their status to get rich and plunder the property, after a security officer called for a statute law, the Roman law was first promulgated in the form of the Twelve Bronze Table Law. The jurisprudence of “the sacredness and inviolability of property” comes from this.

The golden age of ancient Rome was built on looting and looting. The iconic arm of ancient Rome, the Roman legion, is a formidable compulsory legion. It is equipped with a centurion and an eagle flag. Soldiers are standard with flat sandals and wide-bladed daggers. Through three wars of confession, the ancient Romans who were not good at sea battles finally defeated the vast maritime trade empire, Carthage.

The story of ancient Greece should have been a forerunner of ancient Rome. When the soldiers were loaded with spoils and returned to the country, society would no longer be stable. In the ancient Roman Republic, the wealthy and powerful people took away most of them, and the rest of them had to smash the wreckage. The myth of the Senate and the people’s ethics can no longer conceal the naked political operation. Even Tiberius and the Gragu brothers who tried to carry out land reforms were killed.

The late history of the Republic was influenced by powerful generals such as Pompeii and Caesar. Both of them are the political heirs of Sura, and they all mimic the model set by Sura. In a generation, the republican system of ancient Rome became almost the same as the military dictatorship.

In the “top three giants era”, Caesar saw the most thorough public opinion: the Republic needed the cooperation of a dictator and a subordinated Senate. After crossing the Rubicon River, Caesar took the city of Rome by force, defeated the biggest rival Pompey, and began a series of reforms that benefited the civilian population. Although Caesar brought peace, it lost the support of the Senate. On March 15th, 44th, BC, Caesar was assassinated outside the door of the Senate, and fell under the statue of Pompey, the enemy, and died.

A series of events after Caesar’s assassination was a dramatic drama, full of conspiracy, romance and war. The story is long, and the political meaning is very short. After the civil war, Marc Anthony, the heir to Caesar in the “Big Three Giants”, and the younger grandson of Caesar and the son of the child, Dawei, became inevitable. Later, it was the ridiculous and moving affair of Anthony and Cleopatra. In the end, Anthony defeated the suicide, and the Empire era of Augustus (the Senate’s respect for Octavian) began.

Age of Empires
As a winner, Octavian faces a difficult choice: to revitalize the republic that is ruled by the Senate and the people, or to be monopolized? The embarrassing Octavian found a third path: killing the soul of the Republic, but retaining its body. He used a hypocritical phrase to modify his title to enhance its deceptiveness: the chief veteran, or the first citizen. The political balance of the Republic has ceased to exist.

However, the way of external conquest has improved. In the past, if the Roman legion defeated the neighboring countries, they would plunder and plunder the defeated party and turn their people into slaves; now the Roman Empire realizes that a better way is to absorb the conquered as a person, not just to wash. Grab. They provided the enemy with something that was hard to refuse: the opportunity to become a Roman citizen, and the result was that ancient Roman civilization spread from the banks of the Tiber River to the very edge of the Western world.

Its values ​​have been rooted in the vast territory of the empire, but they are unable to resolve the anxiety of the subjects.

However, people under the Roman Empire do not have Roman citizenship. In order to ensure that the 59 million subjects scattered in the empire’s territory are obeying and paying taxes to Rome, the emperors need to rely on the loyalty of the local elite, who really manage the Roman Empire in thousands of small towns. They are responsible for taxation, building public works, and using “bread and entertainment” to maintain order. The entire empire is managed by only 10,000 bureaucrats, which is both effective and capable.

The Temple of Jupiter is located in the Capitoline Mountain in Rome and is the greatest religious temple in ancient Rome.

The Roman Empire is the most successful empire known in the world. In its most prosperous 2nd century AD, the territory reached 5 million square kilometers, north to the Great Wall of Hadrian in England, east to the ancient Mesopotamia, people call it “Roman Peace.” However, although this country can withstand the toss of some crazy emperors, it will eventually be subverted by a humble religion from the East. Its followers not only oppose the city of Rome, but also completely oppose its interpretation of civilization. They believe that the secular city will be eclipsed before God.

In many ways, the Roman Empire symbolizes the culmination of ancient civilizations. Its values ​​have been rooted in the vast territory of the empire, but they are unable to resolve the anxiety of the subjects. This anxiety confirms the Achilles heel of the Roman Empire and is exploited by an inconspicuous sect of the Jewish province. The concept of martyrs in Christianity makes the more popular a believer is annihilated.

This uneasiness was also passed to the top of the imperial system. Constantine gave Christians freedom of belief throughout the empire, turning a pagan empire into a Christian empire. It was also Constantine that disintegrated the “four emperors” system pioneered by Diocletian and created the era of “an emperor and a god.” He also built the city of Constantinople on the shores of the Bosphorus in full accordance with the city of Rome.

After the death of Constantine, the Roman Empire fell into a brutal battle for the emperor. The emperor changed like a lantern and fell in the middle of the struggle with the bishop. Theodosius I even declared Christianity as the state religion in 393 AD.

In 395, when Theodosius died, he divided the empire into two sons. From then on, the Roman Empire was divided into two. The huge Western Roman Empire became vulnerable under the charm of religion and eventually went down under the iron hoof of the barbarian (the Eastern Roman Empire lasted until 1453). A once great civilization has become history.