Roman Civilization
The Pre-Christian Centuries
1
Getting Our Bearings
How did a small city on the banks of the Tiber come to dominate the known world?
2
The Legacy of Rome
…For other peoples will, I do not doubt,
will cast their bronze to breathe with softer
features,
or draw out of marble living lines,
plead causes better, trace the ways of heaven
with wands and tell the rising constellations.
Aeneid, Book VI
3
The Legacy of Rome
Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(hae tibi erunt artes), pacisque imponere morem,
parcere subjectis et debellare superbos."
Aeneid, Book VI
4
The Legacy of Rome
Language
Legal codes
Educational ideals/curricula
Trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric)
Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy)
Architecture (domes, rounded arches, vaulting,
amphitheaters, victory columns)
Sculpture
Literature
Philosophy
Government of multiracial/multiethnic society
5
Background
Roman civilization developed parallel to Greece,
but reached its peak later
Legendary founding by Romulus and Remus in
753 BCE is supported by archeology; settlement
dates to 8th century
“Gibbon’s Question” about reasons behind
Decline and Fall is interesting…
…But what prompted rise of Rome is even more
so
6
Background
Two basic theories on Rome’s rise:
Conscious policy of “imperialism”
“Accidental” empire emerging from demands
of self-defense
Answer may lie in combination of both
factors
7
Characteristics of Roman
Civilization
Book attributes greatness to “Roman
character” stemming from agrarian roots:
Practicality
Moral sense/gravitas
Sanctity of family
Broader (but still limited) role for women
“Gift for governing”
True enough…But are these characteristics
unique/determinative?
8
Characteristics of Roman
Civilization
The stern faces of the Head of a Roman and the
Patrician with Busts of his Ancestors show the
sternness and lack of vanity of many Romans. The
inscription on the statue of Eumachia shows the role
women could play in business.
9
Rome’s Founding
Legendary founding
of Rome based on
militarism and
violence
Fall of Troy
Aeneas vs.
Turnus
Romulus/Remus;
fratricide
Rape of the
Sabines
10
Historical Eras: Regal and
Republican Periods
The Etruscan and Greek Connections
Rome in the Age of Kings, 753-509 B.C.E.
The Roman Republic, 509-31 B.C.E.
The Early Republic, 509-264 B.C.E.
The Middle Republic, 264-133 B.C.E.
The Late Republic, 133-31 B.C.E.
11
Etruria and Rome
Rome was likely founded as an
outpost on Tiber to contain
Etruscans – a sophisticated people
of obscure origin in northern Italy.
History of regal period (753-509
BCE) tells of conflicts
with/conquest by Etruscans.
Under Etruscans, Rome prospered;
became commercial/transportation
hub.
12
Etruscan Contributions
Etruscan temples owed much to Greece,
but the Etruscan temperament comes
through in the differences in design;
note especially the placement of
narrative statuary on the roof.
The very symbol of Rome – the she-wolf
suckling Romulus and Remus – is an Etruscan
work (the infants are late additions by the
Renaissance sculptor Antonio Pollaiuolo). In
the archaic period, in fact, Rome was essentially
an Etruscan city
13
The Age of Kings
Regal Period:
753-509 BCE
Ends with ouster
of Tarquin the
Proud by L.
Brutus
Themes of Roman
government
emerge:
Hatred of kings
(Etruscan
domination)
Class conflict
Reubens, The Rape of Lucretia
14
The Early Republic: 509-264 BCE
Series of Wars in Italy
(Samnite, Latin, and Pyrrhic
wars)
Rome emerges as head of
federation of Italian
“states”/peoples (Latin
League)
Had large pool of manpower to
draw on
Provided “rights” to
colonies/allies
15
The Middle Republic: 264-133BCE
Punic Wars
transform
Rome
Provide first
provinces
outside Italy
Lead to
internal
problems
culminating in
the rise of the
Gracchi
16
The Late Republic: 133 – 31 BCE
Rome copes with consequences of Punic
Wars
Rise of the Gracchi
Rise of Equites
Rise of Generals
Social Wars
Mithridatic Wars
Civil War
Rise of Caesar and collapse of Republic
17
The Problems of the Punic Wars
Punic Wars created “empire” … and problems
Rise of latifundia/Urgent need for land reform
Unrest in city states
Dispossessed – including veterans – flood Rome
New political equation:
• Nobiles
• Equites
• Plebs
Optimates vs. Populares
18
Optimates and Populares:
Keys to the Conflict
Involves three groups: nobiles, equites, and plebs
Optimates and Populares represent temporary
coalitions, not “political parties”
Distinguished by methods: Authority of Senate
vs. popular assemblies
But… boils down into struggle between
conservatives and reformers
19
A High-Stakes Game
The nobiles and equites had a
difficult relationship
While interests often
overlapped, they frequently
found themselves in
competition
Wealthy senators were
appointed as provincial
governors, overseeing the
business activities of the
equestrian class, who were
engaged in business ventures
Both motivated by profit– and
conflict was inevitable
20
A New Army
Caius Marius
In course of events,
the nature of the
army also changed:
Professionalized
Loyalties shift
away from state
and to
individual
commanders
L. Cornelius Sulla
Felix
21
The Result: Caesar
Equites “x-factor” in
politics – now siding with
Senate, now with plebs
As career of Gracchi
showed, politics much
more volatile, with only
way to overcome
roadblocks a resort to
violence
Stage is set for Civil War,
culminating in J. Caesar
22
Imperial Rome: 31 BCE – 284 CE
Growing Autocracy
Conclusion of Civil War
• Philippi (conspirators), Actium (Antony)
Pax Romana, 31 B.C.E.-193 C.E.
• Augustus to Marcus Aurelius
• Period of high achievement in arts
Civil Wars, 193-284 C.E.
• Commodus to Diocletian
• Division of Empire in East and West
23
The Style of Pre-Christian Rome: From
Greek Imitation to Roman Grandeur
Roman Religion
Language, Literature, and Drama
The First Literary Period, 250-31 B.C.E.
The Second Literary Period: The Golden Age, 31
B.C.E.-14 C.E.
• Vergil
• Horace
• Ovid
The Third Literary Period: The Silver Age, 14-200 C.E.
• Seneca
• Juvenal
• Tacitus
24
The Style of Pre-Christian Rome: From
Greek Imitation to Roman Grandeur
Philosophy
Stoicism
Neo-Platonism
Science and Medicine
Law: natural law
25
The Style of Pre-Christian Rome: From
Greek Imitation to Roman Grandeur
The Visual Arts
Architecture
•
•
•
•
the Pantheon
forum
ampitheaters: the Colosseum
aqueducts
26
The Style of Pre-Christian Rome: From
Greek Imitation to Roman Grandeur
Sculpture
First phase: influenced by death masks
Second phase: realistic
Third phase: symbolic idealism
Painting and Mosaics
Music
27
Encounter:
Roman Conquests and Romance Languages
As the Romans expanded their empire, they
encountered the Dacians and other peoples,
making them part of the Roman world. Over time,
political, commercial, and military needs led to
the creation of hybrid languages that blended
Latin with native tongues. Thus, in the sounds,
words, and syntax of these new hybrid languages,
the legacy of ancient peoples survives in the world
today.
28
Technology:Warfare
Warfare
Army professionalized under Marius
• New weapons
• New equipment
• New organization/training
Navy ruled Mediterranean
• Corvus key innovation
• Decked galley, Liburnian ship were additional
innovations
29
Technology: Construction
Rounded arch/vaulting
30
Technology:Construction
Rectilinear temple
Maison Carree in Nimes,
France incorporates both
Etruscan and Greek ideas
(Etruscan: raised platform,
central stairway, deep porch,
engaged columns; Greek:
Corinthian columns, low
gable, mathematical
harmony.)
Reproducing architecture in
the provinces was one way
Romans spread their culture
across conquered lands.
31
Technology: Construction
Fora and Symbolic Structures
The Forum at Rome symbolized Roman power and civilization, as did architectural
innovations including the triumphal arch (like the arch of Titus, built in 81 CE to celebrate
Rome’s conquest of Jerusalem, and Trajan’s column (106-113 CE), a structure borrowed
from Mesopotamia and used to celebrate the victory over Dacia (modern Romania).
32
Technology:Construction
Amphitheaters
The amphitheater stood as Roman monuments to themselves…and gifts to the people. The
Flavian amphitheater, or Colosseum, is one of Rome’s most enduring landmarks, created
by joining two Greek semicircular theaters, featuring three tiers of rounded arches, and
Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns.
33
Technology: Construction
Aqueducts
The aqueduct at Pont du Gard near Nimes, France, is part of a water-delivery system that
spanned 31 miles and delivered approximately 100 gallons of water per inhabitant per day
to the city. Modern water systems deliver roughly the same amount
34
Sculpture
Roman sculpture moves through three distinct periods. The first, shown by the Head of
Brutus, is based on the Etruscan death mask and shows stern and resolute leaders; the
second, shown by the Bust of Caesar, is realistic, often with a sense of unease; in the third,
led by Augustus, sculpture reverts to Greek idealism.
35
Sculpture
The Ara Pacis, funded by the Senate as an offering of thanks to Augustus for his
peacekeeping missions, blends idealism and realism in its relief style – and its power as a
propaganda tool was picked up on triumphal arches and victory columns.
36
Sculpture
The Ara Pacis, funded by the Senate as an offering of thanks to Augustus for his
peacekeeping missions, blends idealism and realism in its relief style – and its power as a
propaganda tool was picked up on triumphal arches and victory columns.
37
Sculpture
Relief sculptures from the Ara Pacis, the Arch
of Titus, and Trajan’s column.
38
Sculpture
The last great sculpture from this period
shows a falling away from Augustan
idealism to a rugged, individualized
style.
39
Painting and Mosaic
These
pictures
show the
progression
in painting
styles and
villas from
Pompeii,
from
geometric
to stylized
representations of
myth.
40
Painting and Mosaic
This
mosaic,
perhaps
depicting
a scene
from a
comedy,
was found
in the
villa of
Cicero at
Pompeii
41
Painting and Mosaic
This garden scene represents the architectural fresco style; paintings were
divided into three horizontal planes, separated by columns to give a sense of
wall opening or a view through a window.
42
Painting and Mosaic
This calendar mosaic, with religious/rural
depictions of the months, was found in El
Djem, North Africa. The Roman year began
in March and ended in Fedruary.
43
The Legacy of Pre-Christian Rome
Profound impact on Western civilization
Languages
Legal codes
Educational ideals
Shining image of a healthy civilization
44
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Chapter 5 Roman Civilization