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Period 2 Time of Greeks and Romans

Spreading Greco-Roman culture and confronting Germanic culture

Has the Netherlands been in Roman hands in history? Some places do. The Romans could only conquer the south of the Netherlands.

Greek culture has played an important role in history. Greek culture, thanks to Alexander the Great, was spread over a large area that reached all the way to Egypt. In this area this culture had been taken over. This is what we call Hellenism. In hellenistic culture lived many developed people. These were writers, teachers, doctors, scholars or artists. The Greeks not only invented science, they also loved art very much. In the era of the ancient Greeks, therefore, the foundations were laid for the science and culture of today.

From the fifth century BC, the Romans began to expand their territory. From the second century BC they also gradually took over the Greek empire. The Romans admired Greek culture. They took the Greek statues and Greek scientists to Rome. The statues put them in their own homes or gardens and the scientists became slaves. The Romans learned a lot from their slaves, they had not developed a science themselves.

The Romans also learned to make art themselves. There were not enough Greek statues for all the Romans. That's why they started re-naving them. They also took over Greek architecture. However, it did not take long for the Romans to develop their own style. The Greek temples, for example, had stairs on all sides. The Romans changed this. Their temples had stairs only at the front. Many columns were placed in the Greek buildings. So did the Romans. But in the Greek buildings the columns had to be very close together because otherwise the structure was not strong enough. The Romans discovered that an arch was much stronger than an angular gate. This allowed them to further separate the columns. The Romans didn't just build houses and temples. They also built aqueducts and built paved roads. The Romans also played an important role in history. In many places where they ruled, the peoples took over Roman culture. This is called romanization.

The Roman empire was a republic in the beginning. This meant that the king ruled the country together with the senate. By the year 48 BC, Julius Ceaser had become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. 19 years later, in the year 27 BC, Emperor Augustus had seized power and the Roman Empire became an empire.

The Roman empire invaded the Netherlands in the year 12 BC. In the era when the Romans seized power, there lived in the Netherlands a people who called themselves Germanic. Their country we called Germania. The Germans were mostly farm workers. But they also sold hides to the Romans. The Germans didn't want to give up their country. They fought hard against the Romans. This was not without results. The Romans failed to cross the Rhine. The northern part of the Netherlands remained still 400 years of the Germanen.

The Romans guarded their borders well. They built camps and watchtowers along the borders of their area. In the Netherlands, the Rhine was the border between the Roman empire and the land of the German. The Romans called this border a limes. In the Netherlands the Roman limes ran through Nijmegen, Utrecht, Alps on the Rhine and Katwijk to the sea. The limes were not only a frontier, the Romans also used the Rhine to bring their goods to the camps. They did this with a ship over the water.