How influential were the Romans on later history?

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The Romans had a tremendous influence on later history.  Let us look at just three ways in which this is so.

First, we can say that the Roman form of government had a great impact on later forms of government.  The Romans had a republican form of government for much of their history.  In this form of government, they had legislative, executive, and judicial branches that were somewhat separate.  They had different levels of citizen involvement in each level of government.  These ideas were influential in creating such things as the House of Commons and House of Lords in the United Kingdom and in the way in which the US Constitution was set up. 

Second, we can say that the Romans had a major impact on the languages of the world.  By conquering such a large empire, the Romans spread their language across Europe.  This is why languages such as French, Italian, and Spanish are so closely related to one another today.  It is also partly why the English language has so many words with Latin roots.  This may not be as important as the form of governments, but it is still a major impact on history.

Finally, we can say that the Romans are responsible for the entire idea of Europe as an entity.  If you think about it, there is no real reason to separate Europe from Asia as they are all one land mass.  However, because the Romans ruled most of what is now thought of as Europe, that region came to be interconnected.  After the “fall” of Rome, people like Charlemagne still thought of Europe as a single entity and tried to reunite it.  Rome also helped cause this sense of unity by bringing Christianity to all of Europe, again creating a unifying force.

In all of these ways, and more, Rome was extremely influential in the later history of the world.

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