Chapter 7: The Roman Empire



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Chapter 7: The Roman Empire
Preview: The Roman Empire was the most expansive and powerful of the ancient world, and its cultural productions, architectural forms, social and legal structures, and language has indelibly marked the Western world as we know it today. The empire dates from 753, with the establishment of the city of Rome in Italy. The early monarchy gave rise to the Roman Republic, established in 509 BCE. The early Roman Empire dates to 27 BCE and the rule of Augustus, followed by the High Empire of 96-192 CE. The Late Empire, 193-337 CE, came to an end when Constantine, the first Christian emperor, moved the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople. At its height, the Roman Empire spanned three continents, and its former territory is marked by monumental works of art, architecture, and engineering still visible today. Roman sculptors were avid followers of the Ancient Greeks, though they developed a distinctive realist style. Early Roman architecture blended forms from the Etruscans and the Greeks, but the Romans were above all architectural innovators, using concrete on a monumental scale, exploiting the structural possibilities of the arch, vault, and dome, and developing building types such as the basilica and amphitheater.


Key Social & Political Terms: senate, consul, dictator, patricians, plebeian, Augustus, princeps, imperator, pontifex maximus, Pax Romana, castrum, tetrarchy
Key Figures: Severus, Celer, Apollodorus of Damascus, Zenodorus, Iaia of Cyzicus
Key Art Terms: imagines, verism, Cuirass, denarius, apotheosis, damnatio memoriae, decursio, kline, tondi
Key Painting Terms: skenographia, atmospheric perspective, monochromatic, still-life, cestrum, encaustic, tempera, tondo, August Mau, “Pompeian Styles” (First Style [Masonry Style], Second Style, Third Style, Fourth Style)
Key Architectural Terms: concrete, caementa, revetment, forum, cardo, decumanus, Capitolium, basilica, nave, aisles, amphitheater, cavea, arena, exedra, aqueduct, attic, rusticated, incrustation, travertine, triumphal arch, arcuated, Composite capitals, spandrel, taberna, insulae

Temples: Etruscan pattern, pseudo-peripteral, tholos

Houses: patronus, cliens domus, fauces, atrium, impluvium, cubicula, alae, tablinum, triclinium, peristyle garden

Roman concrete construction: concrete, barrel (or tunnel) vault, groin (or cross) vault, pier, clerestory, fenestration, dome, drum, oculus

Baths: tepidarium, caldarium, frigidarium, palaestra, natatio

Lecture Notes:
Introductory Notes:

Roman Republic: Dates _____________

Architecture:


  • Temple of Portunus (Temple of Fortuna Virilis), Rome, Italy, ca. 75 BCE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Temple of Vesta(?), Tivoli, Italy, early first century BCE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, Palestrina, Italy, late second century BCE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Roman concrete construction: barrel vault, groin vault, fenestrated sequence of groin vaults, hemispherical dome with oculus

    • Notes:


Sculpture:

  • Man with portrait busts of his ancestors, from Rome, late first century BCE:

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Head of an old man, from Osimo, mid-first century BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Portrait of a Roman general, from the Sanctuary of Hercules, Tivoli, Italy, ca. 75-50 BCE:

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Denarius with portrait of Julius Caesar, 44 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Funerary relief with portraits of the Gessii, from Rome(?), Italy, ca. 30 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Pompey the Great, ca. 55-50 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject & stylistic features:

  • Funerary procession, Amiternum, ca. 50-1 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject & stylistic features:


Pompeii and the Cities of Vesuvius: Dates______________


Architecture:


  • Forum, Pompeii, Italy, second century BCE and later

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

  • Amphitheater, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 70 BCE

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Brawl in the Pompeii amphitheater, wall painting from House I,3,23, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 60-79 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject/narrative depicted:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Roman House architecture, restored view and plan:

    • General description:

    • Sections & arrangement:

  • Peristyle, House of the Vettii, Pompeii, Italy, second century BCE, rebuilt 62-79 CE:

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

  • Atrium of the House of the Vettii, Pompeii, Italy:

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

Painting:

  • Description of August Mau’s “Pompeian Styles”:

    • First Style:

    • Second Style:

    • Third Style:

    • Fourth Style:

  • First Style wall painting in the fauces of the Samnite House, Herculaneum, Italy, late second century BCE

    • Stylistic features:

  • Dionysiac mystery frieze, Second Style wall paintings in room 5 of the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 60-50 BCE

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Second Style wall paintings from cubiculum M of the Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor, Boscoreale, Italy, ca. 50-40 BCE

    • Subjects:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Gardenscape, Second Style wall paintings, from the Villa of Livia, Primaporta, Italy, ca. 30-20 BCE

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Third Style wall painting, from cubiculum 15 of the Villa of Agrippa Postumus, Boscotrecase, Italy, ca. 10 BCE

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Fourth Style wall paintings in room 78 of the Domus Aurea (Golden House) of Nero, Rome, Italy, 64-68 CE

    • Subjects:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Neptune and Amphitrite, wall mosaic in the summer triclinium of the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, Herculaneum, Italy, ca. 62-79 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subjects:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Woman with stylus, Pompeii, ca. 55-70 CE

    • Subject & stylistic features:

  • Menander, Pompeii, ca. 62-79 CE

    • Subject & stylistic features:

  • Portrait of a husband and wife, wall painting from House VII,2,6, Pompeii, Italy, ca. 70-79 CE

    • Stylistic features:

  • Still life with peaches, detail of a Fourth Style wall painting, from Herculaneum, Italy, ca. 62-79 CE

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:



Early Empire: Dates______________


  • Portrait of Augustus as general, from Primaporta, Italy, early-first-century CE copy of a bronze original of ca. 20 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Portrait bust of Livia, from Arsinoe, Egypt, early first century CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), Rome, Italy, 13-9 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • General description:

    • Subjects/narrative represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Female personification (Tellus?), panel on the east façade of the Ara Pacis Augustae, Rome, Italy, 13-9 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Procession of the imperial family, detail of the south frieze of the Ara Pacis Augustae, Rome, Italy, 13-9 BCE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Forum of Augustus

    • Location:

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:




  • Maison Carrée, Nimes, France, ca. 1-10 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function and significance:




  • Pont-du-Gard, Nimes, France, ca. 16 BCE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Porta Maggiore, Rome, Italy, ca. 50 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Severus and Celer, section and plan of the octagonal hall of the Domus Aurea of Nero, Rome, Italy, 64-68 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater), Rome, Italy, ca. 70-80 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:




  • Portrait of Vespasian, ca. 75-79 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:




  • Portrait bust of a Flavian woman, from Rome, Italy, ca. 90 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:




  • Arch of Titus, Rome, Italy, after 81 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Apotheosis of Titus, after 81 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Location in Arch:

    • Subject:







  • Triumph of Titus, relief panel in the passageway of the Arch of Titus

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:



High Empire: Dates______________


Trajan:


  • Timgad, Algeria, founded 100 CE

    • General description:

    • Features & significance of plan:

  • Forum of Trajan, Rome, Italy, dedicated 112 CE

    • Architect:

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Funerary relief of a circus official, ca. 110-130 CE

    • Description:

    • Subject & significance:

  • Arch of Trajan, Benevento, ca. 114-118 CE

    • Description:

    • Function & significance:

  • Column of Trajan, Forum of Trajan, Rome, Italy, dedicated 112 CE

    • Description:

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject/narrative:

    • Function & significance:

  • Sculptural details, Column of Trajan:

    • Subjects:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Markets of Trajan, Rome, Italy, ca. 100-112 CE

    • Architect:

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

Hadrian:

  • Portrait bust of Hadrian, from Rome, ca. 117-120 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Hadrianic hunting tondi, ca. 130-138 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subjects & stylistic features:

  • Pantheon (exterior), Rome, Italy, 118-125 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Pantheon (interior), Rome, Italy, 118-125 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Sculptural features:

  • Restored cutaway view and lateral section of the Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 118-125 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

  • Canopus and Serapeum, Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli, Italy, ca. 125-128 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Al-Khazneh (Treasury), Petra, Jordan, second century CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:


Ostia:


  • Model of an insula, Ostia, Italy, cecond century CE

    • Description:

  • Insula of the Painted Vaults, Ostia, ca. 200-220 CE

    • Description:

  • Neptune and creatures of the sea, detail of a floor mosaic in the Baths of Neptune, Ostia, Italy, ca. 140 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Funerary relief of a vegetable vendor, from Ostia, Italy, second half of second century CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

The Antonines:

  • Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, pedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius, Rome, Italy, ca. 161 CE

    • Materials/medium:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Decursio, pedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius, Rome, Italy, ca. 161 CE

    • Materials/medium:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, from Rome, Italy, ca. 175 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Commodus as Hercules, ca. 190-192 CE

    • Description:

    • Subject & significance:

  • Sarcophagus with the myth of Orestes, ca. 140-150 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Asiatic sarcophagus with kline portrait of a woman, from Rapolla, near Melfi, Italy, ca. 165-170 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Mummy portrait of a priest of Serapis, from Hawara (Faiyum), Egypt, ca. 140-160 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject represented:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Mummy of Artemidorus, ca. 100-120 CE

    • Description:

    • Function & significance:

  • Young woman, Hawara, ca. 110-120 CE

    • Description:


Late Empire: Dates______________


The Severans:


  • Painted portrait of Septimius Severus and his family, from Egypt, ca. 200 C

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subjects:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Bust of Caracalla, ca. 211-217

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Caracalla, ca. 211-217 CE

    • Description:

  • Chariot procession of Septimius Severus, relief from the attic of the Arch of Septimius Severus, Lepcis Magna, Libya, 203 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Plan of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy, 212-216 CE

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Frigidarium, Baths of Diocletian, Rome, ca. 298-306

    • General description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

The Soldier Emperors


  • Portrait bust of Trajan Decius, 249-251 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Philip the Arabian, 244-249 CE

    • Description, subject & significance:

  • Heroic portrait of Trebonianus Gallus, from Rome, Italy, 251-253 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Battle of Romans and barbarians (Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus), from Rome, Italy, ca. 250-260 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Sarcophagus of a philosopher, ca. 270-280 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Restored view and plan of the Temple of Venus, Baalbek, Lebanon, third century CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:


Diocletian and the Tetrarchy


  • Portraits of the four tetrarchs, from Constantinople, ca. 305 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Palace of Diocletian, Split, Croatia, ca. 298-306

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Function & significance:


Constantine

  • Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy, 312-315 CE

    • Description:

    • Architectural features:

    • Sculptural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Distribution of largess, detail of the north frieze of the Arch of Constantine

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Colossal head of Constantine, from the Basilica Nova, Rome, Italy, ca. 315-330 CE

    • Medium/materials:

    • Size/scale:

    • Subject:

    • Stylistic features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Restored cutaway view of the Basilica Nova, Rome, Italy, ca. 306-312 CE

    • Description & architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Aula Palatina, Trier, Germany, early fourth century CE

    • Description & architectural features:

    • Function & significance:

  • Coin with portrait of Constantine: nummus, 307 CE

    • Materials:

    • Stylistic features:

  • Coin with portrait of Constantine: medallion, ca. 315 CE

    • Materials:

    • Stylistic features:

Concluding notes:


Exercises for Study:

1. Enter the approximate dates for these periods of the Roman Empire, and identify key characteristics of the art and architecture of each:

Monarchy and Republic:

Early Empire:

High Empire:

Late Empire:


2. Write an essay describing how Greek and Etruscan architecture influenced the architecture of the Roman Empire.
3. Describe August Mau’s four “Pompeian Styles” of wall painting.
4. Compare and contrast the following pairs of artworks, using the points of comparison as a guide.

A. Temple of Portunus (Temple of Fortuna Virilis), Rome (Fig. 7-3); Pantheon, Rome (Fig. 7-49)



  • Periods:

  • Architectural features:

  • Function:

B. Portrait of a husband and wife, wall painting from Pompeii (Fig. 7-25); portrait of a priest of Serapis, from Hawara (Faiyum), Egypt (Fig. 7-62)



  • Periods

  • Medium/materials:

  • Stylistic features:

  • Function:

C. Portrait of Augustus as general, from Primaporta (Fig. 7-27); equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, from Rome (Fig. 7-59):



  • Periods

  • Medium/materials

  • Subjects

  • Stylistic features

D. Column of Trajan, Forum of Trajan, Rome (Fig. 7-45); Arch of Constantine, Rome (Fig. 7-75):



  • Periods

  • Architectural features

  • Sculptural features

  • Function

E. Man with portrait busts of his ancestors (Fig. 7-7); portrait bust of a Flavian woman (Fig. 7-39):



  • Periods

  • Subjects

  • Stylistic features

  • Function & significance


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