Greek and Roman culture, in aggregate, constitute the ancient culture with its own specificity. Virtually all areas have the same main feature – focus on the person.
The Greeks and Romans accept everything that exists on earth, they don’t need other worlds. Their gods are clear, and do not inspire mystical horror: heroes of myths repeatedly penetrated even into the underworld and returned from it unharmed. Therefore, the ancient religion is characteristic by mainly positive attitude to reality. The Greeks are more direct, their gods are closer to the people. The Romans are more formal; they aim to streamline the relationship with the gods: in response to the worship of the deity, the god must comply with the request of the person. No wonder that mythology is prevailing in Greek religion, while in Roman – cult practice.
In Greece and Rome, religion did not play an independent political role, the priesthood did not exist, as it was in the Ancient East, in particular a closed sect, pursuing its own interests. In ancient states, the priests were seen as officials who were concerned about the welfare of their fellow citizens, which was very widely understood. Antique religion is characterized by the absence of rigid dogmatism, tolerance: if people were not opposed to public worship, they could believe in anything.
To occupations, worthy of free citizen, was brought mental activity in the sphere of literature, philosophy, science, art; practical activities –agriculture, war, politics. But unlike the Romans, the Greeks attributed to honorable pursuits, and creative activities, that’s why lots of names of Greek architects, sculptors, painters are famous while Roman are virtually unknown to us.
This difference in the approach to the creators of the beautiful is largely due to the initial difference in the worldview. The Romans with their sober outlook on life even beauty was appropriate. Art, like everything else, must fulfil its purpose –glorify the power and greatness of the Roman people or of individuals, to decorate life; it does not matter who creates the artwork. The task is completed – and this is important. The Greeks, too, perceiving the world as it is, sincerely admired it, tried to understand, tried to harmony, beauty, perfection, and people were able to create beauty, thought to be almost equal to the gods. They had the picture of perfect ideal. Not by chance, in Greece, any image tried to approach to it, and Romans created portraits, absolutely alien to the idealization. Favorite buildings of the Greeks were magnificent temples, and the Romans – buildings, that performed practical purposes, glorifying the emperors.
In science, education affected the differences between the two peoples. The Romans have developed and studied mainly the sciences, which had a practical application. Greeks were trying to understand how the world works, how to achieve harmony, proportionality. With big irony, this distinction was formulated by Cicero, who said that the Greeks studied geometry to explore the world and the Romans to measure land.
A characteristic feature of ancient culture was the close relationship of man and the state, because in ancient countries, with the advent of the policies appeared citizenships. A special merit in the formation of this concept belongs to Rome, in which the basis of the state was considered to be justice, law and order.
The similarities in the culture of two great nations were largely due to the fact that they have lived for centuries side by side, because Greek cities were scattered throughout the Mediterranean and were a constant target of Roman conquest. Eventually, the Romans managed to subdue all the Greek cities, however, the conquerors were under the influence of more developed and cultural people. Under the same influence of the more developed people were, for example, the Akkadians, who conquered the Sumerians, the Assyrians, who conquered Babylon, and other Nations of more ancient civilizations. The difference in the culture of the Greeks and Romans is due to their history, and Greeks’ is much longer than the Romans’.