Culture and Art in the Roman Era

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Dating all the way back to the early Roman republic 510 through 263 BCE there is a huge focus on separation and inspiration that culture could easily flourish on. Looking in, not only does Arts and appearance plays a big part; but as well as Religion and the concept of adapting other cultures ideas to help build the Roman architecture. Culture is a custom in a group of people that show what fills their society with art, customs and other ways of life. The point is to be able to understand and come up with a thought of why and how Romans did things the way they did in their everyday life. That being said, what was the culture and evidence that help build the city of Rome?

In the early Rome republic one of their types of culture was actually comedy. In the primary source Polybius “why Romans and Not Greeks Govern the World” there was a specific quote in there that states “Most writers distinguished three kinds of of constitutions: kingship, aristocracy, and democracy.” We can come to an agreement that politics played a huge part of writing back then. Especially when it came to comedy pieces; now we think about it, why exactly did they write about something so serious as politics? Well, with the connection of us, after the presidential election in 2016 comedy TV shows such as “Saturday Night Live” had their biggest debut with having skits of making fun of politics as a way to cope. The Romans must’ve found cope with that as well, by throwing in serious politics into their acts, the audience understood exactly who they were making fun of and why. It didn’t even stop at just politics, but also in the textbook it quotes “features jokes about family life, stereotype personality, and the obsessed lover.” Comedy in the Roman Republic seemed to form their culture by replacing their fear of politics, into art. People of Rome were about to relate and laugh with each other. Another big play in early Roman culture was the religion.

Just like literature and art, religion with the romans followed a greek like style. In “The Power of the Invincible Sun” they provide in the source that “emperors often linked their power with those of Rome's traditional gods, and they were also worshipped as gods in their own right.” so it seems not only was the mythology gods praised but also emperors themselves. The point of their seen religion was for the gods to protect rome's safety and prosperity. (TB page 122) In the religious culture of romans there was also the lifestyle of having shrines for gods. Gods like Vesta, goddess of the hearth and protector of family had her own which guarantee the states permanent. Also families were very serious about their practices in religion. Each family house would have at least one small shrine for ancestors or protectors of families health and mortality. The evolution of Religion is mind blowing to modern day people for reasons of how some Romans are so against it, an example is in the primary source video “early christianity in the roman empire.” While watching it the lady explains that “Christianity itself was a radical transformation through an alliance with the roman state.” Even though something like christianity existed it wasn’t as popular in this time period. Praising the gods in anyway was. Gods even helped with forming Roman Agriculture, so thinking about how much the gods help the roman people of course this is going to be such a huge impact with their culture. It’s how they live their everyday lives, with the prayers and worship of gods.

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Architecture in Rome with no surprise was inspired by Greece. Their style was a mixture of realistic and stereotypical views. On one side they left unflattering features on statues, like long noses, bald heads, deep wrinkles etc. However, when it came to women their creations were more idealized. “Representing the traditional vision of the bliss of family life.” (TB page 132) The reason for this was most likely because men back then would ask for that. For them to look so realistic that even with those features they still had the perfect family which really shows their customs when it comes to “picture perfect”. Not only was sculptures a big part of architecture but also the buildings. Borrowing from Etruscan culture the Romans were able to create a temple that “stored their loot, it had a deep porch, large cella and a single stairway.” (powerPoint) Then also stealing from Greek archiculture they made columns around their temples. The purpose was to only have one entrance people could come in and out of. This really shaped how Rome took other countries ideas to shape their own cultural structure of buildings.

Age of Augustus, a period of time from 27 BCE through 14 CE where emperor Augustus ruled and restored the republic of Rome. Nevertheless, with every ruler there are his people. With individuals there is a constant duration with culture. It shapes arts, achievements, customs, social interactions and religion; which all come into play with this cultured society during the era. However, how exactly does the Age of Augustus in Rome show their specific culture in these ways? In this population of one million it’ll look into how their way of life was played out under Augustus reign.

Art and literature is always a big relationship with culture, however when it came to their expression of politics through their art was completely taken away from them. “Under the Republic the ability to criticize political opponents in speeches had been such a powerful weapon...now criticism of the ruler became very dangerous.” (TB page 149) In Rome's culture for years this was how they expressed their views, now they couldn’t even speak up to say how they feel. Even though Rome lost their freedom of speech in certain topics there still was a popularity in their literature. During the Augustian period it was the golden age of Latin literature. Mostly because Augustus himself found a love for writers and artists. The people would even build arenas so poets could entertain their audience with their pieces. Some famous writers that build onto Augustan Roman culture was virgil (70-19 B.C.E) and Horace (65-8 B.C.E) The people of Rome would soon show an up roar of ecstatic emotion for “The Aeneid” By Virgil that is all about the Trojan Aeneas; which the Romans looked up too calling them their “heroic ancestor.” (TB 149) The last thing I wanted to discuss in the art category is Augustus armor. On Augustus armor it wasn't just a blank shield but it had carvings of people and basically his armor was telling a story, which was a big part of Romans culture. They told stories all the time that was their muse, and Augustus seem to be in love with that idea.

The Last thing I wanted to discuss about the Augustus age was their religion at that time. For years Romans faith was in the many gods to help them with their needs in return they worshipped them. Though, everything started to waver when Christianity, at the time “The Jesus Movement” (TB 158) took place. Those who followed that religion were seen as minorities in Rome. It was still a fairly new religion that not many took on, so when Rome saw other cultures and teachings it wasn’t an easy welcome. Romans believed that christian beliefs could make a person disloyal, which when you think about it that does make sense. For years it was all about many gods but now something comes out of nowhere and they’re saying it’s one god? It can be confusing, though at the same time there should've been a better understanding than just assuming they’re awful people. You see this shows that even with new talk about religion most people in Roman culture still stayed in their custom beliefs which really shows their devotion to the ”traditional views”.

In the end were able to see the transition from how in Early Roman times their jokes and acts about politics were soon cut off due to freedom of speech being not so popular in the Augustus cultural period. Also you notice the big shift from Early Roman physical art, like sculptures and plays; to more writing and poetry like the Age of Augustus gave. Then also there is the difference in religion. In the beginning there is one religion and multiple gods to worship in return for their help. Now towards the end of Augustus there is a rise in “The Jesus Movement” and suddenly, there isn’t just one religion everyone in Rome is devoted too. When it comes to culture it’s always changing, some in bad ways and others in good. Through this essay, there was a need for showing the evolution culture can get into. “what was the culture and evidence that help build the city of Rome?” After the long discussion filled with loads of evidence we see that in both Eras Rome was built by their people and their custom beliefs of art, literature, architecture and religion.

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