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ART204 Intro to Roman Art

Rome extends the idea of loyalty to state. Continues the reflection of nationalistic survival concerns we saw in Mesopotamia. Why?

  • We carry animal instinct to kill for survival
  • Fall from grace. On account of Eve and the temptation.
    Nature as suspect, Thus Earth as plane of hell, in need of a higher authority, state or the church.
  • Yahweh and Jehovah: dominate / servant belief system is ok morally, rather than brother/sisterhood.
  • Control of finite resources is necessary in an expanded vulnerable population center, thus hierarchy of authority and class distinction and privileges.
  • Natural evolvement; back up through seals of knowledge, now stuck at 3rd level.

Historically, art reflects the different concepts of:

  • Transcendentalism - prehistory, peaceful, without stress, abundant environment, identity issues in relationship with things.
  • Dictates - Mesopotamia, a move divine to celestial realms, a medium is necessary; higher authority to govern resources with privileged share and access. Will lead to a compromised civilization rather than a integrated culture grounded on concepts of egalitarianism.
  • Humanism - rebirth of Greek and early Christian tenets, enlightenment and revolution.
  • Creative Imagination, postmodern.

In Central Europe, 5th to 3rd BC, with environmental changes and overpopulation, tribes of Germanic peoples have raided to the south, the Italian peninsula and Mediterranean over many centuries. At best, the Roman Empire will provide Roman civil standards, and in a sense protect the Classical Greek civilization from barbarians until after Jesus and Monastery art.

Early victories by the Pagans, in this case a warrior class. When they die in battle they have an easy entrance to their heaven, to set in the banquet halls with their Gods. Also helps population control in the pagan social structure.

Protected by mountains to the north and access to the Mediterranean, Rome is established on the Tiber River with abundant resources.

Rome becomes a strong state under the lineage of patriarchs and Caesars. They learn better war tactics and with superior iron armor, Rome extends its influence north and west into Spain and England, taking many prisoners that join Rome’s army to fight for plebeianship, or the right to own land.

Roman The Republic – 510-27 B.C.
Centuries of unification of city states under Latin rule. With victories in war, the warlords will form families of legionaries who will support Caesar and become the aristocracy.
Slow shift from loyalty to the Don, head of Patrician family, to the state senate, which is mainly, land owners and merchants class.

5th Century BC Etruscan leaders are expelled, Rome becomes a large population center, power struggles between monarchy’s ends with unification through the military.

4th Century BC begins military manifest destiny, battle lines for tactics, not social order.

In 3rd Century BC Empire is extended north to the Alps, south into Africa, west into Spain, France, England and east into Asia Minor. Treasury is filled from booty and taxes. By 2nd century BC the Hellenization of Rome brings Greek aesthetic to Roman art and architecture to meet practical purposes, and to celebrate the roman state.

Patricians are the aristocrats and wealthy merchants, who pass authority down through land ownership and birthrights. Proletariat, the craftsmen and workers enjoy some political reforms and the plebeian, freedmen and slaves displaced from the countryside are continually depressed politically and economically.

2nd Century BC Flourishing of Empire, Hellenization of Rome . Greek aesthetic imposed on Roman needs. Greek philosophy helps elevate peoples search for higher morality in oppressed times.

In 1st century BC order is maintained in conquered territory but not Rome. Growing class distinction, wealth and corruption at the top. Peasants, who moved from the country to the city, now live in impoverished conditions.

Civil disorders lead to struggle between patriarchies and the populous.

Early Christians are practicing their religion in secret, in the catacombs.

Early Empire– 27 BC–96 A. D.
Augustan period establishes monarchy as form of government provides order and end to civil wars reform to middle class, lower class suffers more as workers and warriors are expendable and empire reaches greatest heights by 117 A. D.

Of Augustus Octavian’s descendants many are assassinated, but the bureaucratic process serves the needs of tie, a sufficiency to both classes with tight military rule. The assemblies and senate advises but has no real influence on the dictatorship of the Caesuras.

Tiberius 14-37 A.D. –successor to Augustus, brutal, executions every day.
Caligula 37-41 A.D. – cruel degenerate half insane, assassinated
Claudius 41-54 A.D. – cultured. Jewish support, murdered by wife
Nero 54-68 A.D. – son of Claudius, half insane
Vespasian 69-79 A.D. – dignity restored
Titus 79-80 A.D. – aligned with Jewish merchants, but sacks Jerusalem Dominican 81-96 A.D.- stabilized growth, revolt in Palestine, and British Gaul’s are suppressed, Germany remains independent.
100 300 A.D. General decline
Constantine 300 A. D. - legalizes Christian church.

An alliance is formed, when Julius Caesar takes power.
Defeats Pompey in 60 BC, then Brutus with backing of senate, who lavished his power too much. After Caesar's assassination, the 2nd triumphant is formed. Anthony takes Egypt and Cleopatra. Lepidus takes outlaying territory and Octavious takes Rome.

Anthony and Cleopatra conspire to take all of Rome, but Octavious defeats them, they commit suicide and Octavious proclaims himself Augustus Octavian.

The Empire is established, 43 years of stability with some civil reform, political and artistic development, but with increasing social and economic division and turmoil.

The Early Empire, 14 AD to 180 AD, will establish the height of Roman power and wealth under a linage of Caesar.

27 BC – 96 AD The Empire

Augustus Octavian begins major construction of Roman forums.

50-68 AD
Nero builds public baths and burns Rome, Christian religion is under intense persecutions.

70 AD
Titus takes Jerusalem, builds the coliseums.

Imperial Rome to 400 AD

96 – 180 AD Age of 5 good Emperors.
Rome at height of power under Trojans, who rebuilds Rome's Forum.
Hadrian builds Pantheon and temple of Zeus at Olympia.

The decline begins with increased pressure from invading barbarians, social and civil unrest and intensifying persecution of early Christians.

Late Empire comes to end with Constantine and the sack of Rome in 404 AD

2-300 AD The Demise of Roman Empire

Rome has become corrupt, weakened by debased Epicureanism and over extended territories.
Greater numbers of pagan warriors are attacking each spring. Decentralized, but united against Romans. Their appearance was frightful.
Rome will fall in 410 CE to the Vandals and Huns.

Battle of the Rhine 400 CE. It freezes unexpectedly and the pagans, who had been waiting across the river, defeat the unprepared legions.
Collapse of 1st Holy Roman Empire, as an alliance had been made between the church and the state.
The church was legalized under Constantine in 313 AD.

4th - 5th Century AD Visigoths will side with the Roman church, preventing Attila the Hun, a Mongol, who is conquering from the East from taking Rome. Which had been rebuilt after defeat in 410 AD.

5th - 6th CE - Justinian will preserve Greco / Roman and Christian writings in the east.

5th - 8th C E. Roman Church, different from Early Christian philosophy.
With St. Augustine 300 AD, the Roman church becomes a military force that began takeovers of monastic communities established by early Christians and begins conversion of pagans.

700 CE- Moslem threat met by Germanic feudal lord, Charles Martel.

750.CE- Threat of Vikings, is met by his son Charlemagne who will establish 2nd Holy Roman Empire, the Early Medieval.

Early Roman Developments Affecting the Art.

1) Population increase because pheasants are displaced to the city. Mass unemployment and poverty, leads to need of government for water, roads, and public buildings for bureaucracy, entertainment and baths, public spaces vs. temples.

2) Conquest of ancient cultures who were more developed artistically, causes an eclectic aesthetic superimposed on practical needs of the Roman Empire that reflect loyalty to state vs. individualism, strength rather than grace, fact vs. idealization.

Rome will become the cultural center of Mediterranean and Europe to 1500 AD.
And aesthetically for the most part, the art will suggest concepts of dictates rather than humanism.

Roman Philosophy and Religion

Rome is a growing population center, where a bureaucracy is created to meet these needs. Where loyalty to the state, and workers and warriors are expendable, is enforced by the blade rather than the chalice.

Roman's welcome Greek cults of Isis and Dionysus. A weak priest class, governing the calendars alignment with the celestial.

Early Christians worshiped in secret, in underground catacombs, from before Jesus to 313 AD

By 2nd c BC Roman philosophy is influenced by Greek ideas of Epicureanism. Cosmos is random, no divine or higher mortality, only trust in one's senses to enjoy life. Morality is not linked to divine will, and through contemplation one seeks joy and avoids suffering.

Stoicism: They look for a higher or divine sense of morality, which becomes the metaphor of the heart. To bear with dignity, worldly pathos. And with discipline remain in accordance with the natural laws of the heart, which reflect a sense of morality. Is leaderless until Jesus.

Early Christian beliefs are influenced by Melchizedek, the Essences and Gnostics. Then Roman influences of Cynics, Stoicism, Horatio, Virgil and Cicero.

Roman Pantheon

Early Roman Religion and Philosophy is borrowed from the Etruscans and Greeks. A pantheon of gods and goddesses to watch over the battle, home, hearth, family, agriculture, disease, planting, harvest and the state. Diverse ceremony, no cohesive direction, common use of divinations, oracles, astrology, sacrifices of animals and slaves. Priest class maintains calendar of ceremonies.

Greek Pantheon becomes:

Zeus- to Jupiter
Hera- to Juno; proctor of women, childbirth, and home
Herakles- to Hercules
Apollo- to Mars god of war.
Hermes- to Mercury
Artemis- to Phoebe, the moon
Aphrodite- to Diana, object of love
Dionysus- to Bacchus
Athena to Minerva– arts, elemental spirits
Vesta- virgin of the hearth, to Cinderella

Growing disillusionment with state religion and with deteriorating social values and sense of morality.

The Greek ideas if Epicureanism and stoicism are welcomed.

Roman Art

Reflects practical concerns of the state.

Architecture- temples for public, and privilege private spaces. The use of concrete and arches to build bridges, warehouses, aqueducts, monuments to state, triumphal arches, and memorial columns. Corinthian capital.

Sculpture- to glorify state and, to narrate conquests and authority, less attention to the divine. With more documentary Greco/Roman realism.
Painting- further development of the 3 dimensional illusion of a real time and place.

Greco/Roman Realism. The genre to document real time and place, utilitarian and practical needs of state. Satisfies ego and memory. Physical / Survival issues.
Abstraction To provoke concepts of a Higher authority and power of state in heroic terms.

Formal- reflects durability, permanence.
Expressive- emotion of survival concerns

Survival- dictates of state at expenses of worker/warrior, colonization, nationalism, and divinity of Caesar's.
Identity Chronological age 21-40 years, acquirement and consumption for ego satisfaction.
When axis to heart is destroyed then ego becomes inflated, at the expense of self, others and nature.