Ancient Rome Antinous Mandragone’s profile
Ancient Rome Antinous Mandragone’s profile. Photograph by the Borghese family (PD). What to expect in Module 4: 1. You will learn the difference between using formal qualities to analyze a work of art and using contextual information to analyze a work of art. 2. You will learn how to bring together your analysis of both formal qualities and contextual information to create a richer analysis of works of art that share a theme. 3. You will apply what you know about this deeper analysis to comparing two works of art. This will help you prepare to work on Discussion Board 41. 4. Finally, you will explore ancient Roman works of art. Take careful notes of all vocabulary terms and key concepts throughout this module. Use the provided review questions, exercises, and games to test your knowledge. Doing so will prepare you for both the Discussion Board this week and the Module Quiz. Learning Objectives and Graded Activities The following activities will be graded: Discussion Board 41 Module 4 Quiz These activities support the learning objectives for this module: Discuss thematic similarities in different works of art Compare expressions of shared themes in two works of art Copyright © 2016 MindEdge Inc. All rights reserved. Duplication prohibited. Identification: The first step in working toward a comparative analysis (in this case, comparing a theme in two works of art) is to identify two works of art that will work for the task at hand. Part of that step is to identify the same theme at play in both works of art. You learned how to do this in Module 1. Introduction: Comparing Themes in Works of Art Comparing themes in two works of art, the goal for Discussion Board 41 and the Final Project, involves pulling together what you’ve learned about analyzing works of art thus far in the course. Read more about how this kind of comparative analysis comes together on the wheel below. Description: Once you have identified two works of art that are appropriate for the task at hand, and you’ve identified the theme that ties them together, you need to look closely at each work of art and describe what you see. As you learned in Module 1, this includes writing down descriptive details and quotations that are relevant to the theme you’ve identified. Doing this helps you clarify your thoughts about each work of art and how they each represent the same theme and it helps your reader better understand how you have arrived at the conclusions you have about the theme expressed in each work of art. Formal Qualities: In Module 2, you learned about visual principles and visual elements that come together to create a work of art’s formal qualities. This is the next step in this process. After you have identified two appropriate works of art and a theme they share, and have taken stock of descriptive details and/or quotations that help show what you are seeing in each work of art, it’s time to look closely at each piece’s formal qualities. What meaning can you derive from the visual elements and visual principles you see at play in each work of art? Context: The next step, as you know from Module 3, is to consider the different contexts that go into the creation of a work of art and that form the backdrop behind better understanding it. Understanding context, along with understanding formal qualities, helps you extract a deeper meaning from a work of art. Comparison: The final step is to pull together what you know of a work of art’s formal qualities and its context, as they relate to and express a specific theme, and to assemble an analytical comparison of two works of art and their expressions of the same theme. 1. Identification 2. Description 3. Formal Qualities 4. Context 5. Comparison The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz, 1907. © 2012 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (PD). The comparative analysis process detailed above—one that demonstrates what you know about identifying themes, using relevant descriptive details and quotations, and addressing formal qualities as well as context in a work of art—is what you will work on in in this Module as well as in Milestone Two and the Final Project. The next few pages provide more information on formal and contextual criticism. After that, you will see an example of how formal and contextual criticism come together to compare themes in two works of art. Comparing Themes in Works of Art In this week’s Discussion Board, you will be asked to compare themes in two works of art. This page provides an example of thematic comparison and includes one work of visual art and one work of literature. These examples are from a time period outside of ancient Rome, but you will apply the same principles you see here to two works from ancient Rome in your Discussion Board post. Note how these examples focus on both formal qualities and historical context in each work of art, unlike Exercise #1 and Exercise #2, which focused on formal qualities and contextual information somewhat separately. Discussing the artist’s use of formal qualities, as a way of showing how a theme emerges in a work of art, is an important method to use in your own work. Also note how descriptive details and quotations are used to illustrate the theme shared by the works of art. Theme: The Immigrant Experience The United States experienced several waves of immigration in the 20th century. Artists, writers, photographers, and composers all touched upon the immigrant experience in their work. The themes they dealt with included alienation, the quest for the American Dream, conflict between parents and children, the ambivalence many felt about assimilating into their new society and abandoning old country traditions, and the promise of starting over. These themes remain relevant today, as a “nation of immigrants” struggles with issues of inclusion well into in the 21st century. Photography: Alfred Steiglitz’s The Steerage Alfred Steiglitz’s photograph The Steerage has been acclaimed as one of the greatest images of the early Modernist movements. He took it in 1907 during the wave of massive immigration from Europe to the United States. (Stieglitz himself was the son of GermanJewish immigrants, although he was born in the U.S.) Steerage was the part of a ship providing accommodations for passengers with the cheapest tickets. The image was hailed as an advance for photography when it was published in 1911. It was seen as helping to establish photography as an art form in its own right, moving it away from attempting to imitate painting. Instead, Steiglitz pioneered making photos as a documentary record of life while also introducing an artistic sensibility. Cubist painter Pablo Picasso praised the photo for its Modernist spirit. Steiglitz later wrote about the shapes he captured in the photo: “A round straw hat, the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right, the white drawbridge with its railing made of circular chains—white suspenders crossing on the back of a man in the steerage below, round shapes of iron machinery, a mast cutting into the sky, making a triangular shape.” He added: “I saw shapes related to each other. I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had about life.” Portrait of Gish Jen by Romana Vysatova, 2010 (CC BY SA 3.0). The photography documented the class distinctions found in the immigrant experience. Immigrants often were crowded into steerage as they could not afford the upper decks of a ship. The man in the straw hat, looking down, represents the more affluent passengers. Many critics hailed this photo as making real the difficulties encountered by immigrants on their passage to their new home. There is some irony involved in reading this meaning into The Steerage, because Stieglitz actually took the photo of a ship traveling from New York to Bremen, Germany. Literature: Gish Jen’s short story In the American Society The ChineseAmerican writer Gish Jen often deals with the conflicts of assimilation and the tension between the culture and values that immigrants bring with them and mainstream American society. Her short story In the American Society, published in 1986, approaches these issues through the tale of an immigrant Chinese father, Ralph Chang, and his family. It is narrated by one of his daughters, Callie, and this point of view allows Jen to introduce ironic commentary into the story. Where Alfred Steiglitz’s image focuses on the experience of passage, of how immigrants came to the United States, Jen is interested in how they assimilate into their new surroundings. As the story begins, Callie’s father takes control of a pancake restaurant and, proof positive of the American Dream succeeds: “…we got rich right away.” Yet her father struggles, as he manages the workers in a paternalistic style he has brought from China. Many of the workers quit, unhappy with his growing expectation. Callie, the narrator, explains: “Your father doesn’t believe in joining the American society,” said my mother. “He wants to have his own society.” Meanwhile Callie’s mother, emboldened by the restaurant’s success, schemes to have the Chang family join a local country club, even though none of them play tennis or golf and her husband hates to wear a jacket and tie. The pancake restaurant is saved by the arrival of Booker, an illegal worker from Taiwan, who brings many of his friends to work. One of the original cooks, angry over the turn of events, calls the Immigration and Naturalization Service and after being detained, Booker decides to flee. The Chang family then is invited to attend a backyard bonvoyage party for a man, Jeremy, who they don’t know. Ralph Chang buys a suit for the occasion, but when it can’t be tailored in time he leaves the price tags on. At the party, Ralph is confronted by Jeremy, the guest of honor, who drunkenly challenges his presence (“This is my party, my party, and I’ve never seen you before in my life.”) When Jeremy learns that Ralph isn’t crashing the party, he tries to apologize by taking off his polo shirt and handing it to Ralph. Then Jeremy pulls Ralph’s suit jacket off and, discovering the price tags, loudly mocks him. Angered by his loss of face, Ralph throws the polo shirt into the nearby swimming pool and then the suit jacket as well. He and the rest of the Chang family leave, only to discover that the car keys are in the jacket Ralph has thrown in the pool. They decide they will return after the party is finished and recover them. In the American Society illuminates the struggles Asian immigrants to the U.S. have faced in fitting into a different culture. Ralph Chang’s difficulty in adapting to American ways, and in dealing with the bigotry that often lies just below the surface, is apparent to his daughter, who loves him and yet sees his flaws. These themes of alienation and of tension between Americanized children and their traditional parents are common in literature, film, and music dealing with the immigrant experience. Timeline of Ancient Rome Video: Ancient Rome Ancient Rome Following the classical age of Greece, the Romans largely absorbed Hellenistic culture while adding their own cultural contributions, including the wellcrafted literary works of Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Cicero, Livy, and others. The Romans developed new forms of architecturewhich included the extensive use of the arch. They engineered the construction of miles of roads and aqueducts. And they established laws and administration by which they governed the empire for hundreds of years. Perhaps most critically, the Roman Empire helped shape the very structure of Western civilization by spreading and instilling common laws and culture throughout lands across the Mediterranean and Europe. In this respect, one of the more elemental legacies of the empire’s influence is the existence of today’s Romance languages, which derived from the Roman language of Latin. French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish are among the most well known Romance languages. While not a Romance language, English, too, derives much of its vocabulary from Latin as well as Greek. This astoundingly influential classical tradition has continuously shaped the culture of Western civilization through every succeeding historical period, including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. During the Middle Ages, for instance, Platonic and NeoPlatonic ideas shaped philosophical and theological issues as the early Christian church continued to develop critical doctrines such as the Incarnation and the Trinity. Later in the period, the philosophy of Aristotle grew enormously important. Pagan practices also found a home in medieval thought and custom. In a different sphere, the builders of the glorious cathedrals borrowed and expanded upon the Roman architectural invention of the versatile arch. The Renaissance drew its inspiration from the complete spectrum of the classical aesthetic. Artists, writers, and scientists studied and emulated classical art, literature, architecture, and philosophy. Artists not only used classical themes for subjects but expanded upon the sensuality and balanced form of Greek and Roman sculptures. Scientists adopted and adapted the empirical methodology of early Greek practitioners and theorists, such as the doctor Hippocrates. Literature, too, plumbed the classical canon. For example, Dante’s most famous work, The Divine Comedy, emanated from Virgil’s Aeneid. During the Enlightenment, classics formed the centerpiece of education and intellectual standards. Roman literature and Greek philosophical and ethical systems were of particular significance in molding the revolutionary thinking of the period. Today, the classical tradition lives on. Historian Bruce Thornton has written of “those core ideas invented by the Greeks that have shaped the world we live in and the assumptions we share about human identity and the human goodin short, the ideas that have created Western civilization.” Roman Republic: the Senate in session Thornton has noted that “essential ideals of the Westthe freedom, individualism, consensual government, and the rational pursuit of knowledgehave their origins among the Greeks.” Whether it is as simple as a night at the theater or as complicated as the study of the origins of the universe, or as civically essential as casting a ballot, the dialogue, the search, and the precedent were set in the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. A Brief History of Rome Key Concepts: A Brief History of Rome Rome was originally a part of the Etruscan civilization until the Roman Republic was founded in 509 BCE. The separation of powers and an elected senate were hallmarks of their republican government. By 265 BCE, Rome had seized control of Italy and much of the Mediterranean through military conquests. A major turning point took place in 64 BCE when General Julius Caesar seized control of Rome. After Caesar’s assassination in 46 BCE, his adopted son Octavian rose to power and was later proclaimed as Augustus, ushering in the Roman Empire that would permanently replace the Republic. Rome’s innovations in law, religion, language, government, and architecture had a strong influence on the thinkers and artists of the Renaissance and Enlightenment and continue to contribute to modern culture. Rome originated as a small city state circa 753 BCE, and grew into a world empire that lasted until 1453 CE with the fall of the Eastern empire capital, Constantinople (current day Istanbul). Rome was part of the Etruscan civilization, a loose federation of states in the area of Tuscany, which bequeathed to Rome the Latin alphabet, the art of urban planning, and skill in civil engineering. Romulus was the city’s legendary founder. The early government of Rome consisted of kings who were nominated by a senate and elected by the people. The senate, which advised the king, was made up of wealthy landowners. Legends state that early Rome had seven kings, the last of which was overthrown in 509 BCE when The Roman Republic was founded. The Roman Republic featured the separation of powers, with two elected consuls who headed the government, a senate comprised of landowners of large plots (patricians), and assemblies made up of poorer farmers (plebeians). The members of the senate and assemblies were representatives of the people, which distinguished the republic of Rome from the direct democracy of Athens. By 265 BCE Rome had taken control of all of Italy through a series of military conquests. Economically, the Italian peninsula gave Rome significant resources and a strategic position from which to strengthen their trade markets within the Mediterranean. Also, by incorporating the colonies of Greece in southern Italy, Rome began to absorb Greek culture. The Romans showed early expertise in governing an eventual worldstate by allowing local customs and government to remain in place, and selectively granting Roman citizenship to people outside of Rome. Gaius Gracchus, a patrician and Tribune of the People, addressing the Plebeian Council. The Death of Caesar by Vincenzo Camuccini (1798 neoclassical painting) Between 264 and 146 BCE Rome waged three wars with Carthage, the Phoenician trade capital in North Africa. These Punic Wars ended with the complete destruction of Carthage, at which point Rome dominated the Mediterranean with no major opponents. The newfound wealth of the expanding empire made certain military leaders and merchants rich. They formed a new class called the equestrians and soon were vying for power with the agrarianbased patricians. Meanwhile, the plebeian class grew desperate because the patricians’ more efficient plantations displaced many of their small farms. Soon the imbalanced republic devolved into a series of power struggles, civil wars, and military dictatorships. The Republic took a major turning point in 64 BCE when the general Julius Caesar turned his army on Rome and routed his onetime ally Pompey who, with the Senate, had just ordered him to disband his forces and stand trial. Caesar took control of the Roman government and instituted political changes that strengthened his power and weakened the senate and other political institutions. Caesar was assassinated in 46 BCE, after which a governing triumvirate was formed, consisting of Caesar’s adopted son, Octavian; Caesar’s lieutenant, Marc Antony; and a deputy of Caesar’s, Marcus Lepidus. The triumvirate shortly fell apart, and Octavian emerged as the sole ruler after defeating Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE. In 27 BCE, through careful political moves and show of force, Octavian maneuvered the senate to bestow on him the topmost powerful positions in the Roman government, including the titles of “imperator” and Augustus (revered one). With Augustus, the Roman Empire officially replaced the Roman Republic forever. During the reign of Augustus Rome realized its Golden Age of literature, which included Virgil, the author of the Aeneid. Augustus ruled as Rome’s first emperor until 14 CE and ushered in an age of relative peacefulness for the empire, which by then consisted of modernday Europe, North Africa, Egypt, the Near East, modernday Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia. The “Pax Romana” lasted until roughly 193 CE. It was in this period that early Christianity spread throughout the empire. At first, Christians were persecuted for not recognizing the emperor as a god, however, in a few centuries Christianity would become the official religion of Rome. Beginning with the Severan Dynasty, 193337 CE, Rome gradually declined in power. Many factors affected the decline and fall of the empire including corruption, a series of bloody coups, and invasions and mass migrations from peoples outside the empire, most notably Germanic tribes. In response to internal and external crises, Diocletian, who reigned from 284305 CE, split the empire into two realms that would eventually become the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. The Visigoths conquered Rome and therefore the Western Empire in 476 CE, while the Eastern Empire stayed intact until the successful invasion of Turks in 1453 CE. The Roman Republic and Empire shaped Western civilization in fundamental ways, including its language, religion, law, government, engineering, architecture, and even its calendar. Rome also preserved Greek philosophical and artistic brilliance for future generations, most notably the thinkers and artists of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. The empire’s very stability and geographic breadth forged the identity of Europe and was an instrumental factor in the rapid rise of Christianity as a world religion. Today’s Romance languages, Roman Empire: A bas relief of members of the Praetorian Guard, 1st century CE including Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, are derived from Latin. Even English, which is not a Romance language, derives a large percentage of its vocabulary from Latin. The Romans made advances in civil engineering that have stood the test of time: the elegant and practical system of aqueducts which brought water into the cities; the inventive use of the arch and dome to create architectural marvels; the seemingly mundane invention of cement; and the incredible feat of uniting the empire by building thousands of miles of paved roads. Aspects of Rome’s judicial system are still hallmarks of today’s law. Their legal codes were based upon the concept of a universal or natural law; and they built a library of case law that evolved using precedent as a guide. The governmental structure of Rome’s early Republic influenced the framers of the U.S. Constitution as they considered the important concepts of checks and balances, and separation of powers. In short, it is impossible to understand the roots and the modern culture of Western civilization without an understanding of Roman history and culture. Early Christianity Key Concepts: Early Christianity Christianity began as a small sect of Judaism that formed around the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. The Apostolic Age that lasted until 100 CE was marked by both progress for Christianity and obstacles. Christians faced intense persecution from the Roman Empire until 313 CE, when Christianity was legalized by Constantine I. Christianity would later become the official state religion of the Roman Empire under the reign of Theodosius I in 391 CE. St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE) was one of Christianity’s most influential figures and is remembered primarily for his two texts the Confessions and the City of God. A Brief Timeline of Early Christianity: Circa 3036 CE: Jesus of Nazareth crucified. Beginning of the Apostolic Age. 64 CE: Fire devastates Rome. Emperor Nero blames Christians for the fire and begins statesponsored persecution of Christians. 100 CE: End of the Apostolic Age. During this time, the 27 books of the New Testament were written including the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), the Gospel of John, the Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles of Paul. 100 CE to 300 CE: Christianity expands. Organization of the Church established. Bishops wield greater influence and Rome becomes the center of Christianity. 313 CE: Emperor Constantine converts to Christianity and legalizes Christianity in the Roman Empire. 325 CE: Constantine calls a council of bishops in the city of Nicea. The Nicean Council resolves tensions between the Western and Eastern churches and establishes the Nicene Creed. 391 CE: Emperor Theodosisus I declares Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. 476 CE: Fall of the Western Roman Empire. Christ’s Appearance to the Apostles (13081311) by Duccio di Buoninsegna St. Paul (c. 16081614) by El Greco The world religion of Christianity began as a small sect of Judaism in the Roman province of Judea in the first century CE. The followers of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish teacher who was crucified by the Romans circa 3036 CE, believed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, rose from the dead three days after his death, and ascended into heaven. Shortly after his death, the apostles and disciples of Jesus evangelized in urban centers of the Roman Empire, including Antioch, Carthage, Cyprus, Corinth, Damascus, and Rome. Jerusalem was the center of the earliest Jewish Christian gatherings, led by James the brother of Jesus. Many of these cities were trade centers, which facilitated the spread of awareness of Christianity. This Apostolic Age lasted until approximately 100 CE, during which time the 27 books of the New Testament were written. The three synoptic Gospels were written before 90 CE: Mark (circa 70 CE), Matthew (circa 8090 CE) and Luke (circa 8090 CE). They are called synoptic because they relate many of the same stories of the life of Jesus in the same chronology. The Gospel of John (circa 90100 CE) takes a different view, presenting Jesus as the Logos, or the Word of God incarnate. The Acts of the Apostles, written circa 6062 CE, relates the missions and biographies of the apostles, including their leader, Peter. Tradition holds that Peter became the bishop of Rome and was martyred under Nero. Paul contributed greatly to the spread of Christianity through his leadership of missionary work throughout the Mediterranean. His belief that Christianity should be brought to the gentiles (nonJews) without the requirement of all the Mosaic laws, including circumcision, prevailed in debates among the apostles, and proved pivotal in the rapid growth of the Christian movement. According to tradition, Paul was also martyred in Rome under the reign of Nero. The Epistles of Paul, part of the New Testament, were written from approximately 5062 CE, before the earliest Gospel. The letters were primarily directed to several churches with advice and instruction, but they also contained some of the core tenets of Christian theology such as the centrality of the resurrection, and Jesus as Savior, among other important doctrines. During the early Apostolic Age, Roman persecution of Christians was sporadic since the Romans were tolerant of different religious sects, as long as they were not seditious. Christians came under suspicion because they did not recognize the emperor as a god and were hostile to pagan rites. The emperor Nero initiated a statesponsored persecution and executed many Christians after he publicly blamed them for a devastating fire in Rome in 64. Several following emperors sanctioned persecutions, notably Decius in 250. Constantine I, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, legalized Christianity in 313. Over the second and third centuries, the number of Christians expanded greatly, emerging from the lower classes into the middle classes, partly because of its personal message of salvation and dissatisfaction with pagan religion. In this AnteNicene period, Christian church organization became more established. The hierarchy of bishops, elders, and deacons came into effect, with the bishops of major urban centers wielding influence over smaller cities. Rome was generally recognized as the leading center of Christianity. There was great diversity in beliefs and practices in this era. The writings of early Church Fathers and Apologists such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Ignatius, Tertullian, Clement, and Origen shaped Christianity’s emerging theology. Some wrote to answer philosophical criticisms written by erudite pagans, such as the Greek philosopher Celsus, and others attacked what they considered heretical doctrines espoused by such groups as the Gnostics. Major controversies over Scriptural interpretation emerged, including disagreements over the divine relationship between God and Jesus. In 325 Constantine I called a council of bishops to gather in the city of Nicaea to resolve such issues in order to alleviate the growing tension between the East and West churches. The Nicene Council resolved many such issues and produced the statement of orthodoxy known as the Nicene Creed. Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire under Theodosius I in 391, less than 100 years before the collapse of Roman Western Empire in 476. A Closer Look: St. Augustine Augustine of Hippo (354430) was a Catholic bishop who would become one of Christianity’s most influential philosophers and figures. His autobiographical work Confessions and book the City of God are regarded as his two greatest contributions to Christian theology and philosophy. The Confessions, written around 398, is considered the first Western autobiography and presented an account of Augustine’s youth, past sins, and eventual conversion to Christianity. The work was divided into chapters, thought to represent the different features of the Trinity, and emphasized the rejection of other religions. Critic Clifton Fadiman has written: “The Confessions was originally written to bring men to the truth. For us it is rather a masterpiece of selfrevelation, the first unsparing account of how a real man was led, step by step, from the City of Man to the City of God.”1 The City of God was written in reaction to the sack of Rome by Alaric, King of the Vandals, in 410 CE. Following the city’s destruction, Roman pagans were quick to attribute Rome’s fall and decay to Christianity, claiming the new religion had weakened the State and angered Rome’s traditional gods. Augustine responded by criticizing pagan faiths and their love for earthly pleasures. He compared the Godfocused City of God and the pleasurefocused City of Man, claiming that the City of God would endure despite the destruction of any earthly city since Christianity’s strength came not from man but from God. Notes 1. Clifton Fadiman, A Lifetime Reading Plan, (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), 40. Roman Art and Sculpture Key Concepts: Roman Art and Sculpture Roman art was mostly borrowed from their Greek and Etruscan predecessors. However, Roman art was much more secular and utilitarian and was particularly interested in glorifying the Roman Empire and the Emperor. Consequently, themes such as imperial power, militarism, and heroism were common. Much of Roman art borrows from Greek culture and from the Romans’ predecessor, the Etruscans. The Romans were more secular and utilitarian, and they especially wanted to glorify the Roman Empire and the Emperor himself. Under the Empire, the Characteristics: Roman Art and Sculpture Some of the common characteristics of Roman art and sculpture include: art was influenced by Etruscan and Greek artistic ideals secular and utilitarian art used to glorify the Roman Empire and the Emperor reflected imperial themes of power, military victory, and heroism in painting, landscapes and scenes were drawn from literature and mythology depicted in mosaics, murals, and wall paintings in sculpture, realistic statuary of Roman leaders and heavy use of bas relief the Emperor himself. Under the Empire, the Romans sought to impose law and order and engender respect for their rule throughout their vast domains. The Romans also sought to spread their religion, especially the cult of the Emperor. Yet, they were surprisingly tolerant of other religions and sought to meld their gods and practices with those of the people they conquered and ruled. Roman art focuses on imperial themes of power, military victory, and heroism and was used to decorate public spaces. Architecture produced buildings of grandiose scale, such as the Colosseum (a massive amphitheater in Rome) aided by the development of concrete as a construction material. Roman art also supported religious practice by its depiction of gods and goddesses. One Roman innovation in painting was the introduction of the landscape. Roman Art A gallery of selected key Roman art follows. This bronze sculpted bust was assumed to be L. Junius Brutus in the 1500s when it was discovered. It has characteristics of Italic and Greek styles of sculpture. The serious businesslike expression makes this a suitable honorary sculpture. Capitoline Brutus, 300 BCE. Photograph by Wikipedia user MarieLan Nguyen (PD). This statue of Augustus of Prima Porta was created between 1437 CE and is believed to be a gift in honor of Augustus’s rise to the position of Caesar. While Roman sculpture often depicted important men as old and wise, this sculpture was created in a Greek style, with Augustus depicted as young with an ideal form. Augustus of Prima Porta. Photograph by Flickr user Tyler Bell (CC BY 2.0). This Bust of Marcus Aurelius shows the standard treatment of people in Roman sculpture. The facial features are slightly swollen to create a more graceful appearance while the eyes are clearly cut to show vigor. Bust of Marcus Aurelius. Photograph by Flickr user Bibi SaintPol (PD). This Bust of Antinous Mondragone was created to commemorate Antinous, thought to be a lover of Hadrian. The sculpture was created in an idealized Greek style. Bust of Antinous, c. 130 CE. Photograph by Wikipedia user MarieLan Nguyen (PD). Fresco was a popular form of decoration in Roman antiquity. Fresco is created by painting on stillwet plaster placed on the wall so that the painting becomes a part of the wall. Fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet, Pompeii. Photograph by Wikipedia user Stefano Bolognini. Copyright held by author. Frescoes often depict daily life or ceremonial events. This fresco found on the walls of the Villa of the Mysteries is thought to show the initiation of a woman into a Dionysian cult. Fresco from the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, 80 BCE. Photograph courtesy of The Yorck Project (PD). Many frescoes still survive because of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Lava and ash covered the city of Pompeii and surrounding areas, which prevented the art from being destroyed by the elements over the years. Roman fresco from Boscoreale, 43–30 BCE, Metropolitan Museum of Art (PD). Characteristics: Roman Architecture Some of the common characteristics of Roman architecture include: was influenced by Greek architectural forms used grandiose scale of public buildings to reflect imperial power columns and arches and development of concrete allowed design of much larger buildings development of dome allowed vaulted ceilings and large covered public spaces (public baths, temples, basilicas) precise engineering allowed construction of aqueducts Roman Architecture The Romans became famous for their innovations in architecture and engineering. The large and impressive public structures they built reflected a confidence in the power and strength of Rome. Roman architects and engineers developed the use of columns and arches, which allowed them to design much larger buildings than the Greeks, who relied on postandlintel construction (which employed two posts and a horizontal beam and limited the amount of weight that could be carried). The Romans also pioneered the use of concrete. The Colosseum was built of concrete, faced with stone, as were most Roman amphitheaters. The dome of the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all the Roman gods, was also made of concrete. Roman engineering allowed the construction of aqueducts throughout the Empire, including eleven bringing water to the city of Rome. These aqueducts moved water by gravity, employing a slight downward gradient within conduits of stone, brick, or concrete. Many of Rome’s famous buildings served as classical models for later architects. The Pantheon had the world’s largest singlespan dome for centuries. The Roman architectural legacy included the Colosseum (a massive amphitheater), the Circus Maximus (an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium), the Pantheon, the Forum, as well as numerous arched bridges, brick towers, and an impressive road system. Key Roman Architecture A gallery of selected key Roman structures follows. The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all Roman gods. It was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in c. 126 CE. The Romans used concrete faced with brick in its construction. It is a circular building, with a front porch of Corinthian columns and a concrete dome. It remained the largest domed structure in the world until the 20th century. Pantheon, Rome (C. 126 CE). Photograph by Wikipedia user Xeo (PD). The Italian painter Giovanni Paolo Panini depicted the interior of the Pantheon in the 18th century. Historians theorize the interior of the dome symbolized the arched vault of the heavens. Light is provided by the oculus at the dome’s apex and the entry door. Any rain coming through the oculus is handled by a drainage system under the floor. Interior of Pantheon by Giovanni Paolo Panini The Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, was built in the center of the capital city. Fashioned from concrete and stone, it could seat some 50,000 spectators for public events. The Colosseum’s four tiers were supported by vaulted arches. Colosseum (7082 CE) For centuries, the Forum was the center of public life in Rome. A rectangular plaza surrounded by government buildings, it served as a marketplace and gathering spot. Today the site is filled with architectural ruins. Ruins of Roman Forum. Photograph by Flickr user Icelight (CC BY 2.0). The Arch of Titus commemorates the victories of Titus, including the conquest of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Inside the arch, which was constructed of Pentelic marble, are sculptural reliefs of the Emperor and spoils from the Temple in Jerusalem. There are Corinthian pilasters at corners of the arch. Arch of Titus (82 CE). Photograph by Flickr user Beggs (CC BY 2.0). Trajan’s Column honors Emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars. A spiral bas relief on the column depicts the epic battles between the Romans and Dacians. In the 16th century, Pope Sixtus V crowned the top of the column with a bronze statue of St. Peter. Trajan’s Column (113 CE). Photograph by Flickr user Shadowgate (CC BY 2.0). This is the one remaining arch of the Pons Aemilius, the oldest stone bridge in Rome, built in the 2nd century BCE to cross the Tiber River. It is now called Ponte Rotto (Italian for ‘broken bridge’). Pons Aemilius, arch of oldest stone bridge in Rome (2nd century BCE). Photograph by Flickr user Patrick Denker (CC BY 2.0). Roman engineers built this aqueduct bridge of shelly limestone in the 1st century CE in what was Roman Gaul, now France. The Pont du Gard was one of the tallest of all Roman aqueduct bridges. Pont du Gard aqueduct bridge, c. 1st century CE Woodcut (1547) showing Cicero writing his letters Vercingetorix surrenders to Caesar (1883) by Alphonse MarieAdolphe de Neuville Roman Literature and Poetry Key Concepts: Roman Literature and Poetry Rome’s literary legacy is composed of primarily poetry and prose that often deals with themes such as conquest and governance. Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War was a prose account of his military campaigns in Gaul and is admired primarily for its accessible style and as a resource for the study of ancient wars. Cicero (106–43 BCE) was a Roman consul and senator who is most remembered for his philosophical contributions. He created a rich philosophical vocabulary for the Latin language and was an important source of Greek philosophies such as Stoicism and Epicureanism. Virgil (70–19 BCE) was regarded as Rome’s greatest poet and was the author of the Aeneid, the narrative descendent of the Iliad, as well as the Eclogues and the Georgics, texts that celebrated the Roman countryside while presenting the tensions of civil war that came before the reign of Augustus. Tacitus (56–117 CE) is considered the greatest Roman historian for his two major works, The Annals and The Histories. The combination of these two texts chronicled the years between 14 CE (the death of Augustus) to 96 CE (the death of Domitian). While Roman authors did not produce much lasting drama, they did fashion works of Latin poetry and prose that have become part of the West’s cultural legacy. As might be expected from an imperial power, much of Roman literature deals with conquest and governance. Cicero A popular Roman consul and senator, renowned orator and rhetorician, skilled lawyer, and philosophical scholar, Cicero (10643 BCE) was an advocate for the Roman Republic in the midst of the civil wars that culminated in its demise. His influence on the humanities can be seen among many thinkers including John Locke and David Hume. He created a rich philosophical vocabulary for the Latin language, translating Greek concepts for his more practicalminded Roman audiences. Cicero remains an important source on Greek schools of thought, including Stoicism and Epicureanism. His writing on the rules of rhetoric and the practice of law were esteemed guides for the ancient world. One of his most famous series of orations unveiled the conspiracy of Catiline to overthrow the Senate. His last set of orations, called the Philippics, caused his execution because it contained a fierce attack on Marc Antony. Julius Caesar Hoping to win political popularity in Rome, the general Julius Caesar (10044 BCE) wrote a prose account of his military campaigns in Gaul. Commentaries on the Gallic War (Commentarii De bello Gallico) consists of seven books, one for each year of the war. The prose is clear Mosaic depiction of Virgil Statue of Horace in Venosa, Italy Drawing of the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (unknown illustrator) and succinct, using uncomplicated Latin grammar. The accessible style mirrored the author’s oratory, which was much admired by many, including Cicero. The Gallic War is still a widely used textbook for the introductory study of Latin, and an invaluable resource for the study of ancient wars. Caesar’s other work depicted the events of the civil wars of which he was a primary player. Virgil Epitomizing the Golden Age of Roman literature under Augustus, Virgil (7019 BCE) is the most distinguished Roman poet. Commissioned by Augustus to write a glorification of the newly formed Roman Empire, Virgil composed his most famous work, the epic Aeneid, which was based on Homer’s epics, the Odyssey and the Iliad. Virgil also wrote the Eclogues (Bucolics), and the Georgics, both of which are celebrations of the Roman countryside, although they also exhibit the tensions of the civil wars that preceded Augustus’s supremacy. His influence on Western civilization literature is immense. Horace Among the greatest lyric poets of ancient Rome, Horace (658 BCE) wrote nine books containing a series of odes, satires, letters and literary criticism. His odes depict social life in Rome and mirror short Greek lyric poems. The satires question societal concerns about ambition, material gains, and human desires, urging readers to embrace moderation. Much like Aristotle, Horace was pivotal in the development of literary criticism in his own age and for centuries thereafter. In this genre, his Art of Poetry (Ars Poetica) was a muchreferenced guide to writing poetry. Renowned in his own time, Horace influenced countless poets in Western civilization, including Ben Jonson, Alexander Pope, Milton, and John Keats. Tacitus Tacitus (56117 CE), the greatest Roman historian, lived during the Silver Age of Roman literature. He chronicled the time between the death of Augustus in 14 CE, and the death of Domitian in 96 CE. His two major works are The Annals, covering emperors Tiberius through Nero, and The Histories, covering Galba through Domitian. With his distinctive style of writing, both concise and pointed, he recorded history with a sense of moral disappointment in the emperors as they compared to the more virtuous leaders of the republic. He often wrote about the emotional aspect of human history as well as the events of war and palace intrigue. The Triumph of Ovid (1624 1625) by Nicolas Poussin Ancient bust of Seneca Drawing of Petronius (1707) by P. Bodart Ovid Ovid (43 BCE 17/18 CE) ranks with Horace and Virgil as one of the most studied and influential Roman poets. He wrote three books of erotic love poetry in superbly crafted elegiac couplets: Loves (Amores), Heroines (Heroides), and Art of Love (Ars Amatoris). His love poetry could be light, humorous, and satirical. In Art of Love, he wittily teaches the art of seduction. In a totally different vein, Ovid wrote a fifteenbook epic that catalogues almost 250 GrecoRoman myths that depict the transformation of human beings into other shapes. The Metamorphoses has inspired countless mythological renditions in Western art and literature. Shakespeare and Chaucer are two literary giants who drew inspiration from Ovid. Seneca A major contributor to Roman Stoic philosophy, Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) wrote tragedies, essays, and letters. Most of his ten tragedies are based on Greek plays and feature violent themes, the supernatural, and lengthy descriptions of action. The tragedies significantly influenced drama in the Elizabethan Age of Shakespeare. His essays primarily provide a thorough examination of ethics from his independent interpretation of Stoicism. His many letters contain some his sharpest writing and explore a great number of moral problems. Early Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Jerome, and Boethius studied Seneca, and he was well read throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Petronius Petronius, or Petronius Arbiter (circa 66 CE), a popular tastemaker of Nero’s court, is the presumed author of one of the earliest novels in western literature, the Satyricon. A mix of prose and verse, the Satyricon is a humorous and bawdy parody of Roman customs. It presents one of the most illuminating portraits of everyday life among common and noble people of Rome. Petronius also satirizes the writing styles of famous poets and writers. It was the inspiration for the film of the same name by Fellini. Virgil and the Aeneid Key Concepts: Virgil and the Aeneid Virgil was considered Rome’s greatest poet and was the author of the epic Aeneid, a poem that was written as a continuation of the plot line established by the Odyssey and the Iliad. The Aeneid was regarded as the national epic by his Roman contemporaries. Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) is considered Rome’s greatest poet and has influenced poets and authors throughout Western history. The Romans regarded the Aeneid as their national epic. As Allen Mandelbaum has noted: “In his own time, Romans referred to Virgil simply as ‘the Poet’; in the Middle Ages he was worshiped as ‘the Prophet of the Gentiles’ and used as a source of mystical predictions; for Dante he was the ‘Sweet Master’ who guides one to the Earthly Paradise. His influence has appeared in the work of almost every Western poet to succeed him.”1 Robert Fitzgerald, a poet and translator, has written of the Aeneid: “It is a unique story, freshly imagined and often masterfully told. At the core of it is a respect for the human effort to build, to sustain a generous polity—against heavy odds. Mordantly and sadly, it suggests what the effort may cost, how the effort may cost, how the effort may fail. But as a poem it is carried onward victoriously by its own music.”2 On what is said to be Virgil’s tomb in Naples is inscribed in Latin: “I sang of pastures, of sown fields, and of leaders (cecini pascua, rura, duces).” Virgil Virgil was the greatest poet of ancient Rome, writing three major works: the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the epic, the Aeneid. Born in 70 BCE, he lived through the chaos of the civil wars that marked the end of the Roman Republic and witnessed the ascension of Octavian as the emperor Augustus. Virgil died in 19 BCE. The Eclogues consist of ten pastoral poems, largely composed as conversations between rustic herdsmen. The fourth epilogue depicts a young boy leading a golden age. A clear tribute to Augustus, it was also considered by St. Augustine to be a Messianic prophecy. The Georgics also paints a portrait of the countryside, offering a guide to raising crops, growing olive trees, raising cattle, and beekeeping. Many of the poems are allegorical and, as in the Eclogues, reflect the tensions of the civil war period. Virgil’s most influential work is the Aeneid, which he modeled after Homer’s Odyssey for its first six books, and the Iliad for the last six books. As Homer composed the defining epics of ancient Greece, so Virgil set out to write a single epic that would glorify the ancestry, character, and destiny of Rome. Written for Augustus, the Aeneid celebrates Rome’s mythical origins as it relates the story of Aeneas, a Trojan hero who escapes the final destruction of Troy and travels the Mediterranean until he fulfills his fate and founds Rome. According to legend, he was the ancestor of Romulus and Augustus himself. This auspicious lineage legitimized Augustus as a natural leader of Rome. The book links the noble and pious character of Aeneas to that of Augustus, and thereby helped to burnish the emperor’s image as a benevolent ruler. The Aeneid also relates how Augustus’s rule was a result of fate. In a central passage describing a shield forged by the god Vulcan with imagery of the future of Rome, Virgil describes the military victory of Augustus over the combined forces of Antony and Cleopatra. Virgil worked on the Aeneid for some 11 years and died before its completion. He left instructions that the book should be burned, but Augustus overruled him and it was published two years later. It now stands as one of the greatest epics of Western civilization. The Aeneid would become a core part of a Roman’s education, even long after the reign of Augustus because it extolled the virtues of Roman citizenship and empire. It was studied through the religious Middle Ages, even though Virgil was a pagan, in part because of its beauty and because it reinforced the values and beneficence of stoicism. In writing his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, Dante would use Virgil as his guide to hell and purgatory, thus echoing the book where Aeneas visits his father Anchises in Hades. The Aeneid influenced many other works of literature, including Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Milton’s Paradise Lost. The Aeneid continues to be a central text for the study of Latin. Notes 1. Allan Mandelbaum, The Aeneid of Virgil (New York: Bantam Classics, 2004), vii. 2. Robert Fitzgerald, The Aeneid (New York: Vintage Books, 1985), 417. Vocabulary point of view The source or perspective of a piece of writing. melody A succession of tones in a given sequence that possesses certain subjective qualities a perceivable coherence, an inevitability, and a sense of completion. Roman Republic Founded in 509 BCE; featured the separation of powers with two elected consuls who headed the government. Punic Wars Three wars waged against Carthage by Rome between 264 and 146 BCE; resulted in the complete destruction of Carthage. equestrians A wealthy class of Roman military leaders and merchants. patricians A Roman agrarianbased class that competed for power with the equestrians. aqueducts Architectural structures designed to transport water in areas controlled by Rome; aqueducts were conduits of stone, brick, or concrete, and employed a slight downward gradient so that water would be moved by gravity. Apostolic Age The period from Jesus of Nazareth’s death until approximately 100 CE, during which time the 27 books of the New Testament were written. logos A text’s appeal based on logical reasoning and presentation of the argument and evidence. seditious Promoting or causing resistance to authority. Roman art Artwork produced by Roman civilization, circa 500476 BCE. postandlintel In architecture, design where horizontal pieces (lintels) are held up by vertical columns (posts). Stoicism A philosophy that maintains the greatest good comes from wisdom, courage, and uncomplaining acceptance of what cannot be directly controlled. Epicureanism A philosophy which asserts that the greatest happiness in life is found in avoiding pain.