Rome Ancient

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rome Ancient


(Latin, Roma), a city that had arisen out of a group of settlements in 754/753 B.C., according to legend, and by the middle of the third century B.C. had subordinated the entire Apennine Peninsula. Subsequently Rome became a Mediterranean power, encompassing the western and southwestern parts of Europe, Asia Minor, the North African coast, Syria, and Palestine.

Regal period (754/753–510/509 B.C.). It was long thought, in accordance with ancient legend, that the city of Rome developed from a very old settlement on the Palatine Hill, but, as archaeological investigations have shown, it is more accurate to say that Rome arose through a merger of fortified settlements on several hills. The Roman Forum emerged as the common center of these settlements in the early sixth century B.C. Legendary accounts of the ethnic heterogeneity of Rome’s indigenous population, which included Latins and Sabines, have also been confirmed by archaeological evidence.

Legend names seven kings who ruled Rome in succession between the eighth and sixth centuries B.C.: Romulus, Numa Pom-pilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Martius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus. The last three kings apparently belonged to an Etruscan dynasty, which suggests that there was a period of Etruscan domination. The Roman people (populus Romanus), as those who were fully enfranchised were called, were divided into clans (according to legend, 300), curiae (30, consisting of ten clans each), and tribes (three, comprising ten curiae each). At first only the patricians enjoyed full rights; the rest of the people, excluded from the clan organization, were called plebeians. The inequality between plebeians and patricians, as well as the development of property differentiation among the patricians themselves, gave rise to the form of social relations known as clientship.

Popular assemblies (comitia) were held by curiae (comitia curiata), but only the patricians participated in them. According to legend, Romulus formed a senate consisting of 300 clan elders. Initially the king’s power was similar to the authority of a tribal chief in that it was limited by the Senate and the comitia, which elected the king. During the period of Etruscan domination royal power was strengthened considerably. The Etruscan kings chose the members of the Senate from among a small group of patrician clans, thereby making the Senate a closed body of the Roman aristocracy.

Agriculture was the economic foundation of the early Roman community. The patricians gradually became the dominant class-estate, owning large tracts of land and slaves and having clients. At this time the plebeians were small and middle-scale landowners, as well as artisans. Legend credits King Servius Tullius (mid-sixth century B.C.) with the reform of the social structure that made plebeians part of the populus Romanus. However, this was essentially a revolution directly against the vestiges of the clan structure (F. Engels, Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21, p. 128); the revolution cannot be ascribed to one person, and it transcends the chronological bounds of the regal period.

The hypercritical trend in classical historiography, represented by the Italian historian E. Pais, almost entirely denied the authenticity of early Roman history, but modern archaeological discoveries have in a number of instances confirmed the data of the Roman historical tradition.

Republic (from 510/509 B.C. to 30/27 B.C.). A republican form of government was established in Rome after the expulsion of King Tarquinius Superbus in 510/509. The prerogatives of royal power were divided between two officials, elected annually, who were first called praetors and later consuls. The internal history of the early Roman republic was above all the history of the struggle between plebeians and patricians. It was essentially a struggle between “small-scale and large-scale landownership” (K. Marx, Pis’mo k Engel’su ot 8 marta 1855, ibid., vol. 28, p. 368). A reserve of undivided land, called ager publicus (public land), had existed in Rome from the time of the kings, increasing by the addition of conquered territory. The patricians, who were as a rule military leaders, sought to multiply their personal holdings at the expense of the public land. The plebeians, who had no political rights, were denied access to the land and therefore their struggle for land was interwoven with demands for political rights. After a long struggle the plebeians achieved a number of major victories: the institution of the office of tribune in 494 to defend the interests of the plebeians, access to the office of consul in 367, and the abolition of debt slavery in 326.

Rome’s foreign policy was marked by almost uninterrupted wars. After conquering their nearest neighbors, notably the Volscians and the Aequi, the Romans in the fifth century became masters of the right bank of the Tiber River. At the beginning of the fourth century Rome suffered a brief but devastating invasion by the Gauls (390). Its subsequent wars against the cities of the Latin League (340–338) and the Samnites (343–290) culminated in the conquest of all of central Italy. In 265, after its victory over Pyrrhus, Rome also subjugated southern Italy, known as Magna Graecia.

After the granting of equal rights to the plebeians, a merger took place between the old patrician clans and the plebeian elite, resulting in the formation of a new aristocracy, called the nobilitas. Gradually the members of the nobilitas gained control of the Senate and higher state offices. Rome’s political structure acquired the characteristic traits of an aristocratic republic. The leading role in governing the state actually belonged to the Senate, which was responsible for state property and finances, foreign policy, military affairs, religion, and internal security. All state posts, called magistracies, were collegial, short-term, and unpaid. Formally, the highest body of power was the popular assembly, which elected the officials and either adopted or rejected proposed legislation.

In governing subjugated Italy, Rome followed the well-known principle of “divide and rule.” The status of Italian cities and communities varied. Colonies with either Roman or Latin rights were established on the territories of conquered communities.

After the subjugation of Italy, Roman expansion continued beyond the Apennine Peninsula. At this point the Romans were forced to confront Carthage, one of the most powerful states in the western Mediterranean. The wars between Rome and Carthage, known as the Punic Wars, lasted (with interruptions) for more than 100 years. As a result of the First Punic War (264–241) Rome acquired its first overseas possessions—Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia—which became Roman provinces. During the Second Punic War (218–201) the renowned Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy and, after gaining several victories over the Romans, notably at Cannae in 216, ravaged Roman territory for more than 15 years. In the end, however, the Carthaginians lost the war. Under the command of Scipio Africanus the Elder the Romans defeated Hannibal at the battle of Zama in 202. Carthage ceded Spain to Rome.

At the end of the third century B.C., Roman expansion turned eastward. As a result of the three Macedonian Wars (215–205, 200–197, 171–168) the Romans by 168 extended their control over the Balkan Peninsula, and the Syrian War (192–188) against Antiochus III opened the way for Roman influence in Asia Minor. The Third Punic War was essentially a siege of Carthage, which was taken by Scipio Africanus the Younger. The Senate ordered Carthage burned and completely destroyed. Victorious in these wars, Rome became the leading Mediterranean power.

During the wars of conquest a large number of slaves were brought to Italy. The island of Delos was the center of a flourishing slave trade, which was often linked with piracy. The number of slaves also increased through natural reproduction. All these factors in combination with debt slavery, which still persisted in the provinces, made slave labor the most important element in production by the end of the third century B.C. Rome was rapidly becoming a slaveholding state. The concentration of land, the rise of large estates (latifundia), and in particular the spread of villas using slave labor, inevitably caused the disappearance of small peasant farms. Deprived of their land and impoverished, the peasants frequently became tenant farmers or day laborers, but most of them moved to the cities in search of work.

The transformation of Rome into a great power facilitated the extensive development of commodity-money relations and foreign trade. Wine, olive oil, metal products, and pottery were exported from Italy. Rome imported farm produce from the provinces and luxury goods from Oriental countries. The Roman conquests contributed to the flow of monetary capital into the country in the form of indemnity and war booty. All this led to the growth of moneylending, carried on not only by individuals but also by whole companies of tax farmers (publicani) or offices of money changers (argentarii).

Roman society during this period consisted of a variety of hostile classes and estates. Finally, two basic antagonistic classes evolved—slaves and slaveholders. The contradictions between them became so acute that armed uprisings of slaves broke out. A further differentiation occurred in the ruling class. Alongside the highest stratum—the senators, who belonged to the nobilitas—there appeared a commercial and money-lending aristocracy, the equites. The municipal aristocracy (privileged groups in the Italian communities) became more influential, and the plebeians took a more active part in political life.

The crisis in the polis (city-state) organization was probably the most important phenomenon in Rome’s socioeconomic and political life during the second century B.C. The old republican institutions, which had served the needs of the modest-sized Roman polis, proved to be ineffective under the new conditions. This unsuitability manifested itself with particular clarity, for example, in the problem of governing the provinces, which were placed under the complete control of viceregents (proconsuls or propraetors) appointed by the Senate. Especially ruinous for the inhabitants of the provinces was the activity of the publicani, who bought the right to collect taxes. After having given a designated sum to the Roman treasury, the publicani extorted much larger amounts from the native population.

The last century of the Roman’s republic’s existence was filled with dramatic political events. The first Sicilian slave uprising broke out in 138 or 136 B.C. The insurgents attempted to establish their own state, but the rebellion was put down by large armed forces in 132. A second Sicilian slave uprising lasted from 104 to 99. These movements were echoed in the eastern Mediterranean, in Pergamum and on the islands of Delos and Chios. In Rome itself, a broad-based revolutionary movement developed among the rural plebeians, precipitating the first clashes of a civil war in the city’s streets. Between about 135 and 120 the movement was headed by the Gracchi brothers, who sought to create a free peasantry through democratic reforms. Gaius Gracchus also proposed that Roman citizenship be granted to the Italians. During the intense struggle that unfolded two basic ideological and political currents evolved: the optimates and the populares.

At the time of Rome’s war against the Numidian king Jugur-tha (111–105 B.C.), the disintegration of the ruling senatorial elite became clearly apparent, as well as its inability to govern and its corruption. By a resolution of the comitia, command of the troops was given to G. Marius, who brought the war to a victorious conclusion. Marius also promulgated a military reform: the army began to accept the poorest citizens (proletarii), and certain technical innovations were introduced. The reorganized army successfully repulsed invasions by Teutonic (102) and Cimbrian (101) tribes that threatened to destroy Rome. In 91 the tribune M. L. Drusus revived G. Gracchus’ proposal to grant citizenship to the Italians. The defeat of the legislative bill in the Senate and the assassination of Drusus set off the War of the Allies (Social War) (90–88), a general Italian uprising against Rome. Although they gained a number of military victories over the Italians, the Romans nevertheless were obliged to accord them civil rights, thereby including the entire population of the Apennine Peninsula within the Roman civil community.

In 89 a war broke out between Rome and Mithridates VI, king of Pontus, who threatened Roman supremacy in the East. The Senate entrusted the conduct of the war to Sulla, but the popular assembly nominated Marius. The ensuing struggle prompted Sulla to turn the army that he was preparing for the campaign in the East against Rome itself, and in 88 the city was captured for the first time in its history, by Roman troops. After Sulla and his army left for the East, however, power in Rome passed into the hands of Marius’ supporters during the consulate of Cinna (87). Upon Sulla’s return to Italy the struggle between his supporters and the Marians flared into an open civil war. After again taking Rome by force, Sulla established in 82 a harsh terroristic regime and a system of proscriptions. Sulla’s dictatorship (82–79) was the last attempt to preserve the political structure of the senatorial republic, although support for the republic now came not so much from the nobilitas as from the Roman army veterans, who were given liberal land grants by Sulla (as Marius had done previously).

In 74 or 73 the largest slave uprising in ancient history broke out. Led by Spartacus, the rebellion bore witness to the acute antagonisms in Roman society. Because the insurgent slaves did not seek to abolish slavery as an institution and lacked a clear-cut program, their self-sacrificing struggle ended in defeat in71.

Various events from the end of the second to the middle of the first centuries B.C. attested to the deepening crisis in the Roman republic. The revolutionary movement of the Roman and later the Italian plebeians was directed against Rome the polis, against the senatorial oligarchy and the privileges of a closed community. From the moment that civil rights were extended to the entire Italian population, one of Rome’s fundamental institutiońs—the popular assembly (comitia)—gradually became a legal fiction. The militia, a typical feature of the polis organization, was replaced after the Marian reforms by a standing professional army. The ruling class underwent a transformation. The old Roman aristocracy, the senatorial oligarchy, which was closely linked with the obsolete polis traditions, lost its former authority, power, and status. Such new social groups as the equites, the municipal aristocracy, and later the provincial aristocracy increasingly claimed a position of leadership in the state.

The army and its leaders began to play a decisive role in Rome’s sociopolitical life during the first century B.C. The decade from 70 to 60 saw the rise to power of G. Pompey, who helped suppress the Spartacus Uprising and distinguished himself in the struggle against the Mediterranean pirates. Pompey’s greatest military successes were his destruction of Mithridates VI (64) and his campaigns in Transcaucasia and Syria. In 60 the three leading military and political figures—Crassus, Pompey, and Caesar—formed an antisenatorial alliance that soon became the de facto government, known as the First Triumvirate. After serving as consul in 59, Caesar obtained the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyria for five years, along with the right to raise an army. Somewhat later he was appointed governor of Transalpine Gaul, which still remained to be subjugated.

In the course of campaigns from 58 to 51, Caesar conquered Gaul. The conquest brought the Romans enormous booty and hundreds of thousands of prisoners, and it opened up a wide field of activity for Roman traders and publicani. Caesar’s victories in Gaul increased his popularity, and the senatorial circles feared that he would seize supreme power. Pompey allied himself with the Senate, and, after obtaining special powers, he enacted a number of laws that were in fact directed against Caesar. The latter was faced with a dilemma: whether to disband his army and appear in Rome as a private citizen or to cross the Italian border with his army and thereby begin a civil war. After long hesitation, Caesar crossed the border at the Rubicon River on Jan. 10, 49 B. C.

During the civil war Caesar won a number of decisive victories: over Pompey (Pharsalus, 48) and over an army of Pompey’s followers in Africa (Thapsus, 46) and in Spain (Munda, 45). In 45 B.C. he became the supreme ruler of the Roman state. The Senate voted him extraordinary honors and powers—dictatorship for life, the power of a tribune, and the titles imperator and pater patriae. Caesar’s monarchical tendencies disturbed those who wanted to preserve the republic, and as a result of a conspiracy he was assassinated on Mar. 15, 44 B. C.

After Caesar’s death the civil war entered a new phase. Brutus and Cassius, the leaders of the conspiracy, defended the interests of the senatorial republic. Caesar’s followers were at first led by M. Antony and later by Caesar’s grandnephew and heir, Octavian. In 43 the Second Triumvirate was formed. It was an alliance between the three leaders of Caesar’s faction—Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus—whose authority was sanctioned by the comitia. The triumvirs rid themselves of their opponents through proscriptions and then moved against Brutus and Cassius, who had concentrated their forces in Macedonia. In the battle of Philippi (42) the republican army was defeated, and its leaders, Brutus and Cassius, committed suicide.

The civil war did not end, however. Disturbances continued in Italy, and military operations were begun against Sextus Pompey, who had established himself in Sicily. Relations between Antony and Octavian deteriorated sharply, and the war that broke out between them ended in Octavian’s victory at Ac-tium in 31 B.C. The next year Egypt was captured and made a Roman province. Antony, who was living there, committed suicide, and Octavian became the sole ruler. The year 30 B.C. is often regarded as marking the inception of the empire. Sometimes the date is shifted to 27 B.C., the year that the Senate confirmed Octavian’s supreme power and conferred upon him the honorific title of Augustus.

Empire. THE PRINCIPATE (30/27 B. C. TO A. D. 193). The state system that was introduced under Augustus came to be known as the principate. Although Augustus had proclaimed the restoration of the republic in 27 B.C., the principate was in fact a monarchy. While the old republican magistracies were retained, power was concentrated in the hands of one man, the princeps of the Senate, who wielded the highest authority and exercised supreme military power, or imperium. Thus imperator was added to the princeps’ titles, which included the names Caesar and Augustus.

The emperors possessed the power of a tribune for life. They held the title of high priest (pontifex maximus) and could also adopt the titles consul, proconsul, or censor. They conducted the empire’s foreign policy, issued laws, and exercised personal supervision over provinces in which legions were stationed, the treasury (fiscus), the minting of gold and silver coins, and the appointment of military commanders and members of the bureaucracy, which was becoming increasingly complex.

The Senate, officially the supreme governing body, had honorary rather than genuine rights. It administered, under the emperor’s supervision, the provinces that did not have troops, controlled the minting of copper coins, ratified certain laws, and confirmed new emperors, who were either appointed by their predecessors (who adopted them) or who emerged as the victors in civil strife among the contenders for the throne. The three dynasties that ruled successively during the principate were the Julio-Claudian emperors (27 B.C. to A.D. 68), descendants of Augustus; the Flavian emperors (69–96); and the An-tonines (96–192), the end of whose reign saw the onset of the “crisis of the third century.”

During the principate the state’s transformation from an organ of the Roman aristocracy into an organ of the entire class of slaveholders was completed. The process was accompanied by sharp conflicts between the emperors and the senatorial aristocracy, who did not wish to renounce their privileged status. The emperors retaliated against the senators’ opposition and conspiracies with repressions. The conflict reached its culmination during the reign of Nero, when it was complicated by a crisis in the Roman provincial administration, as evidenced by uprisings in Britain in A.D. 61, in Judea in 66–73, and in Gaul in 68.

After Nero’s death in 68, a civil war broke out among the contenders for the throne—Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. The proclamation of Vespasian as emperor in 69 was a victory for the Italian and, to some extent, the provincial slave-holders, who began to fill the Senate and the bureaucracy. The provincials gained still greater access to the Senate under the Antonines, most of whom were born in the provinces. Under the Antonine dynasty the conflicts within the ruling class, which had become acute under Domitian, the last of the Flavians, eased temporarily. Uprisings in the provinces, led during the first century A.D. by renegades from the indigenous aristocracy, ceased at this time. The merger of the ruling class of Italy with that of the provinces was accelerated by the large-scale granting of Roman citizenship. In 212, during the reign of Cara-calla, Roman citizenship was conferred on almost all the free-born inhabitants of the empire.

In the second century the empire reached its greatest territorial extent. During the first century Rome had annexed Cappa-docia (17), Mauretania (between 40 and 45), Britain (43), and Thrace (46). In the second century, as a result of Trajan’s victorious wars against the Dacians and the Parthian Kingdom, Da-cia (106), Arabia (106), Armenia (114), Mesopotamia (115), and Assyria (115) were added to the empire. Popular uprisings subsequently compelled Trajan’s successor Hadrian (117–138) to abandon the last three regions.

With the founding of numerous new colonies and municipalities, the economy of the provinces developed through the spread of slaveholding relations, chiefly in the villas, which were closely bound to the market. The villas also offered optimum conditions for using slave labor: simple cooperation and the possibility of increasing the slaves’ skills, using better instruments of production, and effectively organizing farms in accordance with the requirements of agricultural techniques. These advantages made the villa more profitable than the small peasant farm or the slaveholding latifundia, where the difficulties of organizing and supervising large masses of slaves necessitated increasingly large expenditures on the management of estates.

The owners of villas were townsmen who had acquired their estates as a result of the fragmentation of the domains of the indigenous aristocracy and by expropriating peasant communes. The proliferation of villas, along with improved sea and land transportation, the cessation of major wars, and imperial supervision over governors and their staffs, facilitated the development of specialized agriculture, handicrafts, and trade, as well as the spread of the Roman way of life and culture. However, alongside the more romanized and urbanized areas there were regions less affected by Roman influence, where rural communes and large estates belonging to the indigenous aristocracy, worked by dependent farmers, predominated. Conditions were particularly complex in the Eastern provinces. Here pre-Roman and even pre-Hellenistic relations coexisted with fully developed slaveholding relations.

The various parts of the empire experienced economic upturns and declines at different times. The Italian economy entered a period of crisis at the end of the first century A.D., when specialized agriculture and handicrafts declined and provincial goods began to squeeze out Italian commodities. A high level of prosperity was attained by the provinces in Spain, Gaul, Asia, and Syria in the second century and by Africa and the Danu-bian provinces in the early third century. During the first and second centuries Rome carried on a flourishing trade, both maritime and caravan, with the peoples of Arabia, India, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia. A sporadic trade existed between Rome and China, Africa (as far as the Sudan), and the northeastern tribes (as far as the Baltic). Among the most important trade centers were the cities of Ostia, Aquileia, Arelate, Alexandria, Antioch, and Palmyra. An important role in the economy was played by the holdings of the emperors, who owned enormous tracts of land, workshops, mines, and quarries.

Roman society had a complex structure. Class divisions were interwoven with estate divisions, and the entire population was further divided into Roman citizens and peregrini, provincials who had neither Roman nor Latin citizenship. Senators and equites belonged to the highest estate. The former were owners of estates worth at least 1 million sesterces, carved out of municipal land. They were either descendants of the old aristocracy or Italians and provincials who had been advanced by the emperors. In the third century, as many as 60 percent of the senators had been born in the provinces. During the first and second centuries the highest Roman magistrates, the military leaders, and the governors of most provinces were appointed from among the senators. The equites were urban landowners, officials, or military commanders who possessed at least 400,000 sesterces. Judges, treasury officials, and praetorian prefects were appointed from among the equites. A broad social group on which imperial power rested was the decurions, members of the upper stratum of urban landowners, who occupied city magistracies and sat on municipal councils. From the end of the second century these three estates were considered privileged and “well-born” in contrast to the urban and rural plebeians, the “common people.”

The urban plebeians consisted of tradesmen, artisans, and hired workers. After the establishment of the empire this group lost its political importance: state magistrates were elected by senators and equites, and the plebeians’ collegia (guilds), assemblies, and religious life were brought under strict supervision. The plebeians’ loss of a political role was offset by liberal food distributions. In Rome between 100,000 and 150,000 poor people received free bread, as well as meat and oil, from the state; in other cities the decurions supplied the food. On holidays other gifts were distributed and costly entertainments were provided. Trajan established an alimentary fund for the poor. The rural plebeians included small landowners and tenant farmers on private urban and state land, who were called coloni. This group bore the brunt of the taxes and obligations.

Yet another major category consisted of those who were not born freemen: freedmen (libertini) and slaves. Some freedmen, especially those serving in the imperial household, attained high status and riches. The middle strata among the freedmen engaged in handicrafts and trade, and the poorest ones hired themselves out as laborers. Slaves who possessed peculium (property) became the owners of means of production and other slaves. But the majority of slaves, lacking the means of production, remained the principal exploited class in both agriculture and handicrafts. The class struggle, in the form of passive resistance, flight, the killing of masters, and robbery, did not cease. Christianity spread among the slaves, indigent freemen, and those without full civil rights, particularly the provincials.

From the time of Augustus governmental edicts were issued to regulate the relations between slaves and slaveholders. The Senatusconsultum Silanianum, issued in A.D. 10, prescribed the death penalty for all the slaves of a murdered master who were near him at the time of the murder. Stronger measures were taken to track down fugitives. Nevertheless, fearing to enrage the slaves and freedmen, the emperors promulgated a series of laws, especially during the second century, restricting the arbitrary actions of masters and patrons. Masters were prohibited from murdering slaves, keeping them permanently in irons or forcing them to become gladiators. Excessively cruel masters were compelled to sell their slaves. The rights of slaves to peculia were strengthened, and patrons were forbidden to overburden freedmen with obligations.

The bulwark of the government was the army, stationed for the most part along the frontiers. The army grew steadily until by the third century it numbered some half a million men, divided into 30 legions of free-born Roman citizens and a large number of peregrine auxiliary infantry and cavalry units. After 20 years of service legionaries received land allotments; the peregrini received land and Roman citizenship after 25 years. Veterans were exempted from taxation and given the status of decurions so that they might carry out Roman policy in cities and villages. The praetorian guards in Rome and, from the middle of the first century, the legionaries played a large role in the selection of emperors, who were usually chosen from among popular military commanders.

Under the principate Rome’s foreign policy was shaped by its wars with the Parthians (in 54–66, 114–117, and 163–165), in which neither side gained a lasting victory, and by its relations with the tribes on the northern and northeastern frontiers, along the Rhine and Danube. With the gradual strengthening of tribal alliances the Romans were compelled under Hadrian (117–138) to shift from a policy of aggression to one of defense, establishing a line of frontier fortresses, called the limes Romanus. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the Danubian tribes began an offensive against the empire (Marcomannic War, 166–180) that was checked only by an intense effort and at the price of major concessions.

THE CRISIS OF THE THIRD CENTURY (193–284). The prosperity that had been attained under the Antonines proved to be of short duration. The reigns of Commodus (180–192) and the Seven (193–235) witnessed the beginnings of peasant disturbances, soldiers’ revolts, seizures of provinces by governors, incursions by neighboring tribes, inflation, and a decline in agriculture, handicrafts, and trade. Relations between the emperors and the Senate steadily worsened. In the middle of the third century, under Gallienus, Gaul, Spain, and Britain broke away in 258 to form the Gallic Empire (258–273), and Palmyra seceded in 268. (The territories were reconquered in 272–273.) In 260 the Romans suffered a serious defeat in a war against Persia. German, Sarmatian, and Arab tribes devastated the border provinces.

The empire’s decline in the third century was caused by a crisis in the slaveholding mode of production. The development of commodity-money relations and the growth of monetary taxes and obligations created an excessive burden for villa owners. Attempts to increase the labor productivity of slaves failed. A well-run farm required skilled workers with some initiative. But the slaves did not want to expend a maximum effort, and the masters feared skilled, capable slaves. The profitablility of the villas declined, and urban landowners and the cities themselves became impoverished. Land passed into the hands of large property owners, whose estates were worked by increasingly enserfed coloni, obliged to pay rents in kind and render labor services. The rural commune and latifundia became the basis of economic life, and a natural economy began to prevail. Ties between the various parts of the empire were weakened. Whereas the provincial landed aristocracy strove for independence, the decurions and the army tried to preserve the old foundations of the empire by strengthening the emperor’s power. The result was a series of revolts and civil wars and a rapid succession of emperors.

Septimius Severus, who became emperor as a result of a civil war that broke out in 193 after the assassination of Commodus, strengthened the army and bureaucracy. He persecuted the aristocracy, confiscating their land and apportioning it among soldiers and veterans. After removing senators from high offices, he gave military men the opportunity to rise through government service. The aristocracy responded to the antisenatorial policy of Septimius Severus and a number of his successors by staging revolts in the provinces, assassinating various emperors, and putting forward their own candidates. It was not until the second half of the third century that the “Illyrian” emperors (so called because they came from the Danubian Illyrian regions) succeeded, through military reforms, in checking hostile actions of the neighboring peoples and returning to Roman rule the provinces that had seceded, with the exception of Dacia, which gained its independence between 271 and 275.

THE DOMINATE (284–476). A reconciliation among the various groups of the ruling class was achieved during the reigns of Diocletian (284–305) and Constantine I (306–337). Frightened by mass popular uprisings such as those of the Bagaudae and Cir-cumcellions, the aristocracy temporarily recognized the need for a strong central authority, with the aid of which the popular uprisings were harshly suppressed and fugitive slaves and coloni were returned to their owners. Between 316 and 332, Constantine issued edicts binding to the land both indigenous coloni and prisoners of war who had been settled in certain areas as coloni. These measures, as well as reforms aimed at strengthening the currency, helped bolster the position of the magnates and temporarily restored the economy.

During the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine I the emperor’s power was finally recognized as absolute and divine. The emperor was regarded as a lord and master, or dominus, from which the word “dominate” is derived. The idea of the sacred-ness of his power obtained the powerful sanction of the church after Christianity was declared the state religion. The Senate ceased to play a role in political life, and the senators became an estate of large landowners, usually living on their own domains. The state was governed by an imperial council—the consis-torium—and a complex, expensive military-bureaucratic apparatus whose members were divided into ranks with corresponding titles and received remuneration both in money and in kind.

Taking into consideration the centrifugal tendencies that had been revealed during the crisis of the third century, Diocletian in 293 divided the empire into four parts (tetrarchia), ruled by two Augusti and two Caesars. After a long civil war Constantine I united the empire under his own rule in 324, but he retained its division into four parts, called prefectures, comprising 12 dioceses. After Constantine I, two emperors customarily ruled the empire, one in the west and the other in the east. The empire was finally divided into two parts under the sons of Theodosius I in 395.

During the dominate, to prevent usurpations, the civilian and military functions of the governors were delegated to separate officials. As mobile units, the legions were separated from the border militia, which was recruited from military colonists and allies (foederati) among the neighboring tribes.

Taking into account the tendency toward a natural economy, Diocletian instituted a system of taxation based on payments in kind and labor services. Landowners were made responsible for the payment of taxes by coloni, and the curiales, or members of municipal councils (curia), whose office was made hereditary, were charged with collecting taxes from the townspeople. Persons engaged in trade and handicrafts, also bound to hereditary vocational guilds (collegia), were obligated to contribute monetary taxes and goods to the court and the army. All this speeded up the impoverishment of the cities and the urban strata despite the attempts of such emperors as Julian the Apostate (361–363) to check this process.

In the eastern part of the empire, where slavery played a lesser role, the crisis was not as acute as in the west. Constantine I, therefore, transferred the capital in 330 to the strategically important city of Byzantium (Constantinople). The western emperors subsequently abandoned Rome, which was associated with the old traditions, and lived in Ravenna or Mediola-num (Milan).

The stability that had been achieved in the early fourth century did not endure. Having consolidated their position and created their own local institutions of coercive power, sometimes including armed forces, the magnates extended their holdings and took under their protection (patrocinium) those peasants who were fleeing from arbitrary treatment by the authorities. The intensified conflicts between the government and the magnates took the form of uprisings by provincial usurpers, some of whom entered into alliances with barbarian kings. The enserfed and impoverished coloni and peasants rebelled in Nu-midia, Gaul, Thrace, Asia Minor, and elsewhere. They also supported the barbarians in the wars against Rome that again broke out during the fourth century. There were frequent rebellions by urban plebeians.

The general dissatisfaction was reflected in the army’s combat readiness. Under Constantine I’s successors major defeats were inflicted on the Romans by the Persians, Germans, and Sarmatians. Gradually the soldiers who had been recruited from the coloni, the peasants, and the sons of veterans were replaced by mercenaries from the German and Sarmatian tribes that had been settled in the empire. From the mid-fourth century the commanders of the mercenaries rose to prominent positions in the state, frequently clashing with the Roman courtiers. The rank-and-file barbarian soldiers were unreliable fighters.

The Visigoths, who had been settled along the Danube, after beginning a revolt in league with the coloni and other strata of the dependent peasantry and mine workers, inflicted a crushing defeat on the army of the emperor Valens at the battle of Adri-anople in 378. Uprisings of indigenous peoples and barbarian invasions steadily increased. On Aug. 24, 410, Alaric I, king of the Visigoths, captured and plundered Rome, whose gates had been opened by slaves. Although these Goths subsequently departed, the pressure from the barbarians did not cease, and Britain, Spain, Africa, and one part of Gaul after another gradually fell under their sway.

The emperors became puppets in the hands of the leaders of German retinues, who set up and deposed them. In 476, Odoa-cer, the leader of the Sciri tribe, deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire. This year is conventionally accepted as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire continued to exist for about another 1,000 years.


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Varro, Appian, Cato, Polybius, Cicero, Sallust, Caesar, Titus Livius (Livy), Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Tacitus, Suetonius, Plutarch, Pliny the Younger, Apuleius, Dio Cassius, Herodian, Ammianus Marcellinus, Eutropius, Orosius, and Zosimus.


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In earliest times Roman education was centered on the family. The rising generation was taught to respect the ancestral beliefs and customs and to submit unquestioningly to paternal authority (patria potestas). Among the Romans a good citizen was an obedient son and a disciplined warrior. The old laws prescribed harsh punishment for disobeying parents, and the state religion reinforced the law by deifying such civic and military virtues as discipline, harmony, and honor. The chronicles kept by priests furnished examples of ideal conduct and condemned those who violated the norms.

According to the historian Livy, the first Roman primary schools, called ludi, were founded in the fifth century B.C. For the most part, only children of free-born persons had access to the schools, which were coeducational. Children were enrolled at the age of seven and studied for four or five years. At home or in school, instruction was given in Latin, Greek, writing, reading, and arithmetic.

The crisis of the polis system and Rome’s transformation from a city-state into a great Mediterranean power affected all aspects of Roman life, including the traditional system of education. The bureaucracy that had evolved required educated persons. At first this need was met by employing domestic teachers and tutors—highly educated Greeks—to instruct youths from aristocratic and well-to-do families. The Greek historian Polybius, who was brought to Rome as a hostage, was a tutor in the home of the Scipio family. Greek libraries were carried off to Rome along with art objects; the Greek library that Lucullus transported to Rome in the first century B.C. was the first library opened to the public.

Gradually a new system of education evolved. As early as 160 B.C. higher schools, called grammar schools and rhetorical schools, existed in Rome. In view of their high tuition fees they were accessible only to the children of aristocratic and well-to-do Romans. By about 50 B.C., Rome had some 20 grammar schools, and many such schools had been founded in Italy and the provinces. These schools provided boys between the ages of 11 and 15 with a broad education in the humanities and training in political and legal oratory. The grammarians supervised their pupils’ literary education, teaching them to read and analyze Greek and Roman authors. In the first century A.D., grammar schools for girls were established.

By the first century A.D., the grammar schools began to place less emphasis on eloquence, which was now being taught in the rhetorical schools, a kind of higher educational institution. The rhetorical schools offered training in the art of oratory to youths between the ages of 13 and 19. Greek was the language of instruction in the first schools of this type, and only those who had mastered Greek could attend these schools. A Latin rhetorical school had been founded at the beginning of the first century B.C. Because it enabled a relatively large number of persons to embark on political careers, the school was attacked by the senatorial oligarchy, and an edict issued in 92 B.C. banned Latin rhetorical schools. Under Caesar these schools were reopened, and later they became widespread.

In the rhetorical schools students wrote compositions on assigned topics, practiced pleading in mock court cases, and received training in oratory. The schools also provided some knowledge of law, philosophy, history, and poetry. The concept of rhetorical education was systematically developed in the treatises of Cicero. Quintilian, a theoretician of the art of rhetoric, drew up a detailed program of instruction for rhetorical schools.

As the bureaucratic machinery became more complex, the need for specially trained jurists and legal scholars grew. In the second century A. D., there appeared groups of legal scholars who were engaged solely in teaching those wishing to specialize in a particular field of law. These teachers of law coordinated their lectures and gradually formed more or less permanent groups, called chairs (cathedra) of law. Likewise, chairs of rhetoric and philosophy were established and later those of medicine and architecture. It was during this period that several higher schools were founded, notably Rome’s Athenaeum (modeled on the higher school in Athens), the higher law school in Beirut, and the higher school in Constantinople. Under the patronage of the second-century emperor Marcus Aurelius, the “philosopher on the throne,” the higher school in Athens developed, attracting students from various parts of the empire. The students organized themselves into chori (associations of fellow countrymen), each of which attached itself to a particular teacher (professor). Rivalry between the associations and material hardships led to student disorders, in which the urban lower classes took part. Many higher schools were also founded in the western provinces of the Roman Empire, where they became centers of learning and romanization.

During the republican period instruction was private, and the state did not interfere in education. In imperial Rome, however, the state placed education under its supervision, and teachers became salaried state employees. The second-century emperor Antoninus Pius designated the number of rhetoricians and grammarians each city was to have, depending on the number of inhabitants, and he granted teachers a number of privileges. Both in Italy and the provinces schools were supported by municipal funds. Beginning in 362, under Julian the Apostate, all appointments to teaching posts were to be confirmed by the emperor. By an edict issued in 370 students were also placed under the supervision of the imperial authority.


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Originally the culture of the Roman city-state, ancient Roman culture underwent a complex development. As Rome was transformed into a great Mediterranean power, absorbing such traditional Greek centers of learning and culture as Athens, Alexandria, and Pergamum, its culture spread and changed under the influence of Etruscan, Greek, and Hellenistic culture.

Religion and mythology. The old religion of the Romans was largely based on the idea that internal forces existed in objects and persons, as well as on a belief in spirits who were the protectors of places, actions, and conditions. The spirits were usually thought of as a multiplicity, although individual deities were also identified. They included the genii and the penates; Vesta, the protectress of the hearth and eternal light of the city, who was served by the vestal virgins; the lares, protectors of the farmstead and its free and nonfree inhabitants; the spirits of the dead, both beneficent manes and the evil lemures; and deities of the mountains, springs, forests, and individual trees, for example, the sacred fig tree that grew on the site of the popular assembly. There were also deities who had power over all the phases of growth and maturation in both plants (primarily cereals) and people, for example, a baby’s first cry and first step.

Initially these spirits and deities were nonanthropomorphic and impersonal, but under the influence of Etruscan and Greek religion they acquired a human form. Their sex was indeterminate, and they were often called by both masculine and feminine names, for example, Janus and Jana, the deities of gates, doors, and any kind of beginning; the forest deities Faunus and Fauna; and the shepherds’ deity Pales. Certain deities, such as the Good Goddess, had descriptive names.

Some festivals were celebrated by individual families; others were observed by a segment of the population or all the people. Families made sacrifices and held ceremonies in honor of their particular deities, their lares, and their termini, the protectors of their boundaries (the festival of the Terminalia). The spirits of deceased relatives were honored during the Parentalia. Among the festivals that were celebrated by part of the population were the Fordicidia, a sacrificial offering of cows to increase the land’s fertility, made by the curiae; the Compitalia, held on the boundaries of neighboring farmsteads by the inhabitants in honor of the lares; and the Paganalia, observed by rural pagus communities. Festivals celebrated by all the Romans included the Amburbium and Ambarvalia, a purification (lustration) of the boundaries of the city and its fields; the Augurium, held for the purpose of increasing the land’s fertility; the Robigalia, intended to protect the cereal crops from diseases; and the Luper-calia, celebrated to protect the herds from wolves. Such festivals as the Palilia, in honor of Pales, were both private and state occasions.

This primitive religion was soon influenced by the beliefs of the neighboring Italian tribes, especially those of the Etruscans, from whom the Romans borrowed the god Saturn, possibly the forest god Silvanus, and the “heavenly patrician triad,” comprising Jupiter, initially the god of weather and later the supreme deity of the Roman state, Juno, and Minerva. The patrician gods are also known as the Capitoline Triad because their temple was built on the Capitoline Hill. In contrast, the plebeian triad consisted of Ceres (the goddess of grain), Liberus (the god of wine), and Libera. A temple built in honor of the trinity in 493 B.C. became a gathering place of the plebeians. After the plebeians won equal rights, their gods became state gods.

The Romans borrowed divination from the Etruscans. Priests called augurs and haruspices made predictions on the basis of the flight of birds, lightning, and the entrails of sacrificed animals. The custom of erecting temples was also taken from the Etruscans. The Romans had originally worshipped their gods in groves, on hills, and in open places, where they set up altars. Some scholars have hypothesized that the Romans took from the Etruscans but never developed a body of myths related to an epic about the struggle between Etruscan and Roman heroes. It was through Etruria that Rome received the legend of the wandering Trojan hero Aeneas, the ancestor of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Subsequently, Roman mythology developed mainly from the legends about Aeneas, Romulus, and the kings who came after Romulus. The Romans also worshipped the deities common to all Italians, including Mars, Diana, Fortuna, Venus, and Feronia, the goddess of the soil, in whose temple slaves were customarily freed.

The oldest of the Roman priestly collegia were the Luperci, the Salii, the Arval Brethren, the Fetials (who dealt with questions of war and peace), and the Flamens (priests) of Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus, and other gods. During the royal period the king was also the high priest. Later, religious worship was supervised by a collegium of pontifices, headed by the pontifex maximus. Certain gods were especially revered by the members of a particular estate or occupation. The equites worshipped Neptune, Castor, and Pollux; artisans, Minerva; and traders, Mercury, whose temple was built in 495 B.C. Slaves paid special homage to Diana, Fortuna, the lares, at whose altar they sought protection from the wrath of their masters, and Feronia.

As contacts between Rome and the Greek world expanded, Greek gods were introduced into the state pantheon, notably Aesculapius, the god of healing, Apollo, and Hercules, whose popularity soon spread. The Roman deities were identified with and visually depicted as Greek gods, and the legends of Greek mythology were adapted to them. Greek cult forms spread to Rome: the ceremonial offering of sacrifices, processions held during festivals, and public games. Also under Greek influence, the cult of deified virtues became popular during the fourth and especially the third centuries B.C. Temples and statues were erected in honor of Concord, Courage, Liberty, Honor, Perseverance, and Fidelity.

From the third century B.C., secular games in honor of the underworld gods were held once every 100 years, and the Saturnalia was celebrated every year. Cults not recognized by the state were banned. In 186 B.C., worshippers of the god Bacchus and participants in the Bacchanalia were harshly persecuted. However, as life became more complex and many of the old ties weakened, there was a greater need for a less formalized religion and a growing faith in the soul’s immortality. All these developments facilitated the penetration, at the end of the second century and in the first century B.C., of the Eastern cults of Isis, Osiris, and Cybele, with which Roman soldiers and traders became acquainted in the Hellenistic countries.

The misfortunes brought on by the civil wars of the first century B.C. contributed to the spread of various prophecies, a belief in the return of the “golden age,” astrology, and magic. At the same time, under the influence of Greek philosophy, belief in the original Roman gods grew weak, rational explanations were given for religion, and the old rituals were forgotten. After becoming emperor, Augustus (late first century B.C. and first century A.D.) proclaimed a “return to the customs of our forefathers” and sought to restore the old Roman religion and cults. However, Roman religion was increasingly affected by the cult of the genius of the ruling emperor and the cult of deified dead emperors, which had appeared at the beginning of the principate and was imposed on all citizens. Emperor worship was mingled with a cult of gods especially revered by the emperors (gods called Augusti), of imperial victories and virtues (Courage, Justice, Mercy, Generosity), and of the golden age that supposedly prevailed during their reigns.

The slaves and the poor, who were greatly oppressed, opposed the official deities with their own gods. Excluded from the state pantheon, the gods Silvanus, Priapus, and Pan were regarded as being close to the toiling masses and at the same time all-powerful creators of the universe. Such Eastern gods as Mithras, Dionysus, and Isis attracted a large following. Their cults reflected a hope in the immortality of the soul and in the coming of a savior promising a blessed state beyond the grave to those who believed and were initiated in the mysteries. As the Roman religion gradually declined, Christianity spread among the broad masses. At the end of the fourth century A.D., the emperor Theodosius I banned pagan rituals, and the Roman religion ceased to exist.

Philosophy. Roman philosophy developed under the determining influence of Greek philosophy of the Hellenistic period, from which it borrowed concepts, terminology, and the most important schools of thought. It generalized from the specific social experience of Rome. The initial phase of Roman philosophy was connected with the crisis in the polis ideology and with the liberation of thought from its subordination to religion and mythology. This phase, lasting from the third to the first century B.C., might be called the period of enlightenment or secularization. Stoicism, which exhorted the individual to free himself from any kind of dependence, became virtually the official doctrine of the Roman state. Roman Stoicism was also characterized by materialism, a belief in providence, and fatalism. The group headed by Scipio the Younger, a disciple of the Greek Stoic Panaetius, contributed to the development of Stoicism in the second half of the second century B.C. Cicero preached a pragmatic eclecticism based on the skeptical Platonism of Plato’s Academy. In his narrative poem On the Nature of Things, Lucretius expounded the materialist doctrine of Epicureanism. Both skepticism and eclecticism had their adherents in Rome, for example, Varro and the Sextii. Many thinkers, including the poets Vergil and Horace, passed from Epicureanism to Stoicism.

The deification of state power and the cult of the emperor that accompanied the fall of the republic and the emergence of the empire in the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. constituted the beginning of the sacralization of philosophy—its subordination to religion. During the first century B.C., Posidon-ius, a representative of the Greek Middle Stoa, brought Stoicism closer to Platonism. As a result a school of Stoic Platonism (also regarded as a late version of the Middle Stoa) arose and gained many adherents in Rome. The most important representatives of Roman Stoicism were Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. During this period Stoicism was easily reconciled with astronomical investigations (Manilius and Germani-cus), allegorical mythological interpretations (Cornutus), poetry (Cornutus’ students Persius and Lucan), and historiography (Tacitus). Such Stoics as Columella preached nothing more than a noble simplicity of conduct. A purely practical brand of Stoicism was represented by Cato the Younger of Uti-ca, Paetus Thrasea, and Helvidius Priscus.

The second and third centuries A.D. were a period of well-developed sacralization in philosophy. In their struggle against Stoicism, the Platonists made use of Aristotle (whose concepts were replacing the materialism of the early Stoics) and Pytha-goreanism, through which not only mystical numerical operations but also intensive religious practices were introduced into philosophy. The most important teachers were no longer Stoics, but rather Pythagorean Platonists such as Plutarch, who influenced Apuleius of Madaura. Among the Platonists were Celsus, the renowned critic of Christianity; Severus, the commentator on Plato’s Timaeus; and the grammarian Censorinus.

The third and fourth centuries saw the culmination of sacralized philosophy and the domination of Neoplatonism, which achieved a synthesis of universalism and subjectivism on a purely idealist foundation. The Greek philosopher Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism, lived in Rome, and so the initial stage of Neoplatonism was called Roman Neo-platonism; its traditions were subsequently continued by the Christian philosopher St. Augustine. Rather than develop their own ideas, the philosophers of the fourth and fifth centuries preferred to translate Greek works into Latin, write commentaries on Plato and Aristotle, and gather material on the history of philosophy and religion. Among such philosophers were Chalcidius, Marius Victorinus, and Macrobius.

Sacralized Roman philosophy proved strong enough to survive the fall of the Roman Empire and Greco-Roman paganism. It became the basis of the theocratic ideology of the Middle Ages, and it has appeared in various forms even in modern times, when the Roman thinkers Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Apuleius have sometimes appealed to men’s minds no less than Plato and Aristotle.

Natural sciences. There are few Latin scientific works dating from the period of the Roman republic. During the first century B.C., when the entire Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor came under Roman domination, Greek cultural influence increased markedly. In 88 B.C., the dictator Sulla brought to Rome the library of the Athenian book collector Apellicon, in which a collection of Aristotle’s works was found. This discovery stimulated a renewed interest in the philosophical and scientific views of Aristotle and his school. The grammarian Tyrannio, who lived in Rome, and Andronicus of Rhodes, the head of the Peripatetic school, cast Aristotle’s works in the form in which they were subsequently intensively studied and commented upon.

After their decline in the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., astronomy and mathematics, for which the Alexandrian scientific school was later famed, experienced a revival at the end of the first century. The Greek astronomer and mathematician Menelaus of Alexandria conducted systematic observations of celestial bodies and wrote a book on spherical geometry and trigonometry. In his famous Almagest, Ptolemy (second century A.D.) expounded a geocentric system of the universe. Astrology, which came from the East and enjoyed great popularity, was also studied by the leading astronomers (Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblon). Diophantus’ Arithmetic was probably written in the third century.

Outstanding men of science of the third and fourth centuries included Pappus of Alexandria, who compiled the Mathematical Collection, containing information on the mathematics of earlier periods, as well as Theon, father of the famous Hypa-tia. The death of Hypatia in 415 marked the end of the Alexandrian scientific school. During the fifth century mathematical thought was kept alive in Athens by the Neoplatonist Proclus, who wrote a commentary on Euclid’s Elements, and Eutocius, a commentator on Archimedes and Apollonius.

Hero of Alexandria (first century) summarized the achievements of the ancient world in applied mechanics. He also wrote on geometrical optics, a subject that was later developed by Ptolemy.

Among the Romans mathematics and mechanics were but applied sciences consisting of rules for making the approximate calculations necessary in practical work. The Roman numeral system, which originated in the fifth century B.C., did not facilitate the development of arithmetic. It necessitated the use of counting boards and pebbles (the term “calculation” is derived from the Latin word calculi, meaning “pebbles”). The few works on astronomy written in Latin show little originality. Examples include the writings of Hyginus and Manilius, both of whom lived in the first century B.C., and the poem On the Stars, ascribed to Caesar, which has not survived. Noteworthy among the many works on astrology that were written in Rome is the treatise by the fourth-century writer Maternus. In 46 B.C., Caesar promulgated a calendar reform.

In the natural sciences the Romans for the most part developed the applied disciplines. The most original among the surviving works of Roman scientific and technical literature are the treatises on agriculture written by Cato the Elder (second century B.C.), Varro (first century B.C.), Columella (first century A.D.), and Palladius (fourth century), as well as the extant fragments of a treatise on veterinary medicine by Gargilius Mar-tialis (third century).

A large number of works by Roman authors are devoted to architecture, construction, hydraulic engineering, and military technology. Vitruvius wrote his Ten Books on Architecture at the end of the first century B.C. A description of Roman aqueducts is contained in a work by Sextus Julius Frontinus, a land surveyor and hydraulic engineer of the first century A.D. In his De bello Gallico (The Gallic Wars), Caesar described in detail a pile bridge that he had ordered built across the Rhine River. The needs of military science, as well as the founding of new colonies and the distribution of land allotments, stimulated works by Roman agrimensores (land surveyors). Numerous works of this type were written during the first and second centuries A.D. The Romans’ extensive experience in military technology is reflected in a work by Vegetius (end of the fourth century) dealing with various technical problems connected with establishing camps and building forts.

In late antiquity descriptive natural science developed unevenly. Not a single work on zoology contributed anything essentially new to Aristotle’s History of Animals. Botany, however, on which pharmacology was based, made significant progress. The most famous work on botany and pharmacology, in both antiquity and the Middle Ages, was written by Dioscor-ides of Cilicia, who described 600 medicinal plants.

Important contributions to medicine were made by Asclep-iades of Bithynia (first century), Soranus of Ephesus (second century), Archigenes of Syria (second century), and Oribasius of Pergamum (fourth century). The achievements of classical medicine were summed up in the works of Galen, who was not only a practicing physician but also a great anatomist and physiologist. The only medical work in Latin that has survived is a small book by Aulus Cornelius Celsus (first century), based on a Greek work. In Censorinus’ On the Day of Birth (third century) embryological material is interwoven with astrological data. The pharmacological work Compositiones, written by Scribon-ius Largus in the first half of the first century, contains the first mention of the preparation of opium.

Seneca and Pliny the Elder were scientists in the broad sense of the word. Seneca’s Natural Questions, of which seven books have survived, discusses meteorological and other natural phenomena, such as earthquakes. The work contains little original material; on each question Seneca cites the opinions of earlier authors. Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, a major work in 37 books, is a vast collection of curiosities and interesting information. Much of the work is devoted to a description of the fauna of various countries.

Characteristic of Roman science was the exposition of scientific questions in an entertaining literary form. Examples include the poems by Lucretius and Manilius, Vergil’s Georgics, the astronomical and geographical poems of Avienus, and the poems about fishing and hunting by Marcus Aurelius Neme-sianus. The Romans also had a predilection for encyclopedic works. Varro’s Disciplinae (nine books), which has not survived, was devoted to grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music theory, medicine, and architecture. A similar work was produced in the first century A.D. by Celsus. Lucretius’ poem On the Nature of Things, which examines various questions of natural science from the standpoint of Epicurus’ atom-ist theories, is an encyclopedic work, as is Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. Boethius may be considered the last Roman scholar. His works belong among the transitional links through which elements of classical learning became known during the early Middle Ages.

The territorial growth of the Roman state between the third and first centuries B.C. promoted the accumulation of geographical knowledge. The most important geographical work was Strabo’s Geography, written in Greek, an exhaustive compilation of information on all the countries and peoples known at that time. In contrast, Ptolemy’s Geography, written in the second century A.D., was chiefly devoted to methods of scientific cartography. The 27 maps appended to Ptolemy’s book depicted all the known parts of the globe—from the Canary Islands to China. During the reign of Augustus a large geographical map of the world was made and exhibited publicly in the Portico of Octavia in Rome.

The first geographical work in Latin was written by Pompo-nius Mela in the first century A.D. It was a brief compendium of information taken primarily from Greek works. A great deal of geographical and ethnographical data may be found in Caesar’s De bello Gallico; in the works of the Numidian king Juba II, who had been taken prisoner by Caesar and educated in Rome; in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History; and in the historical works of Tacitus and Ammianus Marcellinus. The fourth-century poet Avienus described the shores of the Mediterranean, Caspian, and Black seas and compiled a Latin version of a poem by the first-century Greek geographer Dionysius Perieg-etes.

Rome did not have learned institutions comparable to the Mouseion of Alexandria. The writer and statesman Gaius Asi-nius Pollio is credited with having founded the first public library in 37 B.C. During the last centuries of the empire there were 28 such libraries in Rome.

Jurisprudence. Roman law both reflected and reinforced the socioeconomic and political practices that had evolved in Roman slaveholding society. In the oldest period, when the sources of law were customs and a few laws (leges latae), Roman law was influenced by religion and communal relations. It was formalistic and its main institutions were primitive. Because it applied only to the quirites, or native citizens of Rome (cives Romani), it was called the jus Quiritium or the jus civile. The most important law code at this time was the Twelve Tables.

Roman law developed between the third century B.C. and the third century A.D. Encumbered by tradition, the civil law could not be adapted to the new conditions engendered by the rapid growth of slavery and commodity-money relations. Alongside the civil law there evolved—through the legislative activity of the magistrates—a system of legal norms known as the jus praetorium. A large role in the creation of this system was played by the praetor of the peregrini (foreigners), whose edicts became the basis of a law not confined within a narrow national framework. This law, called jus gentium, included international customs and those of peoples subjugated by the Romans. As the civil law gradually merged with the international law, the law of Rome, while remaining conservative, shed its extreme formalism, was enriched by new institutions, and reacted more flexibly to the needs of property circulation. This process engendered Roman law—”the most perfect form of law we know of that is based on private property” (F. Engels, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Sock, 2nd ed., vol. 20, p. 105).

A special place in the law-making process was occupied by jurists who, even during the republican period, exerted an influence on the praetors and other magistrates. Outstanding among the jurists of that time were Junius Brutus, Quintus Mucius Scaevola, and Aquilius Gallus. Roman jurisprudence reached its apogee between the first and third centuries A. D.

During this period two basic schools of legal thought emerged—the Proculians, who upheld the republican system, and the Sabinians, who supported the principate. The schools reflected the interests of different strata of Roman society. The total lack of agreement between the representatives of these schools on basic principles caused serious divergences in their resolution of such questions of state and civil law as the legislative power of emperors and the right to possess property. Both schools left their mark on the development of legal scholarship and court practice.

From the time of Augustus the emperors granted prominent jurists the right to give advice having the force of law (jus respondendi). The works of such jurists as Gaius, Celsus the Elder, Celsus the Younger, Julian, and Pomponius became sources of law, as did the edicts of the praetors, laws, senatus consulta (Senate’s resolutions), and imperial statutes. A law enacted in 426 made legally binding the works of the five most prominent jurists (Gaius, Papinian, Paulus, Ulpian, and Mo-destinus), as well as the opinions of jurists cited by them.

The pragmatism of the Roman jurists and their sophisticated comprehension of concrete life situations allowed them to work out legal techniques to perfection and to ensure the full protection of the interests of the private property owner. At the same time, since they were in the service of the emperors, the jurists supported the latter’s claims to unlimited power, creating, according to Engels, “the most vile state law that ever existed” (ibid., vol. 19, p. 312).

In the fourth and fifth centuries the law-making activity of the jurists came to an end. Legislative functions were exercised solely by the emperors, whose edicts and decrees became the principal source of law. Nevertheless, efforts were made to put into order and systematize Roman law. Private collections of laws appeared at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries (Codex Gregorianus, Codex Hermogenianus), and an official code of imperial statutes (Codex Theodosianus) was compiled in 436 under Theodosius II. A comprehensive systematization of Roman law was undertaken under the Byzantine emperor Justinian after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Historical scholarship. Roman historical tradition had its origin in annals. According to Roman legend, “priests’ tablets” (tabulae pontificum) existed in Rome almost from the mid-fifth century B.C., when the high priest (pontifex maximus) began recording the most important events of the current year. The entries were transferred to “white boards” and exhibited for public information at the high priest’s house. In the beginning this custom was apparently connected with the priests’ duty to regulate the calendar, which was not firmly established at that time. The entries were at first rudimentary, but gradually their scope widened to include, in addition to data on wars and natural disasters, information on domestic political events, the Senate’s activity, and election results. The tablets became the chronological framework of the oldest Roman chronicle. Around 130 B.C., at the behest of the high priest P. Mucius Scaevola, a compilation of all the annual entries, beginning with the founding of Rome, was published in 80 books under the title Great Annals (Annales maximi).

The literary reworking of the official annals and family chronicles of the aristocratic clans that began in the third century B.C. was undoubtedly connected with the spread of Hellenistic cultural influences. It is customary to call the early Roman historians annalists and to divide them into the older, middle, and younger annalists. The founder of Roman annals writing is considered to be Quintus Fabius Pictor, who lived in the third century B.C. His Annals, written in Greek, recount the history of Rome from legendary times to the end of the Second Punic War (201 B.C.). Included among the older annalists are several authors whose works have not been preserved. One of them, Cato the Elder, wrote a historical work entitled Beginnings (Origines), covering events from legendary times to the outbreak of the Second Punic War. Cato was the first Roman historian to write in Latin. The middle annalists, notably L. Cassius Hemina and L. Calpurnius Piso, used basically the same sources as the older ones.

As a genre and a trend, “younger” annals writing arose during the Gracchan period in the second century B.C. Its leading exponents were Claudius Quadrigarius, Valerius Antias, and Licinius Macer, all of whom lived in the first century B.C. If the older and middle annalists produced rather primitive but straightforward reworkings of the annals and chronicles, presenting Roman history from a patriotic point of view, the younger annalists transformed history into a branch of rhetoric and a weapon of political struggle. In the interest of a particular faction they did not hesitate to embellish and sometimes even to distort events. They resorted to such devices as repetition of events and borrowings from Greek history.

The first and most brilliant representative of mature Roman historiography was undoubtedly Polybius (second century B. C.), a Greek by birth. After living in Rome for 16 years, Polybius became an enthusiastic admirer of the Roman state system, which, he believed, was responsible for Rome’s success and growing might. Polybius developed this idea in his Histories (40 books, written in Greek), wherein he set forth the “universal” history of the relations between Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Carthage, and Rome in the period from 220 to 146 B. C.

If Polybius epitomized the scholarly tendency in classical historiography, which held that the historian’s principal task was not to describe events but rather to explain the causal relationship between phenomena, then his complete opposite was Livy (first century B.C. and early first century A.D.), who belonged to the literary-didactic school. Livy believed that it was the historian’s duty to teach future generations by using both positive and negative historical examples. The historian should therefore select the most dramatic events and striking personalities, depicting them colorfully and convincingly. Livy relied heavily on the younger annalists, using them uncritically, and filled his own narrative with legends and fictitious speeches. Livy’s colossal History of Rome, comprising 142 books, of which 35 are extant, brought him fame even during his lifetime and became the basis of every educated Roman’s ideas about the history of his native city.

Universal histories were written in the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. by Nicholas of Damascus, Pompeius Tro-gus, and Diodorus Siculus. Roman history from mythical times to the beginning of the First Punic War was the subject of Roman Antiquities by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (first century B.C.).

The genre of the historical memoir is best represented by Julius Caesar’s De bello Gallico and De bello civili, giving a somewhat embroidered but fairly reliable account of these wars. Noteworthy historical monographs include Sallust’s The Cata-line Conspiracy and The Jugurthine War. Ascribing great importance to the individual’s role in history, Sallust devoted much attention to the personality of historical figures. He is considered a master of historical portraiture. Of the numerous biographies produced by the historian Cornelius Nepos (first century B.C.) only two biographies of Romans have been preserved—those of Atticus and Cato the Elder—along with 23 biographies of generals of “foreign peoples.”

During the imperial period the literary-didactic trend was further developed by the great Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, who lived in the second half of the first century A.D. and the early second century A.D. Tacitus’ best-known historical works are the Annals and the Histories, covering Roman history from the death of Augustus to the death of Domitian (A.D. 14 to 96). The works reflect his hatred of tyranny and despotism. A. S. Pushkin called Tacitus the “scourge of tyrants,” and En-gels described him as the last Roman “of patrician mold and outlook” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 19, p. 311).

The writing of historical biographies flourished in the early second century A.D. One of the most important representatives of this genre was Plutarch, a prolific Greek writer and the author of several treatises on ethics and religion. In his popular Parallel Lives, Plutarch juxtaposed biographies of outstanding Roman and Greek political and military leaders. To a greater degree than the historians, Plutarch emphasized the moral and ethical problems confronting him as a biographer. A younger contemporary, Suetonius, was noted for his Lives of the Caesars and Biographies of Famous Rhetoricians and Grammarians, which has not been preserved in its entirety. As secretary to the emperor Hadrian, Suetonius had access to extensive archival material and memoirs.

Several Greek historians produced works on Roman history in the second half of the second century A.D. Appian devoted Books 13 to 17 of his monumental work to the civil wars in Rome, and Dio Cassius wrote a history of Rome from earliest times to 229 A.D.

The last major historian of antiquity is usually considered to be Ammianus Marcellinus (fourth century A.D.), the author of Rerum gestarum libri. The surviving parts of this work deal with the author’s own time, the reign of the emperor Julian, and with events in which he himself took part. It is apparent that Ammianus Marcellinus consciously sought to continue the tradition of Tacitus, taking for his model the Annals and the Histories.

Christian historiography developed in the last centuries of the empire. Its leading exponents were Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Augustine, and Orosius.

Literature. The oldest Roman literary works, dating from the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., have not been preserved. Later sources reveal that lyric poetry was represented by ritual songs (prayers, wedding songs, and funeral laments), the epic by feast songs about the exploits of Roman heroes, the drama by musical presentations that developed out of choral songs (fescennines) and by short farcical plays (atellanae), and prose by oratory, texts of laws, and annals. The first step from oral to written literature was taken at the end of the fourth century B.C. by the consul Appius Claudius, who wrote down his speeches and compiled a collection of maxims in verse under his own name.

During the third and second centuries B.C., when it subjugated most of the Greek-speaking Mediterranean, Rome experienced the strong influence of the more highly developed Greek culture. The initial exposure to Greek culture did not affect the foundations of the polis ideology, but merely added a surface luster to Roman life, as exemplified in the development of the theater. Subsequently the traditional Roman ideology was reinterpreted in terms of Greek philosophy, with increasing emphasis being placed on individualism and spiritual improvement. The aristocratic circle of Scipio the Younger played a major role in the assimilation of Greek culture. However, there was some nationalist resistance to Hellenization, led by the orator and historian Cato the Elder.

During this period all the principal genres of Greek literature were mastered. The “first Roman poet,” the Greek freedman Livius Andronicus, translated the Odyssey and Greek tragedies and comedies into Latin in the mid-third century B.C. The first national epics were written: Naevius’ Song of the Punic War (end of the third century B. C.) and Ennius’ Annals (early second century B.C.). Roman comedy was developed by Plautus (late third and early second centuries B.C.), who added dynamism and folk humor to the Greek models, and by Terence (mid-second century B.C.), who aspired to elegance of language and psychological realism. Roman tragedy was developed according to Greek standards by Pacuvius (early second century B.C.) and Accius (late second century B.C.). A specifically Roman genre, the satura, consisting of short dialogues in verse on various subjects, was created on the basis of Hellenistic models by Lucilius in the second half of the second century B.C. At the end of the second century B. C., the first Roman lyric poems appeared. Of all these works, only the comedies of Plautus and Terence have been preserved in their entirety; the rest have survived only in fragments.

During the first half of the first century B.C., Greek culture was completely assimilated by Rome, thus opening the way for a flowering of Roman literature. The new culture spread beyond the aristocratic circles, reaching the middle strata of the population through the rhetorical schools and popular philosophical treatises and dialogues. Cicero proposed a new ideal of the cultured man, who should combine training in philosophy for self-improvement and in rhetoric for social action.

As social contradictions intensified, the genres that were intended for a broad and homogeneous audience—the epic and the drama—declined. Oratory was developed as the principal means of social struggle, and poetry became a way of escaping from the social crisis into one’s private world. The supreme master of oratory was Cicero, whose writings belong to the golden age of Roman prose. Having perfected the expressive possibilities of Latin, Cicero made the most important contribution to the development of all the Latin prose styles—the high and low and the free and strict. The leading poets of the time were the Epicurean Lucretius, whose didactic epic On the Nature of Things extolled cognition of the world and reconciliation with death as salvation from life’s turmoil, and Catullus, whose passionate lyrics praised love and friendship as an alternative to the meaningless world of social relations.

When establishing the empire in the second half of the first century B.C., Augustus devoted particular attention to organizing public opinion as a means of reinforcing his power. He drew to himself the best writers of his time, among them the epic poet Vergil and the lyric poet Horace, both of whom belonged to the circle of Maecenas. For these writers the new epoch offered atonement for the sins of their forefathers and a return to the ancient republican virtues. For all their praise of Augustus and his political measures, these writers brought the republican period to a close rather than ushering in the imperial age. Their poetic ideal was monumentality, harmony, and clarity, and they refined the poetic language, style, meter, and structure.

The most outstanding figure of the golden age of Roman poetry was the poet Vergil. In his idylls (Bucolics) the poet lamented the passing of the golden age and in his didactic poem the Georgics he celebrated labor as a regenerating force. In the heroic epic the Aeneid, Vergil glorified Rome’s historical mission to bring peace to the world through just rule. The same evolution from an early rejection to a later acceptance of reality is also characteristic of Horace (from the Epodes and Satires to the mature Odes and Epistles), and to a lesser extent of the poets of the younger generation—Tibullus and Propertius, who wrote erotic elegies. Poetry was the dominant genre. For Cicero the ideal man, at home with philosophy and verbal art, was the orator; for Horace (The Art of Poetry) it was the poet. Prose receded into the background: under the monarchy eloquence lost its importance, and historical writing, in Livy’s works, came to resemble epic poetry.

At the height of the empire and during its crisis (first to third centuries A.D.), Roman and Greek culture evolved along parallel lines but independently. Roman writers competed with Greek men of letters and developed the principles laid down by the writers of the golden age. Roman culture spread beyond Rome and Italy to the provinces, which contributed many prominent writers in this period. The social importance of literature declined, and its ideological content either was the product of a spirit of opposition, in the best works, or was confined to semiofficial panegyrics. Ovid, the last great poet of the Augustan age, was exiled for the apolitical nature (displeasing to the emperor) of his erotic and mythological poems (Art of Love, Metamorphoses).

Literature gradually became empty stylistic play. The stylistic experimentation may be divided into three phases. The first phase, occurring in the first half of the first century A.D., was dominated by the “new style,” developed in the rhetorical schools. Sententious, artificial, and overblown, the new style found expression in philosophical treatises, didactic letters, and the highly emotional tragedies of Seneca, intended for declamation. Lucan applied the new style to the epic; his tragic Pharsalia, based on events from Roman history, is a kind of polemic against Vergil’s optimism. Persius Flaccus used the new style to write passionate satires that seemed to compete with the mild satires of Horace. Outside the mainstream stood Petroni-us’ Satyricon, a satirical novel in prose and verse marked by Epicurean irony and freedom from sentiment. A more democratic strain is represented by Phaedrus’ verse Fables, intended for the masses.

The second phase, lasting from the end of the first to the early second century A.D., was a reaction against the new style in favor of neoclassicism, a revival of the style of the golden age. In his Institutio oratoria, the rhetorician Quintilian adapted Cicero’s humanistic ideal to the new social environment. His follower Pliny the Younger imitated Cicero’s style in his speeches and letters, and the poets Statius, Silius Italicus, and Valerius Flaccus modeled their mythological and historical poems on Vergil’s epic. But the imitation was limited to externals inasmuch as a genuine revival of the classics was no longer possible. The traditions of the new style proved to be more viable in the ironic epigrams of Martial, the mordant satires of Juvenal, and the historical prose of Tacitus.

Archaism dominated the third phase, occurring in the second and early third centuries. The strong revival of Greek literature in the Roman empire pushed Latin literature into the background. Many Roman writers, including Marcus Aurelius and Aelianus, wrote in Greek. Under the influence of the Greek vogue for reviving the old language and style (Atticism), Romans began to prefer Ennius to Vergil, and Cato to Cicero. The most important writer of this period was Apuleius (second century), the author of the novel Metamorphoses, also known as The Golden Ass, a fanciful blend of descriptions of everyday life, tales, and mystical allegories. The novel’s style is an amalgam of archaisms, neologisms, dialectisms, and vulgarisms. During the sociopolitical crisis of the third century literary production ceased almost entirely. It was only during the fourth century that another literary resurgence began, this time on a different cultural basis, paving the way for the literature of the Middle Ages.

In the fourth and fifth centuries Christian literature gained ascendancy. Previously limited to dogmatic and polemical works—notably those of Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Cyprian, the poet Commodianus, and the rhetorician Lactantius—it now revealed a mastery of the techniques of Roman rhetoric and poetry. Works of great artistic value include the sermons and hymns of St. Ambrose, the letters of St. Jerome, and especially the Confessions of St. Augustine, which introduced into literature a psychological depth not known in antiquity. Authors who continued the pagan literary traditions receded into the background. Among them were Ausonius, a poet excelling in the minor genres who attempted to revive the mythological and historical epic, and the historian Ammianus Marcellinus.

Literature gradually became associated with individual provinces and, later, various barbarian kingdoms. Gaul contributed the poet Rutilius Namatianus (fourth and fifth centuries); Italy, the poet and philosopher Boethius (sixth century); and Africa, the poets of the “Latin anthology” (sixth century). By the late sixth century classical literary forms and the classical cultural heritage were rapidly weakening and disappearing. It was the beginning of the period known as the Dark Ages, the first phase of medieval Latin literature.

Theater. In Rome the origin of the theater is linked to harvest festivals, when humorous coarse songs in the form of dialogues (fescennines) were sung. The next step in the development of dramatic action was the satura, consisting of short comic scenes from everyday life presented through dialogue, song, music, and dance. Around 300 B.C. there appeared improvised folk comedies, called atellana, featuring four stock characters wearing masks. The atellanae were performed first by young Roman citizens and only later by professional actors. Another type of folk play, the mime, became popular from the end of the third century B. C.

The staging of the first drama, based on a Greek play, by the Greek freedman Livius Andronicus in 240 B.C. ushered in a new period in the history of the Roman theater. Tragedies and comedies modeled on Greek works were produced. The playwright Gnaeus Naevius wrote praetextae, a type of tragedy with a plot drawn from Roman history. Especially popular among Roman audiences were the palliata comedies, adaptations of the Attic New Comedy. The most famous writers of such comedy were Gnaeus Naevius, Caecilius Statius, and especially Plautus and Terence. In the second century B.C., the palliata gave way to the togata, which depicted the life of Roman citizens, primarily those from the lower strata. At the beginning of the first century B. C., the togata was replaced by a literary version of the atellana, which in turn was superseded by the literary mime in the mid-first century B. C.

Theatrical presentations were part of the annual state festivals—the Roman (September), Plebeian (November), and Apollonian (July) ludi, as well as the Megalenses (April) and Florales (April and May). Plays were also staged during triumphal or funeral ludi and the elections of high officials. At first the performances were held near the temple of the deity in whose honor the ludi were being held; there were no permanent theater buildings. The first stone theater was built by Pompey in 55–52 B.C., and two more stone theaters—the Marcellus and the Balbus—were erected at the end of the first century B.C. The Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius gave a detailed comparison of Roman and Greek theaters in his treatise Ten Books on Architecture.

Roman actors were either freedmen or slaves and occupied a low position in society. They banded together to form troupes headed by a leader who, upon approval by a magistrate, organized the productions, distributed the money earned, and frequently played the main roles himself. In the third and second centuries B.C., actors generally performed without masks, which came into use only in the first century B.C. The late arrival of masks on the Roman stage had a favorable effect on the development of acting. Women’s roles were performed by men. The most famous actors of the last century of the republic were the tragedian Aesopus and the comedian Roscius.

Under the empire, although theatrical productions were more frequent, they increasingly became entertaining spectacles. Cavalry and infantry units appeared on the stage, and the action included processions of prisoners and the exhibition of exotic wild animals. In the first and second centuries A.D., the actor’s vocal skill was the most important element in the performance of tragedy.

The literary atellana, sometimes containing pointed allusions to political events, enjoyed great popularity. Another favorite type of theatrical performance was the pantomime, a dramatic solo dance, usually dealing with a mythological subject, accompanied by music and choral singing. Also popular was the Pyrrhic dance, performed by an ensemble of male and female dancers, in which lavish decorations and stage effects were a major attraction. As before, the mime was enormously successful; by the time of the late empire it had superseded all but the dance forms of theatrical entertainment. Originally consisting of short scenes from daily life, the mime developed into a long, largely improvised play—a brilliant enthralling spectacle with an entertaining and often intricate plot and a large number of characters.

Even greater throngs flocked to the circus performances and gladiatorial combats, which were held in the Colosseum and other amphitheaters. Circuses and amphitheaters also presented fights between a single hunter and a wild beast, as well as mass hunts. Sometimes such scenes were organic parts of a mime or pantomime. Naval battles, called naumachiae, were staged. The decline of artistic drama, the passion for bloody spectacles, and the low legal status of actors attested to the degeneration of theatrical culture during the imperial period.

The Roman theater and, above all, dramaturgy made an important contribution to the development of world theater. From the Renaissance onward, great playwrights have assimilated through Roman drama the humanistic traditions of classical culture. The Roman theater also exerted a great influence on theater architecture.

Music. Developing under the influence of Hellenistic culture, Roman music included musical-poetic genres associated with daily life. Triumphal, wedding, feast, and funeral songs were frequently sung to the accompaniment of the tibia, the Latin equivalent of the aulos. An important part of ancient Roman musical culture were the chants of the priestly colleges known as the Salii and the Arval Brothers. At festivals of the Salii a kind of military dance-game was performed. From the harvest ceremonies of the Arval Brothers, their famous hymn and prayers have been preserved.

Roman musical life, especially under the empire, was highly diverse. Performers from many countries poured into the capital, among them Greek cithara players, Syrian and Babylonian instrumental virtuosos, Alexandrian singers, and Andalusian dancers. Poetry was closely linked to music. Poetic works, including Horace’s odes, Vergil’s eclogues, and Ovid’s narrative poems, were sung to the accompaniment of plucked stringed instruments. Recitative pieces, accompanied by the tibia, were introduced into Roman drama.

For the performance of classical Greek music, the cithara and the aulos were used, as well as several harplike instruments (psaltery, trigonon [triangular harp], sambuca) and sometimes plucked lyres (barbiton, pedis, magadis). Cymbals and other percussion instruments resounded at festivals in honor of the god Bacchus, the Bacchanalia. Roman aristocrats acquired water organs (hydraulos) for their palaces and villas. Impetus to the development of ancient Roman instrumental music was given by the pantomime—a kind of “pantomimic suite” performed by a solo dancer to the accompaniment of choral singing (Greek texts) and orchestral music. The military legions had large wind orchestras that included buccinae (curved horns), tubae (straight horns), and other metallic instruments.

Huge choruses sang in the circuses and theaters of the Roman empire, often to the accompaniment of instrumental music. Seneca said that sometimes there were more performers than spectators in the theater. At the end of the first century A. D., the emperor Domitian initiated the Capitoline competitions, in which singers and musicians took part along with poets. Public concerts given by virtuosos, most of them Greeks or Egyptians, were highly popular. Famous performers included the singer Tigellius (at the court of Augustus), the actor and singer Apelles (Caligula’s favorite), and the cithara player Me-somedes of Crete (under Hadrian), three of whose hymns have survived. The emperor Nero introduced the Greek competition, himself performing in it as a poet, singer, and cithara player. In aristocratic families children were taught to sing and play the cithara. The teaching of music and dancing was a highly respected and popular profession.

Architecture and art. Roman art was the final, culminating phase in the development of classical artistic culture. For the Roman, more so than for the Greek, art was a means of rationally organizing life. Consequently, the Romans excelled in architecture and engineering projects, sculptured portraits showing individual traits, and historical reliefs narrating the deeds of citizens and rulers. The realistic element predominated over imagination, and the narrative principle over philosophical generalization.

Moreover, a sharp division occurred between official and private art. Official art played an important role in Roman politics as a way of affirming the state ideology in conquered areas. Architecture was especially important because it combined ideological functions with the organization of everyday social life. A system of structural and compositional devices and designs evolved that allowed the architect to find each time a solution that flowed directly from the purpose of a given structure.

While disseminating their style in the provinces of the empire and dependent countries, the Romans easily assimilated and transmuted the artistic principles of other peoples. During the early period they borrowed from the Etruscans and the Greeks and later from the peoples of the Hellenistic East and the subjugated “barbarians.” At times Roman art gave fresh impetus to indigenous creativity, engendering a syncretistic art.

The oldest Roman art developed as part of the central Italian archaeological cultures of the Iron Age, such as the Villanovan culture. During the formation of a distinctly Roman artistic culture between the eighth and fourth centuries B.C., Roman architecture was profoundly influenced by Etruscan architecture, from which it borrowed highly developed construction techniques and the basic elements of various structures. The Etruscan features in the oldest temples, such as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome, dedicated in 509 B.C., of which only fragments have survived, subsequently became the characteristic traits of Roman religious architecture: the use of the tripartite cella and podium and the accentuation of the main facade with a portico and a flight of steps. The earliest examples of Roman painting and applied decorative art are closely related to the art of the Etruscans.

During the Punic Wars and the late republic (from the third century to the first three-quarters of the first century B. C.), utilitarian and rational principles predominated in art, although Roman austerity at times blended with the refinement of the art of Magna Graecia (southern Italy) and eastern Greek cities captured by the Romans. It was a time of large-scale urban construction. Cities were laid out on a grid pattern, like the Roman military camps, with two main thoroughfares—the north-south cardo and the east-west decumanus. As the composition of the forum evolved, the most important principles governing the design of complexes were developed: a penchant for symmetry, axial construction, and an emphasis on the facade of the main building, approached by a flight of steps leading from a ceremonial entrance to the area occupied by the complex. In residential architecture the atrium house developed. From the second century B.C., the compositional center of this type of house was the peristyle garden, attesting to the Roman’s love of nature, which intensified as society became more urbanized. The efforts to blend design with nature were reflected in the suburban villas, which were often picturesquely situated on the slopes of hills. The splendor of such aristocratic residences contrasted with the plain insulae (multistory apartment houses) of urban districts.

The use of concrete, beginning in the second century B.C., not only simplified and reduced the cost of laying massive load-bearing structural components but also ensured their flexibility and diversity of form. It also permitted the construction of buildings with large enclosed areas.

In the second century B.C. and the first half of the first century B.C., the major types of Roman structures were perfected. They included basilicas, baths (thermae), various buildings for public spectacles (where, in contrast to ancient Greek theaters, the seats for the spectators were located on auxiliary structures dissected by galleries and stairways), and such impressive engineering works as arch bridges, aqueducts, and warehouses.

In art, the period between the third and first centuries B.C. saw the growing popularity of portrait statues and busts. Related to Etruscan sculpture, Roman portraiture was remarkable for its incised linear modeling and austerity. In addition to the official portrait sculpture that decorated the cities, there were private portraits commissioned for homes or tombs. The republican period also produced the first historical reliefs in which everyday situations bordering on the mundane were combined with mythological elements. In late republican sculpture a Hellenizing trend developed, and numerous Greek statues were faithfully copied.

Monumental decorative painting became important during this period. The first style of wall painting, called incrustation, which flourished from the second half of the second century to the early first century B.C., aimed at an imitation of masonry. In the second, or architectural style, dating from around 80 to 30 B.C., the center of the wall became an aedicula, painted in perspective and framing a landscape or a scene from everyday life or mythology. Floors were decorated with mosaics, polychrome compositions made of cube-shaped pieces of colored stone. Glyptic, the art of carving precious or semiprecious stones, also developed.

The most impressive achievements of ancient Roman architecture coincide with the height of the empire, the period from around 20 B.C. to the second century A.D. A distinctive feature of the structures of this period was their monumental grandeur. The arch and the forms derived from it, the vault and dome, predominated, and the vast spaces of interiors or open buildings were dynamically coordinated. The facing of concrete walls with stone or brick, increasingly interspersed with marble, was rapidly perfected, and wall painting and sculpture were widely used for decoration. A specific trait of mature Roman architecture was the “order arcade,” where tiers of columns belonging to the various orders were superimposed on walls in which arches had been cut. The order arcade lent buildings an imposing magnitude.

Architecture increasingly became a means of glorifying the emperor and propagandizing the might of the empire. This trend was already apparent in structures built in Rome during the Augustan age, notably the Forum of Augustus (late first century B.C. and early first century A.D.). The predominant type of commemorative architectural work was the triumphal arch. Tombs, which during the republican period had been modest in size, became large and sometimes even magnificent structures.

By the middle of the first century A.D., there was a growing tendency toward sumptuous display in architectural compositions. Nero’s Golden House (A. D. 64–69), which has not survived, and the Flavian Palace on the Palatine (92), both in Rome, attest to this trend. The Flavian emperors also built the Colosseum, the largest Roman amphitheater. Under Trajan the most highly developed and complex of the Roman forums was constructed (111–114, architect Apollodorus of Damascus), and under Hadrian the most imposing domed structure of the ancient world, the Pantheon, was erected. From Hadrian’s time architecture acquired a refined complexity, partly under the influence of the art of the Hellenistic East. An outstanding example of this style is Hadrian’s villa near Tivoli, built between 125 and 135.

In the official sculpture of the early empire the idealizing tendencies grew stronger, and individual traits, which the masters of the republican period had been fond of emphasizing, were to some extent erased. Chiaroscuro and a sense of movement were introduced into sculpture, as well as refined modeling, exemplified in the skillful rendering of coiffures in women’s portraits of the Flavian period (c. A.D. 60–90). Trajan’s reign saw a return to the heroically austere style of the republic, and under Hadrian and the Antonines there was a renewed quest for emotional expressiveness and psychological depth.

The historical reliefs of imperial Rome were initially distinguished by measured compositional rhythms and restrained modeling, as exemplified by the marble reliefs on the Altar of Peace in Rome, executed beween 13 and 9 B.C. The pictorial quality and intense dynamism of the reliefs of the Flavian period, clearly evident in the marble reliefs on the Arch of Titus in Rome (A.D. 81), culminated in the battle relief of Trajan’s time, exemplified in the sculptured marble ornamentation on Trajan’s Column in Rome (A.D. 111–114). The influence of Greco-Hellenistic traditions reached its apogee under Hadrian, when schools of imitators of classical Greek plastic art flourished.

In mural painting the “third style” prevailed prior to A.D. 63. Light graphic designs and small pictures depicting scenes were placed against a background of large open spaces. It was replaced by the “fourth style,” also known as the style of fantastic architecture, in which complex architectural compositions were painted on walls to create illusionistic spatial effects. Multiplane compositions and complex architectural and landscape backgrounds were also characteristic of mosaics, whose palette was enriched by smalto of many different shades. From the second century black and white stone mosaics became widespread.

In decorative applied art, the imperial period excelled in the production of toreutic work, Arretine pottery with relief decoration, glassware (including painted and double-layer vases with reliefs), and glyptics in which alternating sections of semiprecious stones were juxtaposed in a picturesque manner.

During the empire’s decline in the third and fourth centuries Roman art showed signs of a decline as well. The architectural works of this period—structures of extraordinary dimensions—reflect a love of extravagant effects and ornate decoration. Construction flourished primarily in the provinces, where new forums and huge temple complexes were built (for example, in Baalbek). The traditions of Roman architecture were continued in Rome in such buildings as the Baths of Caracalla (206–217), the Baths of Diocletian (306), and the Basilica of Maxentius (c. 315), as well as in such provincial structures as the Palace of Diocletian in Split (c. 300).

Late Roman portrait sculpture reflects a loss of interest in the faithful rendition of physical appearance. External features are treated more summarily until by the late fourth century the stiff face presents a sharp contrast to the emotional gaze of the wide-open eyes. Conventional and stylized elements in sculpture, including historical reliefs, attest to the growing influence of the art of the eastern provinces.

Noteworthy art works of the third and fourth centuries include portrait miniatures on gold foil, placed between two layers of glass, and marble sarcophagi decorated with narrative reliefs in which Christian themes appeared more frequently beginning in the third century. Catacomb paintings, also linked with Christianity, became increasingly flat and graphic between the second and fourth centuries. The intensely spiritual artistic forms that emerged in late Roman art anticipated the artistic culture of the European Middle Ages.


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E. M. SHTAERMAN (religion and mythology), A. F. LOSEV (philosophy), P. D. ROZHANSKII (natural sciences), D. A. ZHIDKOV (jurisprudence), S. L. UTCHENKO (historical scholarship), M. L. GASPAROV (literature), G. I. SOKOLOV (architecture and art)

The foundation for the study of ancient Roman culture, like that of ancient Greek culture, was laid in antiquity by Greek and Roman historians and philologists. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, interest in ancient Roman culture waned but did not disappear entirely. Latin and Greek texts were preserved and used for teaching purposes in European monasteries, the centers of learning in that period. The history of Rome was included in medieval chronicles, and the seventh-century Spanish scholar Isidore of Seville produced several works on Roman daily life and the Latin language.

A renewed interest in Roman culture appeared in the Renaissance, which began as a “rebirth” of classical antiquities. Classical manuscripts were sought out, collected, and published. The inscriptions on Roman architectural works were studied, and collections of statues, vases, and other antiquities were assembled. The humanist historiography that emerged in the 15th century was divided into two schools: the “antiquarian” and the political-rhetorical. The antiquarian school studied Roman culture—daily life and mores, art, religion, and law—as a unified whole. Founded by the Italian humanist Flavio Biondi, it was continued by Pomponius Laetus in the 15th century and by C. Sigonius in the 16th century. The political-rhetorical school, whose leading exponent was N. Machiavelli, stressed the political lessons to be learned from Roman history. The Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla, by questioning the reliability of some of Livy’s facts, prepared the way for the criticism of historical sources.

Ancillary disciplines were established in the 16th and 17th centuries. The French scholar Joseph Scaliger did pioneering work in chronology and epigraphy, and the French humanist G. Budé wrote on the Roman coinage system, laying the foundation for numismatics. Through their research and publication of ancient authors, the Dutch humanists Erasmus of Rotterdam and J. Lipsius and the French scholars Julius Caesar Scaliger and Joseph Scaliger initiated the study of sources. Latin dictionaries were compiled by the German humanist J. Reuchlin and other scholars.

In the late 17th century the French abbot Le Nain de Tille-mont published a six-volume history of the Roman Empire, essentially a compilation of available Latin and Greek works. Following Lorenzo Valla, a number of 18th-century scholars, among them the French historians S. Bochart and Louis de Beaufort and the Dutch scholar J. Perizonius, took a critical approach to the Roman historical tradition.

During the Enlightenment, when antiabsolutist and anticlerical tendencies prevailed, the historical principles governing the development of the Roman state were studied by the Italian philosopher G. Vico and the French Enlightenment thinker Montesquieu. Scholars were drawn to late Roman history and offered explanations for the causes of the fall of the Roman empire. Voltaire cited religious strife as the reason for its downfall. In his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88) the British historian E. Gibbon censured Christianity for its resistance to the state and for its outlook, which extinguished patriotism and civic-mindedness. Gibbon also identified several other causes: the arbitrary conduct and despotism of the emperors, oppressive taxation, and the decline of military discipline. The German “neohumanist” school, which included J. Winckelmann and J. Herder, studied both Roman and Greek culture but preferred the latter.

During the 18th century important advances were made in philological criticism and in establishing the authenticity of literary works (the English philologist R. Bentley). Roman culture attracted the attention of the 18th-century Russian Enlightenment figures A. D. Kantemir, M. V. Lomonosov, and V. K. Tre-diakovskii, who made the works of Roman historians, philosophers, and poets accessible to the Russian public.

The skepticism about the credibility of early Roman history shown by S. Bochart, Louis de Beaufort, and other 17th- and 18th-century scholars was challenged in the early 19th century by the German historian B. G. Niebuhr, who used the comparative-historical method to reconstruct the early history of Rome. The founder of the “critical trend” in historiography, Niebuhr considered lost folk songs to be the source of the legends about Roman antiquity. He also hypothesized that the plebeians were descended from Latins who had been forcibly resettled in Rome. Niebuhr’s works stimulated a debate about the early period of Roman history in which the German scholar A. Schweg-ler and the English antiquarian G. Lewis participated. Niebuhr’s views influenced the development of Roman historiography in Russia, notably the writings of T. N. Granovskii and P. N. Kudriavtsev. Drawing a distinction between the patrician and plebeian religions, the Russian scholar D. L. Kriukov upheld Niebuhr’s view on the differing origins of the patricians and plebeians.

The second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th saw an intensive accumulation of archaeological material. Systematic excavations were begun at Herculaneum, Pompeii, and other ancient cities in Italy, and archaeological studies were undertaken of Roman relics in France, Germany, Great Britain, and North Africa. The accumulation of archaeological and epigraphical material expanded the sources available for the study of Rome and necessitated greater specialization. The study of the various aspects of ancient Roman culture from the mid-19th century onward may conveniently be divided into three categories: history, literature, and art.

History. Achievements in the study of Roman history during the second half of the 19th century are linked with archaeological discoveries (see below. Art) and with the development of such ancillary disciplines as epigraphy (the publication of Latin inscriptions), numismatics, and chronology. The German scholar T. Mommsen made a vital contribution to the study and publication of Roman sources. His works illuminated all aspects of Roman life, although he excelled in political history and the history of the Roman state and criminal law. The revolution in the social sciences brought about by the works of K. Marx and F. Engels and the availability of new materials on Roman history and daily life could not fail to affect Roman historiography.

Although they rejected Marxism and its doctrine of socioeconomic formations and the decisive role of the class struggle, bourgeois historians were obliged to give more attention to the study of economics and social relations. A school arose that specialized in the socioeconomic problems of antiquity; its leading exponents were the German scholars E. Meyer, K. J. Beloch, and R. Pöhlmann and the French historian H. Wallon. However, negative tendencies—modernization and hypercriti-cism—appeared in the school from the outset. The modernization of ancient history, already present in the works of Mommsen and Meyer, was also characteristic of the writings of Pöhlmann, M. I. Rostovtzeff, and the Italian historian G. Ferrero. Hypercriticism marred the work of the Italian scholars E. Pais and G. De Sanctis and the German historian Beloch. The modernizing tendencies were opposed by the French historian Fustel de Coulanges, whose students and followers C. Jullian and S. Gsell initiated the study of the Roman provinces of Gaul and Africa.

A school of Roman history developed in Russia in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th. After analyzing the results of the Italian excavations, V. I. Modestov wrote a history of ancient Italy. The early history of Rome was the subject of works by Iu. A. Kulakovskii and I. V. Netushil. At the turn of the 20th century, Russian scholars showed a greater interest in the socioeconomic history of Rome, including agrarian relations, a topic of vital concern for Russia. P. M. Leont’ev, P. I. Sinaiskii, G. M. Prigorovskii, and M. I. Rostovtzeff wrote on the history of Roman landownership, and D. M. Petrushevskii and R. Iu. Vipper dealt with Roman social history on a broader plane. M. P. Dragomanov examined the significance of the Roman empire for historiography, and S. V. Eshevskii and S. A. Zhebelev studied the history of the Roman provinces.

Modern Western scholarship has dealt both with the individual periods and aspects of Roman history and with the history of Rome as a whole (the multivolume work of the Italian historian L. Pareti). The study of Rome’s political and socioeconomic history has included work on ancient slavery by W. Westermann in the USA, J. Vogt in the Federal Republic of Germany, and M. Capozza in Italy; on the Italian communities by P. de Francisci and E. Sereni in Italy; and on early Rome and the Etruscans by M. Pallottino and R. Paribeni in Italy, R. Bloch and J. Heurgon in France, and E. Gjerstad in Sweden. Other problems of political and socioeconomic history have been studied by the Italian scholars E. Albertini and S. Mazzarino, the French historian A. Piganiol, the British scholar R. Syme, the American historian F. Walbank, and the German (FRG) historian F. Altheim. Roman history has also been treated in such multivolume collaborative works as the Cambridge Ancient History (1st ed., vols. 1–12, 1923–39) and in the monumental reference work of Pauly-Wissowa (1st ed., 1839–52, new ed., since 1893).

In the USSR scholars have focused on socioeconomic problems of Roman history from the very beginning. Proceeding from the Marxist doctrine of socioeconomic formations, Soviet scholars have critically reexamined the existing interpretations of Roman history. V. S. Sergeev, S. I. Kovalev, and N. A. Mash-kin have created a series of general courses in Roman history; P. F. Preobrazhenskii and S. L. Utchenko have studied the ideological struggle in Roman society; and A. V. Mishulin has dealt with the class struggle. Problems of socioeconomic development and agrarian relations have been treated by E. M. Shtaerman, M. A. Sergeenko, and V. I. Kuzishchin, and the origin of the state has been studied by V. N. D’iakov, F. M. Ne-chai, A. I. Nemirovskii, L. A. El’nitskii, and I. L. Maiak. The crisis and fall of the Roman republic have been analyzed by Mashkin and Utchenko, and the social struggle in Rome by Shtaerman and A. G. Bokshchanin. The history of the provinces has been treated in the works of Mishulin, A. B. Rano-vich, O. V. Kudriavtsev, and E. S. Golubtsova, and Rome’s wars against Parthia are the subject of studies by Bokshchanin. The history of early Christianity has been elucidated by Vipper and Ranovich. The economic, social, and ideological factors involved in the transition from a slaveholding to a feudal formation have been examined by Shtaerman and A. R. Korsunskii.

Important work in Roman history has also been done in the other socialist countries. The history of the Roman provinces has been studied by the Bulgarian scholar Kh. Danov, the Rumanian historian E. Condurachi, and the Hungarian scholars A. Moisy and L. Barkóczi. R. Güinther (German Democratic Republic), and P. Oliva (Czechoslovakia) have worked on the social struggle in Rome, and K. Kumaniecki (Poland) has written on the ideological currents.

Literature. Prior to the 19th century, Roman literature served more as a model for imitation in European culture than as a subject of historical research. In the preromantic and romantic period philologists began to focus on Greek culture as the source of the entire European cultural tradition. Roman literature came to be regarded as a vexatious intermediary, distorting the spirit of the Greek genius. The study of literature proceeded along two lines: (1) the correction of texts and preparation of scholarly editions (the German philologists F. Ritschl, O. Jahn, F. Bücheler, and their students) and (2) the writing of introductory literary histories rich in material but providing little interpretation (the German scholars M. Schanz and W. Teuffel). In 19th-century Russia several major scholars devoted themselves to the study of Roman literature, among them I. V. Pomialov-skii, N. M. Blagoveshchenskii, and V. I. Modestov, who between 1873 and 1888 developed the first Russian lecture course on the history of Roman literature.

In the 20th century the attitude toward Roman literature changed; it was again recognized as having an independent value, as being different from but not inferior to Greek literature. The cultural situation in the 20th century prompted a search for historical analogies not in the fragmented polis world, as had been done in the 19th century, but rather in the world of the great powers of the Hellenistic and primarily Roman epochs. The evolution of the attitude toward Vergil is characteristic: during the 18th century he was more highly esteemed than Homer; in the 19th century he was disparaged as a weak imitator; and in the 20th century he was again considered a great poet.

Three developments contributed to the reevaluation of Roman literature. First, methods were worked out for analyzing subjects and genres rather than the lexicon and meter (the German classical scholars E. Norden and W. Kroll). Second, an attempt was made to separate the Roman “layers” from Greek originals and to show that they constituted a coherent system and were interesting in themselves (A. Rostagni and other Italian scholars). Third, improvements in the technique of textual analysis revealed that even very similar Greek and Roman texts frequently reflected a completely different Weltanschauung, or “model of the world” (the German classical philologists F. Klinger and K. Buechner). Contemporary philology seeks to identify and explain the specific features of Roman literature against the background of classical and world culture as a whole.

Art. Interest in Roman art quickened during the 19th century, when the intensive study of Roman remains not only gave a clearer idea of the overall evolution of classical art but also paved the way for identifying the distinctive features of purely Roman artistic culture. The study of Roman art was facilitated by the establishment in Rome of numerous archaeological centers (the most famous of which was the German Archaeological Institute, founded in 1843) and by excavations, initially directed for the most part by British, French, and German scholars. Knowledge of the early art of the Apennine Peninsula expanded greatly as a result of the discovery of Etruscan tombs decorated with paintings in Corneto (Tarquinia), Chiusi, Cer-veteri, and elsewhere during the 1820’s and 1830’s. The discovery of remains of the Villanovan culture also shed light on pre-Roman art in Italy. From the second quarter of the 19th century, the early Christian catacombs were intensively studied.

After the unification of Italy in 1861, Italian archaeologists became more active. G. Fiorelli conducted methodologically innovative excavations at Pompeii. The systematic study of the forums and the Palatine Hill in Rome by P. Rosa and others enabled R. Lanciani (Italy), A. Jourdain (France), and H. Hülsen to compile detailed topographical and architectural descriptions of the ancient city. Close attention was given to the provinces of the Roman Empire; the French studied Timgad in Algeria and the Germans and Austrians, the remains in Dalmatia.

Field work was combined with the scientific cataloging of old collections, in which pioneering work was done by the Italian E. Q. Visconti and the German E. Gerhard. Monographs based on archaeological research and a critical-philological interpretation of such ancient authors as Pliny the Elder were written by the German scholars F. G. Welcker, K. Müller, and O. Jahn, who were deeply interested in iconographic traditions, or “artistic mythology.” A blend of stylistic and iconographic analysis characterized the works of the German scholars H. von Brunn, L. Curtius, F. Matz, G. Rodenwaldt, and A. Furt-wängler, the French archaeologist S. Reinach, and the Austrian art historian A. Riegl, all of whom wrote in the last third of the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Riegl showed the stylistic originality of late Roman decorative applied art. The 19th-century studies of classical art were summed up, as it were, in a book on classical portraiture by the German art historian A. Hekler and in a reference work on Roman archaeology by the French scholars R. Cagnat and V. Chapot, written in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Among the most important archaeological discoveries of the second and third quarters of the 20th century were the remains of the Etruscan city of Pyrgi (excavated by the Italian archaeologist M. Pallottino), the finds in Hadrian’s villas in Tivoli and Anzio, and the relics found at a villa near the village of Piazza Armerina in Sicily, which enhanced appreciation of the skill of Roman copiers of Greek sculpture and of purely Roman works, including mosaics. Intensive excavations at Pompeii and Her-culaneum were accompanied by a highly reliable reconstruction of daily life in those cities. Digs at nearby Stabiae were also fruitful. In Rome, where the Forum of Caesar was studied in great detail, a large necropolis dating from the second and third centuries and containing numerous sarcophagi was uncovered beneath St. Peter’s Church. A wealth of information about Roman urban construction was obtained from excavations at Ostia.

Provincial art centers were carefully studied, including Pam-phylia, Perga, Sidon, and Ephesus in Asia Minor and various sites in the Balkans. A group of Soviet scholars worked at Illyrian Apollonia in Albania under the direction of V. D. Blavat-skii. Works uncovered in Marengo (Lombardy) and Ströbing (Bavaria) have considerably enriched our understanding of Ro-men toreutics. The numerous remains discovered in North Africa, Spain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal have enabled scholars to form a clearer idea of the trends in late Roman architecture, decorative sculpture, and wall painting.

By the mid-20th century scholars were increasingly focusing on individual aspects of Roman artistic culture. In studying Roman architecture, the Italian scholar G. Lugli and the American scholars M. Blake and W. MacDonald have dealt with its innovations in design and construction. The American scholar E. B. Smith has confined himself to the study of symbolism in Roman architecture. The Dutch scholar H. G. Beyen has concentrated on Roman painting, and the American scholar O. J. Brendel has explored specific questions of iconography. Much attention has been given to the Roman sculptured portrait by the German scholars M. Wegner, O. Vessberg, R. West, and B. Schweitzer, by the Danish scholar F. Poulsen, and by the Swedish researcher H. P. L’Orange. The art of the Roman provinces has been extensively studied by the French scholars M. Paubet and J. Roubier, the Swiss F. Stamm, the German (FRG) H. Schoppa, and the Belgian A. Brenet.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s comprehensive works were written by the Italian scholar R. Bianchi Bandinelli and the German (FRG) scholar T. Kraus. Outstanding among such endeavors is the seven-volume Italian Encyclopedia of Ancient Classical and Eastern Art (1958–66), in which ancient Roman works occupy an important place. Of primary interest to contemporary art historians are such questions as the influence of Roman art on medieval European art (studied by the American scholar R. Swift), the relationship between ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman artistic culture, and the innovative elements introduced by Roman masters into the classical tradition.

Although Russian scholarship initially dealt with Roman art chiefly within the context of classical culture as a whole (F. F. Zelinskii, N. P. Kondakov, A. V. Prakhov), since 1910 and especially during the Soviet period many more specialized works on Roman antiquities have appeared. O. F. Val’dgauer, N. E. Yarshina, and B. V. Farmakovskii have worked on Roman portraiture, M. J. Rostovtzeff on landscape painting, and V. D. Blavatskii and N. I. Brunov on architecture. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the collections of Roman art kept in museums of the USSR were published, and general monographs and articles devoted to Roman art as a whole were written by N. N. Britova, A. I. Voshchinina, A. P. Ivanova, S. A. Kaufman, M. M. Koby-lina, V. F. Markuzon, O. Ia. Neverov, N. A. Sidorova, and A. P. Chubova.

For the most important scholarly centers engaged in the study of ancient Rome, as well as the leading periodicals, see GREECE, ANCIENT: The study of ancient Greek culture.


Diligenskii, G. G., and S. L. Utchenko. “Sovetskaia istoriografiia an-tichnostiza401et.” Voprosy istorii, 1958, no. 1.
Frolov, E. D. Russkaia istoriografiia antichnosti (do ser. XIX v.). Leningrad, 1967.
Sandys, J. E. A History of Classical Scholarship, vols. 1–3. Cambridge, 1903–08.
Sidorova, N. A. Novye otkrytiia ν oblasti antichnogo iskusstva. [Moscow, 1965.] Pages 150–203.
Brendel, O. J. “Prolegomena to a Book on Roman Art.” In Memoirs of the American School in Rome, 1953, vol. 21, pp. 9–73.

A. I. NEMIROVSKII (introduction, history), M. L. GASPAROV (literature), and G. I. SOKOLOV (art)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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