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The Roman Period Chapter 04


Etruscans • From Asia • Militaristic, practical • Anthropomorphic concept of deities • Arts similar to Archaic Greece


Romulus and Remus • Mythic twins, raised by wolves • Wanted to found a great city • Romulus kills Remus


Revolt • Revolt of city of Rome in 509 BC begins the Roman era • Patricians-city fathers


The Roman Republic • SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus – Roman people: functioned as a democracy • Assemblies

– Senate: old families and new money • Passed laws, supervised magistrates • Consuls: kept checks and balances

– Plebeians: lower class of the masses


Military conquest • Punic Wars (3 total) – Eventually conquered Carthage

• Carthagenians rivaled Roman trade • Built navy from scratch


Roman Civil War • Relied on conquered areas for money – Caused corruption – Rulers • Marius: military leader • Sulla: dictator • Pompey and Julius Caesar: apart of 1st Triumvirate


Roman Empire • Augustus/Octavian defeated Julius Caesar’s assassins – Emphasis on culture, religion, arts, and building – Ruled for 45 years • Nepotism in Senate


Pax Romana • Famous emperors – Claudius: bureaucratic government – Trajan: Spanish, general, push to grow eastward – Hadrian: expanded empire to Britain • Wall, established Bath

– Marcus Aurelius: stoic, beginning of the end of the Pax


• Rome’s 7 Hills • Empire covered over 3 million square miles • 80 million people • Spread of culture through roads • Bad emperors – Caligula – Nero


Edward Gibbon • Wrote Decline and Fall of Rome • Discusses possibilities for fall of empire • Emphasis on religion and barbarianism (Germanic invasions)


End of the Pax • • • • •

Ended 180 CE Empire controlled by army Decrease in standard of living Population shifted out of cities Increase in taxes


Roman Law • Jurisprudence: deciding how general laws could be applied to specific laws – Jurisconsuls: had real legal power – Vs. Judges

• Family power vs. legal knowledge • Earliest law is Law of 12 Tables


Stoicism • Continued from Greeks, changed throughout Roman period • Main ideas: reason governed the world, accept fate and duty


• Diogenes of Babylon brought it to Rome ~156 BC – Adopted Aristotle’s definition of “golden mean” – Emphasis on daily duty

• Popular among masses – Accepted popular religion as an allegory of truth


• Diminished during Nero, reemerged under Marcus Aurelius – Revived with slave Epictetus – Emphasis on austerity, rules of behavior – Idea of love one another

• Ideas disappeared as Christianity emerged


Neo-Platonism • Ideas of Plotinus: mixed ideas of Plato and Stoics/Epicurius • Artist’s products gain value because they represent symbols of a higher order of existence • Ennead said dance is a symbol of how nature has harmony


Ennead • Good is the source of all Beauty; art imitates Beauty • Art is a bridge between natural objects and the concept of Beauty • Art brings humanity to a higher plane


Mystery Cults • Focus on polytheistic gods • Emphasis on ritual • Mithra: Persian cult – Appealed to military values – Mithra engaged in struggle against evil – Membership: painful prep, take an oath, ritual of bread and wine


Classicism • Characteristic of both Greek and Roman arts – Amplified by Romans, but more utilitarian and pragmatic – Introduced the arch


Utilitarianism • Heart of Roman practicality • Seen in government: greatest good for the greatest number • Function of roads, bridges, and aqueducts over religious temples • Virgil’s Aeneid: government vs. aesthetics – Worth of an idea lies in its consequences


Pragmatism • Emerges in history in 20th century as Empiricism • Experience, experimentation, and practical effect • Examples in Roman sculpture – Function over beauty


Ch 04 Roman Period