The blending of Greek and Roman culture was the result of a long process. Some five hundred years earlier Rome had first encountered Greek influences in her contacts with the Etruscans and with the Greek cities in Italy. Then in the third century her contacts became more personal: Roman soldiers, administrators and traders began to visit Greek lands, and under the stimulus of Greece Latin literature was born. The full impact came in the second century, when Greece itself and part of the Hellenistic East were included in Rome's empire, and we have already seen how Rome assimilated much without being overwhelmed and gave to what she received a Latin appearance (p. 9 ff). In the next century Greek culture at Rome was no longer merely a foreign importation but had become 'naturalized' and civilization in the late Republic represented essentially the harmonious blending of the two backgrounds, a synthesis to which both traditions contributed, each enriching without destroying the other.