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Roman culture and society

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  • 1. Roman Culture and Society 27 BCE – 225 CE
  • 2. Architecture• Architecture often followed Greek model, with columns and square buildings• Romans expanded Architecture and used curved lines, like arches, vaults, and the dome• Used concrete (cement) to make larger buildings• Advanced engineering to build roads, bridges and aqueducts
  • 3. Architecture AqueductsColosseum Amphitheater Barrel Vaults
  • 4. Art• Romans followed Greek style, especially in statues• Reproduced famous Greek statues• Romans produced realistic instead of idealistic statues• Decorated homes and public buildings with mosaics
  • 5. Art Statues reflecting Roman realism and Greek idealismMosaic
  • 6. Roman Literature• High point for literature reached in Augustan Age• Virgil was most distinguished poet of age. – He wrote the Aeneid, a story of the founding of Rome by Aeneas, who was portrayed as the ideal Roman• Horace was another prominent poet who wrote Satires that made fun of his fellow Romans• Livy wrote prose and was famous for his History of Rome that was 142 books long and told the story of Rome’s foundation through Livy’s day. Only 35 of his books survive.
  • 7. Roman Family• The Roman family was male-dominated; it was headed by the paterfamilias, the dominate male (usually the eldest male).• Paterfamilias dominated entire household, including wives, children, and slaves.• Romans raised children in the home• Slaves that were educated (and usually) Greek were hired to teach children in the home – Roman boys learned reading, writing, moral principles, family values, law, and rhetoric, in addition to having physical training to prepare them to be soldiers – Roman girls were taught to read and run their household accounts – Boys “graduated” at the age of 16, when they were considered adults and could begin wearing the toga
  • 8. Roman Family: Attitudes toward Women• Paterfamilias arranged marriages for daughters – Marriage legal at 12 for girls and 14 for boys, though marrying this young was unusual• Roman women often had male guardians out in public• Roman marriages were meant to be for life, but divorce was permitted• Women could own, sell, and inherit property• Women were not supposed to participate in politics and could not hold any political office
  • 9. Roman Family: Changing Roles• By second century CE, the paterfamilias no longer had absolute authority over children – Could no longer sell children into slavery – Could not have children put to death• Women were no longer required to have guardians
  • 10. Slavery in Rome• Romans were dependent on slave labor• Most slaves were foreign prisoners of war• Greek slaves were in demand as tutors, musicians, doctors, and artists – Greeks would voluntarily sell themselves as slaves in return for family life, pay, and possibility of Roman citizenship at the end of their service• Slaves were used to build public roads, aqueducts, and other public projects• Some slaves were treated humanely, given wages; others were abused, especially those working in mines and large- scale agriculture
  • 11. Slave Revolts• Romans were concerned about slave revolts, as slaves outnumbered citizens. – Slaves who revolted were executed• Spartacus led a slave revolt in 73 BCE – Spartacus was a gladiator who fought against his owners (gladiators were slaves). – He defeated several armies before Crassus (of the first triumvirate) defeated Spartacus’ slave army – The slave army was crucified and their bodies spaced every 100 feet on the Appian Way, the road from Rome to the South
  • 12. Daily Life in Rome Rome was largest city in the empire, with over 1,000,000 inhabitants. Rome was overcrowded and congested. Cart traffic was banned during the day to avoid further congestion. Rome was not safe at night; Augustus organized a police force but it did little to deter crime. Like any other large city, Rome had problems with sewage, graffiti (yes, the Romans had graffiti!) and crime.
  • 13. Rich vs. Poor• The wealthy of Rome lived in large houses that were actually villas – a group of buildings.• The poor lived in apartment buildings called insulae, which reached as many as six stories high. – The buildings were made of concrete and often collapsed, since they were poorly built• Fire was a constant threat in the insulae because of cooking fires, candles, torches, and other open flames.• High rents forced families to live together in one-room insulae.• With no plumbing or central heating, insulae were uncomfortable and unsanitary
  • 14. Public Programs• Roman emperors built temples, marketplaces, baths, theaters and stadiums that were used by the public.• Emperors also provided food for the city poor; about 200,000 people received free grain• Entertainment was provided on a grand scale: public officials believed as long as the poor were fed and entertained, they would not revolt against the upper classes – The phrase “bread and circuses” was used to describe this phenomenon – Stadiums like the Colloseum and the Circus Maximus were used for gladiator shows, horse and chariot races, and
  • 15. Gladiator Shows• Held in Colosseum, free to public• Criminals/slaves fight to the death• Criminals and wild animals were often opponents to professional gladiators• Thousands of animals killed in one day• Kept people’s minds off problems in the empire• Showed power of the government• Bloody, violent and popular
  • 16. ColosseumThe emperorTitus openedthe Coliseumin AD 80 with100 days ofgames in which9,000 animalsdied.
  • 17. The Circus Maximus was used mostly for chariotracing. It could seat 250,000 people! There were othercircuses in ancient Rome.
  • 18. Roman GodsSaturn: one of the oldest gods, who was oncethe ruler, but his place was taken by his son(Jupiter).Jupiter: god of the sky, he was the mostimportant god.Juno: Jupiters wife, who looked after women.Neptune: Jupiters brother, who was the god ofthe sea.Minerva: goddess of wisdom and womenswork, such as weaving cloth.Mars: god of war.Venus: goddess of love, who was the lover ofMars.
  • 19. Roman GodsRomans discovered new gods all the time. Thishappened as they traveled from country tocountry learning about them from the peoplethey conquered. It could make things quitecomplicated. For example, a soldier going on ajourney would need to ask Mercury the god oftravel for help, as well as Mithras the specialsoldiers god and he might also need to make asacrifice at the temple of Neptune if he had totravel by sea!
  • 20. Roman Religion• Roman religion had declined during the late Republic• Augustus brought back traditional festivals and ceremonies to revive the Roman religion.• The official state religion focused on a umber of gods (based on Greek gods)• Romans believed that practicing the proper rituals brought them into a right relationship with the gods• Romans were tolerant of other religions in their conquered provinces• Eastern religions became popular in Rome after Hellenistic Greek territories were conquered
  • 21. Jewish Peoples in the Roman Empire• Jewish people had independence in Hellenistic empire of Alexander the Great• Judea became a Roman province in CE 6 – A roman official called a procurator was in charge of Judea• Not all Jews were supportive of Roman Rule; some cooperated and others did not (mostly divided on tribal lines)• Jews revolted in 66 CE, but were defeated by the Romans and their temple at Jerusalem was destroyed
  • 22. Rise of Christianity• In Roman Empire, it was practiced by more people than any other religion• Views of God, humans and the world very different than Greco-Roman• Originally a sect of Judaism• Believed Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, died so humans could have salvation, eternal life
  • 23. Christianity• Monotheistic (one God)• Do to others as you would have them do to you• Love God, love neighbor• Initially angered both Romans and Jews• Jesus was crucified, believed to have risen• Paul of Tarsus spread to non- Jews
  • 24. Spread of Christianity• Spread using Roman roads• Small minority, initially ignored• Prosecuted on and off starting with Nero (2nd century)• Emperor Constantine 1st Christian emperor (4th century)• 313 Edict of Milan - tolerate Christianity• 378 - 395 becomes official religion of the Roman Empire
  • 25. Triumph of Christianity• Theodosius the Great ruled over Christian Rome (378-395 CE)• Christianity became more organized with bishops having significant power in the church – Clergy (church leaders) had more prominent role – Laity (practicing church members) listened to clergy and followed rules made by clergy• Why was Christianity so popular? – Offered a new message to Romans: personal belief and salvation after death – Familiarity of origin myths and other biblical stories that were related to well-known myths and other religions – Filled need to belong; Christian communities supported each other and individual citizens
  • 26. ChristianityBefore adopting Christianity, Romans alsobelieved that the Emperors became gods, soeveryone had to make a sacrifice to theEmperor. Christians often got into troublebecause they refused to do this, and they hadto worship in secret. Despite this secrecy, morepeople became Christian. By the 4th centuryA.D. Christianity was so popular the EmperorConstantine decided to make it the officialreligion of the Roman Empire.