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Roman Culture and Society. Chapter 5.3. Roman arts and literature. In the third and second centuries B.C., the Romans developed a taste for Greek art . Greek statues adorned their cities and homes. Reproductions became popular.

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roman arts and literature
Roman arts and literature
  • In the third and second centuries B.C., the Romans developed a taste for Greek art.
  • Greek statues adorned their cities and homes.
  • Reproductions became popular.
  • Roman sculptors added realistic, even unpleasant features to the idealized Greek forms.
art and architecture
Art and Architecture
  • In line with their practical bent, the Romans excelled at architecture.
  • The Romans created forms based on curved lines: the dome, arch, and vault.
  • They were also first-class engineers who built enduring roads, bridges, and aqueducts.
  • They built 50,000 miles worth of roads throughout the empire.
  • The city of Rome’s many aqueducts supplied one million people with water.
  • Latin literature’s high point was during the Age of Augustus.
  • Its most distinguished poet was Virgil from Mantua, who wrote his epic poem the Aeneid in honor of Rome.
  • The character Aeneas displays the virtues of the ideal Roman–duty, piety, and loyalty.
  • In founding Rome, Aeneas starts it on its divine mission to rule the world.
  • Horace was another important Augustan poet.
  • In his Satires, he pokes fun at the weaknesses, follies, and vices of the human race.
  • The most important prose work of this time was Livy’s History of Rome.
  • He traced the history of Rome from its inception to 9 B.C.
  • He celebrated Rome’s greatness and understood history in terms of moral lessons.
  • Thus he used stories to show the virtues that made Rome great.
  • He did not always get his facts straight, however.
life in ancient rome
Life in Ancient Rome
  • The Roman family was headed by the paterfamilias, the dominant male.
  • The household also included his wife, sons with their wives and children, unmarried daughters, and slaves.
family life and women s roles
Family Life and Women’s roles
  • Unlike the Greeks, the Romans raised their children at home.
  • All upper-class Roman children learned to read.
  • Teachers often were Greek slaves because prospering in the empire required knowing both Greek and Latin.
family life and women s roles1
Family Life and Women’s roles
  • Roman boys learned reading and writing, moral principles, family values, law, and physical training.
  • Roman males ended their childhood at 16 with a special ceremony.
  • They exchanged their purple-edge togas for the white toga of manhood.
  • Some upper-class girls were educated privately or in primary schools.
  • At the time the boys entered secondary schools, however, Roman girls were getting married.
family life and women s roles2
Family Life and Women’s roles
  • Like the Greeks, Roman males believed the weakness of women made it necessary for them to have male guardians.
  • The paterfamilias usually was the guardian.
  • He also arranged the marriages of his daughters.
family life and women s roles3
Family Life and Women’s roles
  • The legal minimum age for girls to marry was 12, though 14 was more common.
  • The age for boys was 14.
  • Divorce was introduced in the third century B.C. and was easy to obtain.
  • Both men and women could sue for divorce.
family life and women s roles4
Family Life and Women’s roles
  • By the second century A.D. the paterfamilias no longer had complete authority in the family.
  • For example, he could not sell his children into slavery or have them put to death.
  • Women increasingly were not required to have a male guardian.
  • Upper-class women could own, sell, and inherit property.
  • Unlike Greek wives, Roman wives were not segregated from men in the home.
family life and women s roles5
Family Life and Women’s roles
  • Outside the home women could attend the races, the theater, and events in the amphitheater.
  • In the latter two places they had their own seating section, however, and women could not participate directly in politics.
slavery and slave revolts
Slavery and Slave Revolts
  • Before the third century B.C., even a small Roman farmer would have one or two slaves. 
  • The wealthy had more.
slavery and slave revolts1
Slavery and Slave Revolts
  • As Rome conquered the Mediterranean area, large numbers of war captives were brought to Italy as slaves.
  • Greeks were prized as tutors, musicians, doctors, and artists.
  • Slaves worked in shops, kept house, waited tables, were personal servants, and made crafts. They built roads and public buildings.
  • Conditions often were pitiful.
  • One Roman writer argued that it was cheaper to work slaves to death and replace them than to care for them.
slavery and slave revolts2
Slavery and Slave Revolts
  • Punishments were harsh: The murder of a master by a slave might mean all the remaining household’s slaves would be killed. 
  • The most famous slave revolt in Italy was led by the gladiator Spartacus in 73 B.C. 
  • Seventy thousand slaves joined up with Spartacus, and they defeated several Roman armies before being defeated themselves in 71 B.C. 
  • Spartacus was killed and thousands of his followers were crucified.
living conditions in rome
Living conditions in rome
  • Rome had the largest population of any city in the empire, close to one million by the time of Augustus.
  • Rome was overcrowded and noisy.
  • Wagons and carts were banned during the day, but their noise at night made sleeping difficult.
  • Even though Augustus organized a police force, Rome could be dangerous.
  • One also might be soaked by the filth thrown from the windows of one of Rome’s huge apartment buildings.
living conditions in rome1
Living conditions in rome
  • The poor lived in apartment blocks called insulae.
  • As tall as six stories, these badly constructed buildings often collapsed.
  • Fires were a constant threat and hard to put out.
  • High rents forced entire families to live in one room.
  • The apartments did not have plumbing or central heating.
  • These uncomfortable conditions made many Romans spend most of their time in the street.
living conditions in rome2
Living conditions in rome
  • Rome was adorned with unequaled public buildings, such as baths, temples, theaters, and markets.
  • Beginning with Augustus, the city’s two hundred thousand poor received free grain from the emperor.
  • The people were entertained by grand public spectacles and entertainments.
  • The most popular were the gladiatorial contests, in which animals, slaves, and condemned criminals would fight to the death.
  • Horse and chariot races at the Circus Maximuswere also popular, as were dramatic performances.