I don't consider us to be so much more advanced than the ancient peoples. In fact, I think the Romans were about as advanced as society was about 300 years ago; in some ways, the Romans were more advanced than those who lived 300 years ago. Romans had running water, central heating, and even concrete. Remember, the Romans also invented the republic, making the "pure" Greek (direct democracy) system much more efficient while still running under the will of the people. I honestly believe that had the Germanic tribes (my ancestors) not sacked Rome nor had fundamentalist Christians not hated progress, society today would be much more advanced. Almost all aspects of modern society can be traced back to Rome, including our economics, government, and even society. This is particularly true of the US; the Roman nation was not called "Rome," but rather, "The Senate and the Roman People," much like "The United States of America." Certainly, Romans were much more brutal in their activities, but so were Europeans just 400 years ago. I think we owe a tremendous amount to the toga-wearing peoples.