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Ordo Virtutum, Conclusion,
In Principio Omnes
Hildegard von Bingen
Liturgical drama
The music of ancient Rome was tied to three main purposes: power, entertainment, and
propaganda. The "power" of Rome (as "conqueror"), and it's relationship to it's vast
"conquered" territories is very important to understanding the culture of ancient Rome.
The Roman virtues of dignitas (dignity), authoritas (authority) and gravitas (seriousness
of purpose) were practiced by all Romans as part of their "duty' to the State. The Romans
borrowed many diverse musical traditions from the peoples they conquered, rather than
developing a uniquely Roman tradition of their own. From a socio-cultural standpoint,
music in ancient Rome was primarily associated with: 1) the military and military
ceremonies, 2) the Roman Theater, 3) Roman religious practices, and 4) the ritual use
of music at almost all public/civic occasions. Despite the diversity and richness of Rome,
there are no known musical examples of Roman music that have survived to the present
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), the first composer whose biography is known, was one
of the most remarkable and forceful individuals in Medieval Europe. Placed in a convent
as a child, she took vows and eventually became an abbess, founding two convents of her
own. A visionary mystic, she was also accomplished as a poet, painter, naturalist,
theologian, and preacher, and she served as an advisor to political and religious leaders.
Her music, which is notable for its distinctive departures from the conventions of
plainchant, includes over 70 hymns, antiphons, and sequences, and the first surviving
liturgical drama Ordo Virtutem.