How Did the Ancient Greeks Influence the Romans?

Edoardo Frola/Moment/Getty Images

The ancient Greeks had a strong cultural influence on the Roman Empire, though the Romans did manage to take this influence and make it into something all their own. Greek influence on Roman culture is clear in areas such as religion, art and architecture, literature and philosophy.

When the ancient Greek Empire fell to the Roman Republic, the Romans took Greek slaves, some of whom ended up as teachers for noble Roman children. This educational influence led to a strong cultural influence from Greece to Rome, and the classical writer Horace noted the irony of the situation: “Captive Greece conquered her savage victor.” Roman education relied heavily on Greek writers, including Homer, and various aspects of Roman culture borrowed from Greece. For example, the Roman religion has similar gods to the ancient Greek religion, but with different names. The Greek influence on Roman architecture can be seen in temple design, though Roman architects took this influence and made something with different characteristics.