ROME Imagine an empire so vast and yet powerful, but then it falls like rain. Also imagine the same empire that controls parts of Africa and Eurasia. One may envision such an empire that is war-like. This empire is known as the Roman Empire. Aside all of the conquests and battles, their art and social life are of extreme significance.
Throughout past decades, archeologists have stumbled across many remarkable findings that gives historians a much needed in-depth look into ancient societies. Spas, glass technology, tax assessors, oils, and other “everyday” items are discovered frequently as archeologists discover and unlock secrets of the past. Therefore, more interest has been in the findings of cultural valuables such as colored marble and the discoveries of ancient Roman shipwrecks. Turkish archeologists may have discovered ruins of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Empire from which emperors ruled much of their known world nearly a thousand years ago. The Turkish made the discovery while cleaning the underground Ottoman chamber in Istanbul.
Constantine built the Great Palace after making city the capital of the Roman Empire in CE 330. It is reported that construction continued at irregular intervals for eight centuries. After construction, the palace was home to more than fifty Byzantine emperors. This monumental palace was also stage for countless intrigues, some of which decided the fate of nations. Speaking of fate, many of the ancient Roman ships did not have much luck traveling the Mediterranean. The rediscovery of a lost ancient Mediterranean trade route, littered with debris of two thousand year-old ship wreckage, shows how new technology is unlocking the secrets of the deep sea.
... sacrifice at the altar on stage. The architecture of ancient Roman theatres were typically Italian in that they were large, ... to thank the very earliest forms of ancient Greek and Roman theatre. These ancient time plays were staged often in honor ... various technology advances since ancient Greek and Roman times. In particular the architecture of ancient Greek, Roman and Elizabethan theatres have ...
The Roman-era shipwrecks were located in the deep sea off the coast of Sicily. The findings could open a new era of deep-sea exploration for archaeologists. Until a year ago, no one had known the exact trade route. The ships represent a virtual sunken museum spanning several centuries of Roman shipping. Robert Ballard, the underwater explorer, and his team have identified at least six vessels and large fields of scattered amphora. Amphora is a jar-like shipping container during the Roman era.
What makes this discovery so unique? Ballard noted that such wrecks are intriguing to archaeologists because most of them have been untouched by people and the cold waters preserves a ship and its contents better than air and warmer, shallower waters. There have been ruins of an ancient Roman city located in Egypt. “The ruins of a city belonging to the Roman Empire built more than approximately seventeen centuries ago have been found near Dakhla oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert. After four years of excavations, an Egyptian-Canadian team recently uncovered ruins of the city, which is made of terra cotta.
The find includes a temple with the name Nero carved in one wall. Dakhla, 340 miles south of Cairo, was a major Egyptian agricultural area during the Roman occupation of Egypt from 30 BCE to 395 CE.” (Guardian, section 1, page 24, col. 7 3/6/98) Speaking of Nero, a fresco find opens a window to the past, which is an amazing discovery. During Nero’s reign, two-thirds of Rome burned. There are no pictorial accounts of the Neronian period, except the fresco. Fresco is the art of painting on fresh plaster with pigments dissolved in water.
The fresco gives one a bird’s eye view of a contemporary city, possibly Rome, and provides a unique insight into urban life at the time of the Emperor Nero. Archaeologists stumbled on the find at the end of a tunnel running under the Colle Optio, a public park opposite the Colosseum, which is frequented by drug addicts and prostitutes. Ms. Elisabeth Carnabuci, an archaeologist, said numerous sites depicted in the painting of a fortified imperial city correspond to the topography of ancient Rome. The fresco, measuring seven feet by nine feet, could give an exceptional visual account of a period previously only glimpsed through the written word. Over time, conquests, battles that leads to expansion can pose many illnesses, especially for the generals and emperors.
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The emperor was weak physically and suffered a lifetime of infirmities. In 23 BCE, according to a contemporary account, he almost died of a diseased liver and presumably would have if not for the restorative power of cold baths in mineral springs. Word of the Emperor’s cure touched off one of antiquity’s long health fads. Cold mineral baths became popular among Romans for at least two centuries. People abandoned the hot springs of Baia e, a spa near Pompeii, and flocked to the cold-water resorts of Gabi i. Digging in Tuscany, archeologists have tapped into a bubbling spring of cold mineral water and excavated the ruins of bathhouse columns and an enormous tile-paved swimming pool.
All this was in the right place and seemed to fit the description of the ancient Roman spa. An inscription near the spa read, “Augustus bathed here.” Mass-produced masterworks have been uncovered from ancient Rome. Rome financed the entire empire, with raw materials and finished products flowing between Alexandria and O libia. The Romans could have been the first group of people to employ manufacturing using short cuts and streamlined technologies that enabled them to mass-produce goods without sacrificing quality. For artisans, taking part in the manufacturing process was a way to gain prestige. Molded glass and marble was common in the manufacturing process.
As depicted by many historians, Romans were snobs about good wine and oil, a depiction stating that the Romans were very artistic and very crafty with cosmetics. Coins of the realm, examples of which are on view, were used to promote the emperors and their conquests or to celebrate a good harvest in Egypt, which fed the Roman population. The empresses, whose portraits also graced the coins, became style-setters for women throughout the empire. A portrait bust of a woman from Asia Minor, who arranged her hair like the Empress Faustino, proves that women were also honored for civic achievements. Wealthy Romans crammed their homes with elegant wares.
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Even Cicero, who considered trade vulgar, was not above buying an artisan’s goods. He viewed it as a means of upward mobility, by which artisans and merchants could make their way from the port to a country estate. Romans were also fond to marble. Marble is considered valuable due to its texture and of course, its beauty. One would only see marble inside the estates of the emperors and a few wealthy citizens. Plain marble is seen throughout the Roman Empire.
There are mosaic clues to an underground Roman villa. Fragments of mosaic have been plowed up in a field near Kent, leading archaeologists to expect important Roman find. A geophysical survey to detect underground structures suggests a large, Roman villa underneath a field. Paul Wilkinson, an archaeologist, spotted the fragments while carrying out a survey for Swale borough council. He suggests that the villa may have belonged to a decurion, a local employed by Romans as an administrator and tax gatherer. The decurion became wealthy, as denoted by Wilkinson.
Just like any other empire in the past, they all fall. The discovery of Roman temples is unique, because as students learn more about the rise and fall of empires, it is seldom if one makes any inquiry about the tombs and temples that are still in existence. One kind of building that was almost always located outside the city was the Roman tomb, which were usually set up beside the major roads leading in and out of the cities. These temples exhibited an extraordinary variety of forms because they reflect the personal tastes of private patrons, usually the wealthiest of the republic. Their main function was to house the bodies or cremated remains of the dead, reminiscent of the Egyptians.
The emperor Augustus, for example, had his huge mausoleum built at Rome between 28 and 23 BCE in the form of a great concrete drum surrounded by a mound, recalling the monumental earthen tumuli of Etruscan times. Across the Tiber, the emperor Hadrian had an even larger mausoleum built around 135-139 CE for himself and his successors. Presently, the tomb is now a fortress, now known as Castel Sant ” Angelo. Gaius Cestus, a wealthy contemporary of Augustus, chose to be buried in a pyramid-like tomb around 15 BCE, while at the same time a successful baker, Marcus Virgil ius Eurysaces, had his tomb decorated with grain measures detailing the various stages in the baking of bread. Slaves that were later freed were usually buried in communal tombs called columbaria in which the ashes of the deceased were deposited in one of multiple small niches marked with simple plaques.
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Great tower tombs were also erected, such as that in honor of the Juli i family. Their mausoleum built about 25 BCE, consists of large base topped by a four-sided arch and a small round temple housing two portrait statues. Burials were also located in mountain cliffs with elaborate facades carved into the sheer faces of the rock, as in the Roman cemetery at Petra, in present-day Jordan. While researching a vast empire that contained infinite ideas along with new technologies of its time, would it be fair to compare the United States of America with ancient Rome? Many experts along with other historians can consider that the two world powers are alike with technological and art advances.
Maybe some time in the future, a succeeding culture will unlock the secrets and innovations of the Americas and other present-day nations that paved the way for their society as the Romans and other civilizations of the past has done for us. The significance of Roman art and architecture had a profound impact not only on the succeeding art of the Middle ages, but on the Renaissance and elaborate periods as well, and even much of the art produced today has obvious roots in the Roman past. Bibliography 1. Waxman, Sharon: Rebooting Ruins of Ancient Rome. Washington Post, Sec G, col. 4, Jan.
11, 1998. 2. Kennedy, Mae: Mosaic Clue to Roman Villa. Guardian, sec 1, pg. 24 col. 7 Mar.
6, 1998. 3. Richard John Neuhaus: The Roman Empire. San Francisco Chronicle, Sec E, pg. 8 col. 1.
May 10, 1998. 4. Brian Jacob: The Emperor Strikes Back. Washington Post, Sec C, pg. 2, col. 5 Aug.
31, 1998. 5. Holland Cotter: Art Review. New York Times, Mar. 3, 1998. 6.
John Noble Wilford: Did augustus Take the Waters Here? Ruin Hint Yes. New York Times, sec f, pg. 1, col. 2.
June 16, 1998. 7. Mike Toner: Uncovering Secrets of Ancient Shipwrecks. New York Times, sec. A, pg. 9 col.
1, Jan. 2, 1998. 8. James T. Yenc kel: Footsteps of the Emperors. New York Times, Sec.
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1, pg. 6, col. 6 Apr. 25, 1997. 9. Philip Will an: Fresco Find.
Guardian, sec. 1, pg. 6, col. 1. July, 10, 199610. Paula De itz: Masterworks from the Ancients.
Atlanta Constitution, Sec. A, pg. 16, col. 1 Jan. 9, 1998.
Keith D. King History 1111 Joe R. White Recent Discoveries About The Roman Empire.