What Roles Do Ancient Rome Have In Common

It perhaps comes as no surprise that Ancient Rome’s legacy lives on today, from the Roman alphabet still in use worldwide to the continued influence of Roman law, monuments and classical thinking. As one of the most influential civilizations to ever exist, it’s worth taking a look at how the Romans have managed to still impact modern civilization thousands of years later.

When it comes to literature, some of the most important pieces of work – Virgil’s The Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Cicero’s De Officiis and Sallust’s The War With Catiline – have their roots in Ancient Rome, influencing new generations of authors, poets, and filmmakers to this day.

In addition to writing, Ancient Rome also made major contributions to art, such as the frescoes, mosaics, statues, and sculpture that adorned private homes, temples, and public buildings. In fact, it’s estimated that of all of the world’s public art today, nearly 40% of it can be traced back to Ancient Rome.

The Romans also impacted architecture. From the Pantheon to the Coliseum, there are numerous structures throughout the world that owe their inspiration to Ancient Rome. In particular, theRoman arch and its derivative, the rounded arch, can be seen in architectural styles throughout the world.

Law is another area that Ancient Rome had a major influence on. Roman law was the basis for many legal systems throughout the world and is still in use today in some parts of Europe, North America, and South America. Roman’s most observed and significant law code was that of the twelve tables, which was established in 450 BC and contained detailed instructions on everything from religious practices to procedures for punishing those accused of crimes.

Military tactics and strategies used in Ancient Rome remain influential even today. The Romans perfected the phalanx formation, in which soldiers form a close line of defense, while their weapons like the gladius, a type of short sword, was influential in the development of many different weapons down the ages.

Finally, Ancient Rome’s engineering feats have been nothing short of remarkable, from aqueducts for water transport to drains for water disposal. One of their most famous engineering feats is the Appian Way, an ancient roadway that connected Rome to many other important cities of the time and is now considered one of the best-preserved monuments from Ancient Rome.

Urban Planning

Ancient Roman urbanism has also had a lasting influence on urban planning. From residential neighborhoods to commercial districts, the Romans are credited for the way cities are designed today. They were pioneers in road design, creating straight and narrow roads that were connected to the city center. They also built the first tunnels and bridges and set the standard for city planning by prioritizing urban safety and comfort.

The Roman forum was famously a popular centre of activity in Ancient Rome, serving as a hub for political and social life. This was a great example of how Roman urbanists used spatial planning to organize a city’s development and optimize the use of space.

The great Baths of Caracalla, also in Rome, are an example of the impressive engineering that the Roman’s managed to achieve. The baths served as an important social space and contained a vast array of amenities and luxuries, from cool and heated pools to gymnasia and libraries

Philosophy and Science

Ancient Rome was also a haven for the philosophers and scientists of the time, who were able to pursue their work and aim for scientific advancement in relative safety (at least compared to other ancient civilizations).

Some of the most influential philosophers of the ancient world, like Epicurus, Seneca, and Cicero, hailed from Rome. Concepts like Stoicism, Epicureanism, and utilitarianism in particular have their roots in Ancient Roman thought.

In addition, many scientists of the time were able to make great strides in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Lucretius, a Roman poet, wrote extensively on atomism, an early theory of atomic structure. The great mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy made his own discoveries about astronomy in his important work, Almagest.

The Roman doctor Galen was a revolutionary in medical science and is credited for laying many of the foundations for modern medicine. His works, still studied today, covered topics from anatomy to pharmacology (the study of drugs).


Ancient Rome is also remembered for its currency system. The most used coins were the sestertius and the denarius, both of which have served as a model for modern currency. The denarius was the most commonly used coin and was valued at 8 sesterces.

In addition, the denarius was the first coin to feature the face of an emperor, something that has become a common feature of many coins today. This helped to promote the cult of personality surrounding leaders, as well as reinforcing the notion of the divine basis of their power.

The currency system of Ancient Rome was also influential in that it allowed for the creation of sophisticated large-scale economies. This is another example of how the Romans adapted to their ever-changing circumstances, making the best use of what was available to them in order to create a lasting economy.


Not only were the contributions of the Ancient Romans felt in their own language, Latin, but also in the development of modern languages around the world. Throughout Europe, Latin was the language of the ruling class, and upon the collapse of the Roman Empire, it was passed on as the main language of many areas. This is why many languages spoken in Europe, like Spanish, French, and Italian, have their roots in Latin.

Latin was also the language of the Church and was the language used in the education system up until the 20th century. This is why Latin phrases and words remain so prominent in today’s language.

In addition, Ancient Rome also played an important role in the development of the wider Latin alphabet as we know it today, by contributing to and promoting its use for writing. The Latin alphabet is still the most widely used alphabet in the world.


The Ancient Romans were some of the first to develop an organized religion, with numerous gods and goddesses who were responsible for different aspects of Roman life. This religion was spread throughout the Greek and Mediterranean worlds, particularly through the military, who would often build temples dedicated to their gods in the conquered territories.

The Roman religion was also adapted to local religious customs, creating syncretic religions. This is a unique example of how religious customs can be incorporated without compromising the core beliefs.

The Roman religion also contributed to the development of Christianity, which, while not a direct descendant, did borrow heavily from Roman religion. This eventually led to an official state religion by the 4th century.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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