Roman Cultural developments
The Roman civilization lasted nearly 1,200 years, and there were a number of cultural developments made during this time. When historians use the word "Roman culture," they will often be referring to the Roman Republic instead of the Roman Empire. The centre for culture for the ancient Romans was the city of Rome, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Forum of Trajan. In addition to this, the Romans would frequently use gymnasiums, public baths, taverns, and even brothels. Virtually all of these things are seen in most Western civilizations today. When it came to architecture, the styles ranged from basic to intricate. While many people had simple homes, the wealthier citizens had country villas. In fact, the word "palace" is taken from the wealthy region of Rome known as Palatine Hill.
Most of the people living in Rome resided in the centre of the city. They lived in places that were called "insulae," which were apartments. During its height, the city of Rome was one of the largest in the world, with a population of well over 1 million people. This would make Rome one of the earliest examples of a megalopolis, or a city that has a population larger than 500,000 people. Because of the loud noises that were made in the streets by iron chariots, Julius Caesar suggested banning chariot traffic, especially during evening hours. A number of historians have found that nearly 20% of the Roman population lived in urban areas.
Virtually all the cities in Rome contained what were called forums, and they also had temples as well. Because of the size of the population, feeding the Roman people was quite challenging. While fruits and vegetables were widely available to most people, meat and fish were considered to be a delicacy. The Romans built advanced aqueducts to bring water to their towns and cities, and many of them have been used even into modern times. While Roman culture is distinct, they were heavily influenced by the Greeks. In fact, some Romans feared that the Greeks would "soften" their own culture. The Greek influence in ancient Rome can be seen in the dress, culture, and architecture. The food that the Romans ate was also directly influenced by the Greeks.
While Latin is the language that is associated with ancient Rome, many Roman writers disdained using it. They would often write in Greek as an alternative. The man was considered to be the head of his household, and he was the absolute ruler of it. Slaves also played an important role in the social structure of Rome. While they did have a few rights, they were at the mercy of their owners. Some slaves were paid money, and once they saved up enough, they could become free. While there were no laws specifically prohibiting the murder or injury or slaves, so who did these things were considered to be insane. While families who were designated as being Patricians were given legal rights, Plebeians were not.
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 14/07/2008