**Mythology**:

Until Greek literature and art entered Italy the Romans felt
no need for beautiful, poetic gods. They were a practical people and they did
not care about "*Violet-tressed Muses who inspire song*," or
"*Lyric Apollo making sweet melodies upon his golden lyre*," or
anything of that sort. They wanted *useful gods*. An important Power, for
example, was -One who Guards the Cradle. Another was One Who presides over
Children's Food. No stories were ever told about the Numina. For the most part
they were not even distinguished as male or female. The simple acts of everyday
life, however, were closely connected with them and gained dignity from them as
was not the case with any of the Greek gods-except Demeter and Dionysus. -
Edith Hamilton in *Mythology*

**Mathematics:**

The Romans
generally scorned mathematics, at least the mathematics of the Greeks. In the
words of the Roman statesman Cicero, who lived from 106 to 43 b.c., “The Greeks
held the geometer in the highest honor; accordingly, nothing made more
brilliant progress among them than mathematics. But we have established as the
limit of this art *its usefulness* in measuring and counting.” Indeed,
whereas one might imagine a Greek textbook focused on the proof of congruences
among abstract triangles, a typical Roman text focused on such issues as how to
determine the width of a river when the enemy is occupying the other bank. With
such mathematical priorities, it is not surprising that while the Greeks
produced mathematical luminaries like Archimedes, Diophantus, Euclid, Eudoxus,
Pythagoras, and Thales; the Romans did not produce even one mathematician. *In
Roman culture it was comfort and war, not truth and beauty, that occupied
center stage.* And yet precisely because they focused on the practical, the
Romans saw value in understanding probability. So while finding little value in
abstract geometry, Cicero wrote that “probability is the very guide of life.”
- Leonard Mlodinow in *The Drunkard's
Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives *