1. Identify the formal & iconographic char’s of Roman art & architecture of the Republican & Early, High, & Late Imperial pds.
2. Describe the forms, materials and construction techniques of Roman architecture.
3. Discuss relationship of civic building programs and imperial politics.
4. Explain the relationship of social status and artistic expression.
5. Identify the influence of other ancient cultures on Roman art and architecture.
6. Describe the materials and processes used to create Roman art.
7. Identify historical events and characters that influenced the development of Roman art and architecture.

The 4 Major Periods in Ancient Rome:
  1. REPUBLIC 509 - 27 BCE
  2. EARLY EMPIRE 27 BCE - 96 CE
  3. HIGH EMPIRE 96-192 CE
  4. LATE EMPIRE 192 – 476 CE

side note: a separate page will be created for each of the 4 major periods above.

Some things to look for as you study the material in this unit:
  1. the influence of the Romans on Western art and government (even on us today)
  2. architectural achievements / innovations of the Romans
  3. role of architecture and sculpture played in the context of the public forum / throughout the empire
  4. the concepts of real and ideal (Greek moving from ideal to real; Romans moving from real to ideal)
  5. artistic contributions of each emperor (as well as wealthy Roman citizens)
  6. adoption
  7. divine lineage
  8. the manner in which each emperor had themselves represented
  9. patronage - from both powerful / wealthy and non-elite citizenship (and former slaves)
  10. use of narrative in art and architecture
  11. the (other) various functions of art and architecture
  12. gender

Other general questions about the material in this unit:
Q: Explain the political nature of Roman art and architecture, especially as it communicates ideas of power for the emperor and empire.
Q: Explain the architectural development of the Roman forum, the markets, the triumphal arches and, in particular, the Pantheon.
Q: Explain the quote, “In Roman Art, ‘portrait’ is often not synonymous with ‘likeness.” Support your explanation with an example.

General links (Ancient Rome):

  • Mr. Walker's Youtube playlist (ANCIENT ROME) -link to playlist
    The playlist contains all videos for Ancient Rome, in no particular order
  • John Green explores Rome's transition from Republic to Empire (Crash Course History) #10 - video link
  • Take a virtual tour of Ancient Rome in 320 C.E. A collaboration between Khan Academy & Rome Reborn based on a film by Dr. Bernard Frischer - video link
  • Discover Ancient Rome in Google Earth - video link
  • Virtual reality of Rome (video by Altair 4 Multimedia Roma / WWW.ALTAIR4.COM) - video link
  • Documentary - When Rome Ruled (c/o Nat Geo) - 45 minutes - video link

  • Roman images & info (Getty Foundation) - link
  • Roman images & info (Metropolitan Museum: Heilbrun Timeline) - link
  • Roman Images (George Ortiz Collection) - link
  • Roman Images (Vedute di Roma) - link
  • Roman Images (Berger Foundation: Images of Antiquity) - link
  • Roman buildings depicted on Roman coins: courtesy of Roman Numistic Gallery (RNG) - link

  • Resource provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art - titled "Roman Art" (related to the MET's superior collection) - link to PDF booklet (13mb)

NOTE: For a link to a Menu/Page that contains larger versions of most of the following images, please click here.

Single government ruled for 1st time in history
  • Didn’t force all conquered lands into Roman way, open melting pot
  • During the 8th C BCE, Rome of Romulus and Remus was modest "Iron Age" village
  • Rome founded by Romulus in 753 B.C., killed sibling Remus and built Rome on Palatine hill becoming first king.

  • Allowed more rights
  • divorce more common
  • laws passed to encourage marriage and increase birth rate
  • Not like Greece

Stratified society
  • Organized by class
  • Opportunities and employment defined by birth
  • Upper class Patricians; lower Plebeians
  • Allowed foreigners / slaves to become citizens, progressive. Inclusion: helped win peoples loyalty.

Love for Greek pieces
  • Brought in, made marble copies. Nero imported 500 bronzes from Delphi alone.
  • Statues and buildings Greek and Etruscan, mix Roman.
  • Pliny says after High Hellenistic age (art stopped).
  • Ways of representing human body, muscle, and gestures all learned. Perfected by masters, could not be improved.

  • Larger buildings for large amounts of people.
  • Temples and basilicas become later churches
  • The 1st use of concrete (lime, sand, rubble, water); Chemical reaction blended and hardened as dried. Constructed walls, arches, and vaults. Weakness: absorbed water, covered exposed concrete surfaces with veneer.
  • Rome covered in marble, colors from Asia minor, Egypt, N. Africa, on outside of bldgs, nearly all vanished.
  • Aqueducts continue to supply water to some modern towns

Modern concepts of law, government, languages, calendar, and coins all reflect Roman civilization.

Language = Latin, root for many other languages.

509 b.c. constitutional government established, vested in senate (council of elders) and 2 elected consuls originally drawn only from wealthy patricians and later plebeian class of farmers, merchants, free slaves. Portraits and relief sculptures manipulate public opinion, carefully crafted political campaigns.

Temple interiors house image of deity and trophies (statues and weapons) from conquering armies.

link to REPUBLIC