Ancient Roman Art and Culture

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Art and Culture of the Romans

The art and culture of Rome was often influenced by those they conquered throughout their empire. Much of Roman culture was adopted from the Greeks, but as the empire grew, the Roman's began to develop their own culture.

Examples of Roman culture is shown in their art, literature, and architectural history. It is in some of these architectural marvels, such as the Colosseum in Rome, where Romans participated in sports and games to entertain their citizens.

Romans began composing literature as early as the 3rd century BCE. They wrote poetry, history, letters, and speeches. Their principal language was Latin; however, they also wrote in Greek as well.

Poetry was the most famous type of Roman literature. Notable poets of the time included Horace, Ovid, Lucan, and Virgil who authored three of the most famous poems found in Latin literature including The Aeneid, which is considered Rome’s national epic. Seneca the Younger was a philosopher and playwright that wrote many of Rome’s greatest dramas. 

Romans became interested in philosophy after conquering the Greeks. Cicero was a prominent philosopher and skeptic of the time. He taught to question any ideas or facts that you hear and always ask “How do they know that?” and “How can they be sure?”

Art and Culture of the Romans

Stoicism philosophers taught logic, order, and rationalism and that people should not waste time on things that really don’t matter, and instead, they should use their time well to help improve the world.

Sports and circuses were other forms of entertainment that the emperor used as a means of keeping people happy. The “circuses” were games held in areas that included battles that pitted gladiators against each other, animals, enslaved individuals, and prisoners.

Venues such as the Colosseum also held great chariot races and other tournaments. These contests were known too often to be bloody and violent.

Roman art was represented in a wide range of mediums such as coin art, fine jewelry, and metalwork. Roman sculpture and perspective art was heavily influenced by the Greeks and were often copied. Homes, villas, and public buildings were decorated with sculptures and walls painted with scenes from everyday life. Wealthy Romans would often use images of themselves or their ancestors.

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