At the dawn of Rome ideas were borrowed from Greek colonist in southern Italy. Once Greek was conquered they adopted a large amount from Greek culture. Greek art, literature, philosophy, and scientific genius symbolized Rome’s peak of Cultural achievement. The mixing of Greek, Hellenistic and Roman traditions created what is called the Greco-Roman Civilization.
Literature, Philosophy, and History
Rome adopted a large amount in the area of literature from the Greeks. Vigril a famous Roman poet attempted to portayed Rome's past as heroic as Greek. He hoped it would spark Rome's patriotism after years of civil war. Often times poets used satirize in their poetry, this is where they would make fun of Roman society. A poet such as Horace would use playful wit and make gentle jokes pertaining to human folly. But poets such as Juvenal and Martial were much more harsh. Historians wished to portray Roman history as victorious and heroic. One such historian named Livy used the same idea as Virgil and brought back times of Rome's triumphed past to draw patriotic feeling. Another historian Tacitus spoke of Augustus and how he destroyed the free rein Rome once had. Rome also borrowed much philosophy from Greek. The Hellenistic idea of Stoicism influenced Roman thinkers. Stoicism represented the importance of Roman duty and acceptance of ones fate.
Art and Architecture
Roman art and architecture was largely influenced by Greek and Etruscan models. Romans stressed realism, they created their pieces with every hair in place. They did break new ground by creating an individuals character. They created statues of soldiers, writers, and emperors. Many Roman sculptures were more idealistic than realistic, an example of they created a statue of Augustus who was neither handsome or imposing into a statue that inspired power and leadership. Many Romans decorated their homes with beautiful pieces of art. Artists would create huge frescoes or mosaics of daily life. Romans aimed for extravagance and grandeur in their architecture. Huge markets, palaces, temples, and stadiums were risen to show Roman power and dignity. The Romans perfected the arch and the column by using concrete as a building material. Using this concrete they created some of the most famous building ever to be built including the Pantheon, which still stands today.
Technology and Science
Romans excelled at engineering. This allowed them to build bridges, roads, and harbors throughout their vast empire. Many roads were constructed so well that they were used for years after the roman empire fell. An amazing feat that the Roman engineers perfected was aqueducts. Wealthy Romans had running water, and every city had public bathes which allowed citizens to wash themselves. Romans left science to the greeks who at this point in time were citizens of the empire. In Alexandria scientists exchanged ideas freely. It was here that Ptolemy proposed his idea that the earth was the center of the universe, this idea was accepted for over 1500 years. Another advancement was made by Galen in the field of medicine. Galen made a text summarizing everything that was known at the time, this remained a standard text for over 1000 years. Romans did not do much original research they put science to good use by making maps, and medical knowledge to help doctors improve the health of the public.
It is said that law and justice is one of the greatest legacies of Roman Society. The law was the base of unity and stability in Rome and influenced the legal systems of Europe and Latin America centuries later. Rome had two systems for its law. The first one was known as the civil law and was for the citizens. Then later on, they came up with a second system called the law of nations which applied to all people under Roman rule including citizens and non-citizens. There were also many principles to Roman law. One is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Another is the person can defend himself against his accusation. One of the last ones is that judges were allowed to interpret laws and were expected to make fair decisions.