The ancient Roman civilization has left its imprint on various walks of modern life. Its contribution in the fields of both Roman Art and literature can still be seen in many areas of Western culture.
Ancient Roman Art
The ancient Roman art was greatly influenced by the Greeks. In fact, early historians have stated that Rome was much more preoccupied with the engines of war. As the Hellenic influence seeped into the Roman culture, an appreciation of the beauty of art emerged. Frescoes were the most common form of Roman art.
Historians have studied the remains of ancient Roman paintings, many of which have been found at Pompeii. From the study, they have identified four distinct styles in the course of its development.
- The first style imitated marble and masonry. It lasted from the second century to first century BC.
- The second style which followed involved the depiction of landscapes and buildings like palaces and temples.
- This style was rejected and the third school favored simple ornamentation. The chosen subject of a landscape or a building is placed in center over a background of a single color.
- The fourth style retained the abstract forms which had developed under the former school, but it drew on mythology for its subject.
Roman art was probably done on wood or ivory. It showed strong trends of secularism and utilitarianism.
Sculptures were another art form which was developed by the ancient Romans. Portraits were a popular subject. It was characterized by intense realism. Statues were placed as adornments in public buildings.
Ancient Roman Literature
The Latin literature showed the strong influence of Greeks. Several historical works have been found which narrated the early warfare. But later the style change and several authors wrote comedies, poetries, tragedies, and dramas. Some of the most noted literary figures of this period are
- Catullus was a famous lyric poet. His works are many and deal with social and political customs and love. They are noted for his simple use of language.
- Cicero was a famous writer of prose and an orator.
- Virgil was a famous epic poet. His work The Aeneid is probably the best example of Latin literature.
- Horace and Ovid are other famous poets of the era.
- A historical discourse on Rome was written by Livy.
- Seneca and Tacitus were famous historians, philosophers, and writers of the age.
Famous Roman literature
- On Obligations
- Saint Augustine’s Confessions
- The Rise of Rome