What was the reason Rome was able to rise to such heights in the ancient world compared to say, the Greeks? How could they come such a long way and became the masters of the known world at the end when others couldn't?

Why Athens for instance couldn't accomplish the same? Athens was a center of political, scientific and cultural frontier, yet it never recovered from that defeat by Persians?

Rome on the other hand was overrun by barbarians, looted, and was almost destroyed by Hannibal. However Rome unlike Athens always recovered relatively quickly and only came out more stronger then every before. So what was the reason Rome always succeeded when other important city states failed once and never recovered for the most part?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Tyler Durden, Razie Mah, Kobunite, Pieter Geerkens, Mark C. Wallace Jun 15 '14 at 4:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • History.stackexchange.com is not for soliciting opinions or answering questions that are a matter of opinion. It is for questions of historical fact. – Tyler Durden Jun 12 '14 at 16:20
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    You are free to give me some facts on the subject ) – OutFall Jun 12 '14 at 16:32
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    @N0ir: You're supposed to give the facts (as you know them), and ask a question based on those facts. You did, after a fashion. I restructured the question to ask for "remaining" facts, about what (positively) "differentiated" Rome from the others. – Tom Au Jun 12 '14 at 16:33

Most city states never grew past that stage because they limited participation to the citizens of the city. At some point these few thousand aristocratic families loose impetus and the decline set in.

Rome was rather a mongrel city from the start, picking up its people from a mix of Latin and Etruscan folks. As a small state in a region with larger ones, gaining people was a higher value than clean bloodlines. So when they got the upper hand against a neighbor, they would offer the aristocrats in that city a chance to be Romans, too. When Rome set up colony cities, this also gave a way for lower class Romans to become upper class in the new city, and then upper class in Rome with time.

This gave Rome a far larger population of loyal citizens to work with than, say Athens. The value of this was proved in the Punic Wars, when the Romans could lose battle after battle and not have the defections that Hannibal based his strategy on. Every city had a reason to stay loyal - they were part of the Roman core. If Hannibal one, they would be ruled from Carthage and have no such expectation.

This continued into the late Republic and Empire. The Spanish that the Romans fought in 80 BC were becoming Emperors by Hadrian's time. The Illyrian tribes that were pacified by Augustus were producing the Emperors that brought the Empire back from the 3rd Century Crisis. The Eastern Provinces and Africa also were happily producing the wealth that allowed the Empire to grow to Scotland.

Rome grew the most because it offered a way for all its peoples to help support it.

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