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From the Iron age (about 500 BCE) people lived in central Italy south of the Tiber and spoke a common language (Latin). They built small hilltop villages.

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Presentation on theme: "From the Iron age (about 500 BCE) people lived in central Italy south of the Tiber and spoke a common language (Latin). They built small hilltop villages."— Presentation transcript:

1 From the Iron age (about 500 BCE) people lived in central Italy south of the Tiber and spoke a common language (Latin). They built small hilltop villages that eventually merged to form the city of Rome. Soon, the Romans challenged the Etruscans for power and by the first century BCE, they controlled the Italian peninsula.


3 To spur growth and simplify administration, the Romans took on huge building projects.

4 The Romans constructed forums, basilicas, racetracks, theaters, public baths and water systems, apartment buildings, and even new cities.

5 The very early government of Rome was led by kings who had an advisory board called the Senate. Eventually the kings were overthrown and the period of Roman history called the Republic started. Eventually, Julius Caesar became a military leader who overthrew his co-rulers, and became a dictator After 5 years he was assassinated, and Rome became an Empire with an emperor.

6 The artists of the Republican period tried to create believable images based on careful observation. The Roman practice of putting faithful portraits of leaders faces on coins has given us an unprecedented and personal view of Roman history.

7 Early Roman architecture was a mixture of Etruscan and Greek influences. An example of that mix is a temple, perhaps dedicated to the god of harbors and ports, Portunus.

8 They applied the Greek Ionic Order to the temple, and the stairs, porch, and podium under the building from the Etruscan tradition.

9 One way that the Roman Empire grew was to settle new areas and provide good living conditions for the people who lived there. Pont du Gard, Nimes, France

10 The top of the Pont du Gard is a trough that brought water to the town of Nimes.

11 After Julius Caesar died, there was a period of fighting, but eventually Octavian, a military leader, became the emperor. Under Augustus Caesar, as Octavian was titled in 27 BCE, the Romans began to use imperial portraiture as political propaganda.

12 This statue of August, found in his wifes villa at Primaporta, shows Augustus as he wanted to be seen. An image depicting him in his prime is inspired by heroic Greek figures such as the Spear Carrier. His hand is raised to show that he governs his people with his superior intellect rather than force. His bare feet are a sign of divinity (after Augustus, all emperors were deified), and his parade amour has images of defeated barbarians and Roman victory.

13 Augustus led the empire for another 41 years of peace and prosperity after he became Augustus (“exalted”, “sacred”). This period was known as the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace. To commemorate this peaceful period, the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) was built.

14 Unlike the Greek sculptors who sculpted an ideal procession for the Parthenon, the Roman sculptors of Ara Pacis show us real people, in a real procession, at a real time. These figures represent a continuation of the naturalistic, or realistic tradition that had developed during Rome's Republican period.

15 Compare and Contrast Greek and Roman frieze.

16 Mosaics were also a popular decoration for floors and fountains, where durability and waterproofing. Mosaic designs were made with pebbles or small, regularly shaped pieces of marble. Some mosaic artists were so accomplished that they made mosaics that resembled paintings.

17 Heraklitos did a mosaic called The Unswept Floor. In this mosaic, he created a trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) representation of a floor littered with droppings from a table, even casting shadows on the floor. Page 135

18 Roman homes were sparsely furnished, but had paintings and mosaic decoration on every wall and floor. To create the illusion of space, they used intuitive perspective and atmospheric perspective.

19 A Roman Home

20 Much of what we know about Roman homes comes from the town of Pompeii. One of the most famous painted rooms in Roman art is the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii. It is believed to show the initiation of a person into one of the mystery religions practiced in Rome. This color red is called “Pompeian red.”

21 Views of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background.


23 THE EMPIRE The emperors who followed Augustus were called the Julio- Claudian dynasty. This dynasty ended with Nero, a cruel and capricious emperor. After Nero’s death, a powerful general named Vespasian took power and founded the Flavian dynasty. After the Flavian dynasty there were emperors known as the “Five Good Emperors” who oversaw a long period of stability and prosperity Nero

24 Romans were huge fans of sports events, and the Flavian emperors built the Flavian Amphitheater (now known as the Colosseum). It was built to bolster the popularity of the emperor. The name “Colosseum” came from a bigger-than- life colossal statue of Nero that used to stand beside the amphitheater.

25 Popular events included animal hunts, fights to the death between gladiators or gladiators and animals, performances of trained animals or acrobats, and even mock naval battles.

26 The opening performance in, 80 CE, lasted 100 days. It was reported that 9,000 wild animals and 2,000 gladiators died. The design of the Colosseum is copied today because of its ease of crowd movement and unobstructed views. It held about 50,000 people.

27 As Rome Grew, large triumphal arches were erected to record battles and heroes. The carving of beautiful letters in the stone set standards for calligraphers and alphabet designers today.

28 During the extensive building projects of the Romans, they built forums in almost every city they went to. Forums were usually in front of a basilica.

29 Basilica Forum

30 Clerestory Windows

31 During the rule of the emperor Hadrian, two marvels of architecture were added to the long record of Roman building projects. The first, a temple dedicated to all of the known and unknown gods, was the Pantheon. The second project was Hadrian's Wall. The wall was built to keep out the Picts and Scotts of the north. The walls were originally 8 to 10 feet thick, with towers at every mile.


33 coffered ceiling and oculus The ceiling was coffered, and the oculus added, to decrease the weight of the dome on the outer walls

34 The oculus allows light into the rotunda. When it rains, the water is drained out through drain holes in the floor.

35 Hadrian’s wall marked the northern most border of the Roman Empire during Hadrian’s rule. Today it is almost exactly where the border between Scotland and England is.

36 Portraits in Sculpture and Painting Young Flavian Woman, c. 90 CE. Marble, Height 25”, Museo Capitolino, Rome

37 The development of art in Rome depended on private as well as public patronage. Usually Romans demanded accurate likenesses in their portraits, but, sometimes they preferred the idealization of their portraits. Executing the idealized head of Young Flavian Woman required skillful chiseling and drillwork.

38 Portraits were also popular as wall paintings. These portraits from the first century CE in Pompeii, show two young women in a similar idealized pose. Many Roman women were writers, and here we see two young women with wax coated wooden or ivory tablets. Both young men hold a scroll of some kind to their chin. The circular portraits are called tondo.

39 Marcus Aurelius, emperor after Hadrian, is shown on his horse without amour, and carries no weapons…he conquers effortlessly by the will of the gods. His son, Commodus, probably insane, is portrayed as Hercules.

40 The reign of Commodus marked the beginning of a period of decline for Rome. Eventually, Diocletian turned the empire’s fortunes around, but he was so controlling that the leadership eventually divided the empire among four rulers. These rulers warred against each other, and Constantine became the sole ruler in 312 CE Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, Rome, 306-313 CE


42 Only a few fragments survive of what was a huge statue of Constantine in his basilica. The head alone is 8 feet 7 inches tall.

43 One of the last pre-Christian Roman monuments to be built was the triumphal arch to commemorate Constantine’s victory over Maxentius. Some elements were taken from other Triumphal arches, so conferring powers from other emperors to Constantine.

44 Constantine ruled as sole Roman emperor until his death in 337. He made the port city of Byzantium the new capitol, and renamed it Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) Rome, which had earlier ceased to be the seat of government, was then further declined in importance

45 As Roman authority gave way to local rule, the newly powerful “barbarian” tribes continued to appreciate and even treasure the classical learning and art that the Romans left behind

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