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A. Roman Fine Arts 1. Sculpture :

A. Roman Fine Arts 1. Sculpture Romans learned the art of sculpture from the Greeks. However, while the Greeks were known for the beauty and idealization of their sculpture, Roman sculptors created realistic portraits in stone. Much Roman art was practical in purpose, intended for public education.

Mosaics :

Mosaics Roman artists also were particularly skilled in creating mosaics. Mosaics were pictures or designs made by setting small pieces of stone, glass, or tile onto a surface. Most Roman villas, the country houses of the wealthy, had at least one colorful mosaic.


Roman Mosaic flooring


Ancient Roman mosaic of the poet Virgil. How many individual pieces of tile do you think were used to make this?!


3. FRESCOES Frescoes A fresco is a painting made on damp plaster. Roman artists used this technique to brighten the walls of Roman homes. This fresco from the ruins of Pompeii reflects a couple's pride at being able to read and write–she holds tools for writing and he a scroll.


In addition, Romans excelled at the art of painting. Most wealthy Romans had bright, large murals, called frescoes, painted directly on their walls. Few have survived. The best examples of Roman painting are found in the Roman town of Pompeii and date from as early as the second century B.C. In A.D. 79, nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering Pompeii in a thick layer of ash and killing about 2,000 residents. The ash acted to preserve many buildings and works of art. Husband & wife portrait Summer home of a patrician Roman house party

B. Learning and Literature:

B. Learning and Literature Romans borrowed much of their philosophy from the Greeks. Stoicism, the philosophy of the Greek teacher Zeno, was especially influential. Stoicism encouraged virtue, duty, moderation, and endurance. In literature, as in philosophy, the Romans found inspiration in the works of their Greek neighbors. While often following Greek forms and models, Roman writers promoted their own themes and ideas. The poet Virgil spent ten years writing the most famous work of Latin literature, the Aeneid (ih•NEE•ihd), the epic of the legendary Aeneas. Virgil modeled the Aeneid, written in praise of Rome and Roman virtues, after the Greek epics of Homer. Here he speaks of government as being Rome's most important contribution to civilization: PRIMARY SOURCE Romans, never forget that to us government is our perfect form of art! Be this your art - practice the habit of peace, Be generous to the conquered, and firm against aggressors. VIRGIL, Aeneid

C. Master Builders:

C. Master Builders 1. Colosseum Visitors from all over the empire marveled at the architecture of Rome. The arch, the dome, and concrete were combined to build spectacular structures, such as the Colosseum.


The Colosseum The Colosseum was one of the greatest feats of Roman engineering and a model for the ages. The name comes from the Latin word colossus, meaning "gigantic." Its construction was started by the Emperor Vespasian and was completed by his sons, emperors Titus and Domitian. For centuries after its opening in A.D. 80, spectators, both rich and poor, cheered a variety of free, bloody spectacles–from gladiator fights to animal hunts.


2. ARCHES AND AQUEDUCTS Arches also supported bridges and aqueducts. Aqueducts were designed by Roman engineers to bring water into cities and towns. When the water channel spanned a river or ravine, the aqueduct was lifted high up on arches. This Roman aqueduct in modern France has survived the centuries. The cross section indicates how the water moved within the aqueduct.




3. ROMAN ROADS Roman roads were also technological marvels. The army built a vast network of roads constructed of stone, concrete, and sand that connected Rome to all parts of the empire. Many lasted into the Middle Ages; some are still used. The Roman Army built the great roads connecting the Empire. A base was laid of logs and stones, and on top of that were layers of variously sized stones, broken tiles, mud, sand and concrete, with sloping sides (camber) for drainage.


Rome was famous for was their system of roads. Romans built over 53,000 miles (85,000 kilometers) of roads to connect every part of their empire. The roads were mostly built by the army and were all done by hand. The system of roads connected together every province in the empire. The Romans had a saying "All roads lead to Rome." One could start traveling on a Roman road in northwest Africa, travel around the entire Mediterranean sea, end up in Rome and never have left a Roman road.

D. Roman System of Law:

D. Roman System of Law Rome's most lasting and widespread contribution was its law. Early Roman law dealt mostly with strengthening the rights of Roman citizens. As the empire grew, however, the Romans came to believe that laws should be fair and apply equally to all people, rich and poor. Slowly, judges began to recognize certain standards of justice. These standards were influenced largely by the teachings of Stoic philosophers and were based on common sense and practical ideas.

Some of the most important principles of Roman law were::

Some of the most important principles of Roman law were: All persons had the right to equal treatment under the law. A person was considered innocent until proven guilty. A person should be punished only for actions, not thoughts. Any law that seemed unreasonable or grossly unfair could be set aside. The principles of Roman law endured to form the basis of legal systems in many European countries and of places influenced by Europe, including the United States of America.