- How does Late Republican Rome differ in terms of Art and A...
How does Late Republican Rome differ in terms of Art and Architecture from other contemporary cities in Italy?
The Roman Republic can be defined as the phase during which the
ancient civilization of Rome was dominated by a Republican form of
Government, following the overthrow of the Monarchy around 509 BC.
Opposed to a monarchy a republic is that which is led by the
people, working together with government. The word originates from
the late term res publica, which can be translated as 'public
thing' or 'public matter'. (Sourced from: www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Republic,
Date accessed 07/11/08.
The exact point at which the Republic then evolved into the Roman
Empire is debatable, although for the purposes of this paper the
period between 146 and 44 BC will be under discussion in terms of
the timescale considered to represent the late Republican
This was a period when the city of Rome was expanding in order to
accommodate the increase in its population and the consequent need
to develop more efficient water supplies and food resources in
addition to handling growing political unrest and class divisions
emerging at this time.
The Classical art and architecture of ancient Rome
prior to 400 BC was largely Etruscan
art in the form of tomb decorations, after which the Greek
influence became dominant.
Particular to Rome at this time was the network of road systems,
archways, city streets and arched bridges. Aqueducts were also
revolutionary devices that combined science, architecture and art
to provide the city with water. (Stamburgh, 1988: 36)
The Architecture of Ancient Rome adopted the external language of
classical Greek architecture for their own purposes; they absorbed
Geek influence in many aspects and combined this with the ancient
Etruscan influences of their forefathers who supplied them with
architectural solutions such as hydraulics and the construction of
What is also very apparent is the reputation Rome must have
demanded. It was on the eve of becoming an Empire and its location
and notoriety combined to define it as a leading nation where
people wanted to live and better themselves. The importation of
artists and art into the city helped to shape it into a culturally
pioneering nation all of its own.
During the first and second centuries Rome was at the height of
its extravagance and wealth with a population estimated at the time
as being considerably over 1,000,000. This population would have
been diverse and varied sustained by a regular stream of
immigrants, consisting of slaves and foreign visitors that escaped
their rural lifestyles from provinces and beyond. Rome's paved
streets, sophisticated water supplies, and sewage systems were
revolutionary and as a city it would undoubtedly have far surpassed
any other in terms of its size and grandeur. However it should be
remembered that, its strained economic and social achievements
would also contribute as forerunners for its ultimate future