The Romans were the greatest empire builders of the ancient Western world. They created a legacy that proved to be as dominant as it was long lasting and thus many Roman principles are embodied in modern institutions. In many ways, the Roman legacy remains the ideal upon which Western civilization has shaped itself. One need only to look at the Capitol in Washington to see how extensively the founders of the United States followed the roman model in fashioning a new nation. The Romans were a practical people whose greatness lies in government and law. Many of the concepts that influence political lives today have roots in the regimes that governed Rome during the 1,000 years it dominated much of the Western world. Various strains of political and social thought emerged when the Roman Republic, and later the Roman Empire, expanded and strived to optimize its form of government. However, it was ancient Greeks who proved that democracy could be the foundation of a stable government and thus the Romans owe partial credit to Greece for the subsequent success of their flourishing rule.
Although the founders of the United States rejected Athenian democracy as too direct and radical, they enshrined democratic equality as a basic principle. Furthermore, the Romans were greatly influenced by the example of Athenian democracy that emerged among the many experiments of Greek rule. Five main forms of government existed in ancient Greece over the several thousand years of its history. The distinguishing factor among them was whether they depended on a strong central authority or on shared authority. Monarchy, chiefdom, and tyranny belong in the first category, oligarchy and democracy in the second. Greece underwent a transformation of many forms of government, evolving to finality in Athenian democracy, the template that would serve as a model for the Romans.
Monarchs governed the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Sometimes called "princes to indicat