Art and Culture of the Romans

Rome’s art and culture was influenced by those they conquered throughout their empire. Much of Roman culture was based on the Greeks, but as they grew they began to develop their own. Roman culture can be seen in their art, literature, and the architectural history where they conducted sports and games to entertain their citizens.

Romans began writing literature as early as the 3rd century BCE. They wrote poetry, history, letters, and speeches. Their main language was Latin, but they also used Greek. Poetry was the most famous type of Roman literature. Vergil was the poet of Aeneid which is considered Rome’s national Epic. Seneca the Younger was a lyrical and satirist playwright who wrote many of Rome’s greatest dreams. There was also Horace, Ovid and Lucan who were all poets as well.

Romans became interested in philosophy after conquering the Greeks. Cicero was a great skeptic philosopher. He taught to question any ideas or facts you hear about and always ask “How do they know that?” and “How can they be sure?” 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 considered the emperor’s way of keeping people happy. The “circuses” were games held in areas that included gladiator battles against each other, animals, slaves, and prisoners. There were also great chariot races and other tournaments held in these stadiums like the Colosseum in Rome. The games were often violent and bloody.

Roman art had a wide range of mediums. Coin art, fine jewelry, metalwork, perspective drawing and sculpture was heavily influenced by the Greeks and were often copies. Homes, villas, and public buildings were decorated with sculptures and walls painted with scenes from everyday life. Wealthy Romans used images of themselves or their ancestors.

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