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1000 Years
only 200 years of peace – Pax Romana
International Culture
 Practical
 Rational
 Hard Working
 Group Oriented
 Thrift, Honesty, Loyalty
 Self-deprecating
 Art’s main function – Entertainment, not Enlightenment
2 Major Periods: Republic & Empire
2 Foundation Myths
•Republican – Romulus & Remus
•Hard Work
•Roman success more important than
family ties
•Imperial – Aeneas
2)Total dedication to destiny
Roman Cultural Timeline
Early Influences:
800 – 308 BC – North/Central Italy controlled by the Etruscans
Southern Italy controlled by Greeks
 509 BC - Roman Republic established (Oligarchy)
Patricians – wealthy landowners (10% of population)
Plebeians – landless masses (90% of population)
Two Consuls (Patricians) – executive heads
300 member Senate (Patricians)
Dictator (Patrician) – military leader in time of war
Tribunes (Patricians) – protectors of the Plebeians’ interests
Twelve Tables – (Greek based, but on Draco, not Solon)
Land Ownership:
Large estates controlled by Patricians
As time goes on, Plebeians forced into virtual slavery
Welfare system created out of necessity
Most organized in ancient world
Based on the Legions
Punic Wars (264-146 BC) vs. Carthage begins move towards empire
Most of Mediterranean / Northwestern Europe conquered
Citizenship offered to conquered peoples
Cosmopolitan culture develops
End of Republic:
Period of Civil War follows (130-45 BC)
Gaius Julius Caesar becomes Dictator in 45 BC but is assassinated
Caesar’s nephew, Octavian maneuvers to become virtual Emperor by 27 BC
Bureaucracy established – so efficient that it can withstand bad rulers
Pax Romana (27-180 BC) – no major wars, stability throughout the Mediterranean
180 BC – death of Marcus Aurelius, last truly great Emperor
180-476 BC – Decline and collapse of the Empire
Growth of Christianity
Constantinople established – foundation of Byzantine culture
Etruscan Culture and Art {Etruria}
 Origins in Lydia/Asia Minor?
 Control N.Italy for 400 yrs.
 Undeciphered unique language
 Pursuit of the good life
 Confederations of city-states ruled
by warrior aristocrats
 rule Rome for 100 yrs. until driven
out in 3rd Century BC
 Most of what we know is from their
 Accused of hedonism by the
Greek influences
Borrow nothing from the Romans,
but huge influence on Rome
 Religion –
 Asian origins
 Divination
 Gods similar in function to Greco-Roman
 Human Sacrifice – origins of gladiatorial combat
Art is distinctive – earthy, vigorous, sometimes
Unique elements but also Hellenic & Hellenistic
Sculpture – Terra-cotta is their favorite medium,
but also use of bronze
Painting – Murals
Strong, black-outlined figures with
bright colors
Religious, Leisure, & Greek-based
Jewelry – highly skilled goldsmiths
Architecture Cities - Rectangular, planned,
fortified on hilltops
Greek elements in buildings –
used Atriums, Aqueducts, Bridges,
Sewers BEFORE Romans