Contributions of the Romans. The Romans united the Mediterranean states and made of them one vast empire. Thus they succeeded where the Greeks had failed. The Greeks had not learned the lesson of co-operation, but the Romans had learned to organize and were therefore able to erect a government for the Roman Empire which embraced not only the Mediterranean region but extended to the north as far as England.
The Romans were practical and turned to empire building rather than to philosophy and art. They gave their people law and order. The empire was thus able to preserve civilization and to pass it on to other people. Since they were more concerned with the practical arts than with the fine arts, they built roads and bridges and erected magnificent buildings.
The Romans showed their ability to govern by adopting a liberal policy for dealing with the people whom they conquered. One of their greatest leaders, and ablest governors, was Julius Caesar. In addition to the ability to organize and govern, the Romans were able to develop law. The Roman law was made up largely of principles which were drawn from the early customs of the Romans as well as from the customs of the people whom they conquered. Their purpose in developing law was to obtain a body of rules that were uniform, so that disagreements might be settled on the basis of justice equal for all.
Rome also gave us the Latin language, which we still consider important enough to make a subject of study in our high schools and colleges. We consider it important because it contributed many important elements to our English language, and because of the fine literature created by such Latin writers as Cicero, Vergil, Horace, and Livy. The Latin language, however, was gradually transformed into such other languages as modern French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Rumanian. These are known as the Romance languages “Romance” meaning Roman-like.