Quotation by Herbert J. Muller

Far less brilliant, original, and versatile than the Greeks, the Romans were content to borrow most of their culture from them. They gave it their own practical bent, however, translating it into terms more suitable for universal use. They were able to transmit it to the barbaric West and thereby to lay the foundations of modern Europe. Then they systematized education, bequeathing the seven liberal arts to the Middle Ages. They adapted Greek philosophy to daily needs, applying it to government and recasting it into a philosophy of life available to men without high gifts. They developed the type of cultivated gentleman—the type of Cicero, Horace, and Pliny the Younger, who were less spontaneous and exciting than the Greeks but more moderate, urbane and sensible.... The practical sense of the Romans also led to some original contributions, notably their monumental architecture. While the Greeks stuck to their simple post and lintel, the Romans exploited the possibilities of the arch, the dome, and the vault to erect baths, palaces, amphitheaters, and government buildings.... Their architecture was more humanistic than the Greek in that it contributed much more to civic life.
Herbert J. Muller (1905–1980), U.S. historian, educator. The Uses of the Past, ch. 7, Oxford University Press (1954).
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