Roman Arts and History

Painting, stucco and mosaic

In painting, specifically Roman products of popular reporting can be found in the lost triumphal paintings, which were carried early on in the pageants to honor victorious generals. Wall painting and painted stucco have been around since the 2nd century BC. Passed down from tombs, palaces, nymphaea, houses, villas and palaces, most continuously in the Vesuvius cities (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, Torre Annunziata).

Already in the early excavation period, four Pompeian styles of interior decoration were distinguished, the Roman origin of which became increasingly clear and which were modified as a result of new finds and interpretations. After the decor of the horizontally three-part wall in the first style consisted of painted or stuccoed cuboids, which imitated the cladding with precious stone slabs, began in the early 1st century BC. The second style or architectural style, in which the wall was initially designed as a closed three-part stage facade with columns. Then the »central door« was painted with a mythological scene set in the great outdoors, finally all three »doors« were opened and the illusionistic view of (painted) architecture, landscape and gardens was released. In the late second style, pictures framed by aedicules appeared. The style level formerly known as the candelabra style without spatial illusion is now assigned to the late phase of the second style (around 40–20 / 15 BC). In the third style, the area, decorated with unplastic and at the same time fantastic dividing elements, took on a new meaning. The fourth style takes up the architectural painting of the second style in sophisticated stage-like facades.

Examples of the second style (around 80–20 / 15 BC) were found in Rome on the Palatine Hill in the Griffin House (around 80 BC), the House of Livia and in the House of Augustus (36–27 BC).) discovered in Prima Porta in the Villa of Livia, a little more recently in the Villa Farnesina (around 20 BC). In the 2nd half of the 1st century BC BC also include murals based on Hellenistic models, e. B. from Pompeii, from Boscoreale, from Rome (Odyssey landscapes, around 40 BC) and, already belonging to the third style, from Boscotrecase (11 BC) and Rome (Aldobrandinian wedding). Significant examples of the third style (20/15 BC – 60 AD) show inter alia. the Villa Imperiale in Rome (around 15 BC), the house of the gilded Cupids in Pompeii (Caligulian-Claudian period, before 42 AD), the so-called Villa of Cicero and the house of Lucretius Fronto (both from Claudian -neronic period, after 42 AD). The fourth style appears alongside the third from AD 50; the 1960s are represented in Rome in the wall and ceiling decorations of the Golden House (Domus Aurea) of Nero (after 64 AD), the 1970s in Pompeii (House of the Vettiers) and in Herculaneum (Naples, Museo Archeologico) Nazionale).

Wall painting and stucco decoration (funerary art) are also represented in the 2nd century and, in some cases with a new freshness, in the 3rd century. a. in North Africa, Egypt and Asia Minor, but also in Rome (Mithraeum under Santa Prisca). Examples of the elegant classicist painting of pagan late antiquity are the fragments of erotes and portraits of empresses from the Constantinian palace in Trier. In catacomb painting, the development of Christian motifs and linear flatness can be traced.

Since the 2nd century AD, multi-colored floor mosaics pushed back wall decoration. In addition to purely ornamental (often black and white) mosaics, the mosaics, mostly divided into fields, were decorated with figurative and landscape motifs from mythology and everyday life (circus, etc.). The fine Hellenistic technique (e.g. in Hadrian’s villa) generally gave way to larger stones in a few colors in the 3rd century (e.g. in the palaces of the Baths of Caracalla, around AD 217). The mosaics of Piazza Armerina have the greatest extent. Excellent mosaics can be found in all provinces of the empire up to the 5th century AD, e. B. in Antioch on the Orontes, Constantinople, Constanța, Paphos, Sousse, Carthage, Cologne, Nennig. The wall and dome mosaics of the churches since the 4th century represent a new starting point.

Roman history

Roman history, the history of the ancient city of Rome and the state that it founded.

The area of ​​the future city of Rome is since the 10th / 9th. Century BC Continuously settled; the foundation by Romulus is a legend. Around 575 BC The hill settlements came under Etruscan rule, which united them into a community and made Rome the most important place in Lazio. After the fall of, according to legend, the last of seven kings of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, 509 BC. The Roman republic arose: the Roman patricians (nobility) elected two annual officials (praetors, later called consuls) from their midst; the highest political body was the Senate. The mass of the people (plebeians) fought for equality, which they gradually up to 287 BC. BC achieved.

In terms of foreign policy, Rome was able to expand its power. In the 3rd  Punic War (149–146 BC) Carthage was finally defeated; Rome ruled over Corsica, Spain, the Balearic Islands and North Africa, Macedonia, Greece and Spain, 133 BC. The province of Asia was added.

This included the Roman Empire the entire Mediterranean. However, the rapid rise to world power had caused severe internal crises (e.g. great losses and impoverishment of the Italian peasants who formed the core of the militia army). The social contradictions could not be overcome by the reforms of the Gracches (133 and 121 BC), so that the tensions at first slowly, then z. T. in civil wars, discharged. The numerous wars and uprisings strengthened the position of the generals. 60 BC Caesar, Pompey and Crassus concluded the so-called 1st Triumvirate (Triple Alliance). Eventually, Caesar gained sole rule and was in 44 BC. Dictator for life; this position of power provided the occasion for his assassination (March 15, 44 BC), which triggered a fierce struggle for the succession. Antony, Octavianus (Augustus) and Lepidus formed 43 BC. The 2nd triumvirate, the 42 BC. BC won over the assassins at Philippi. From the battles between the triumvirs Octavianus, who later became Emperor Augustus, emerged as sole ruler. The Roman Empire began with his reign (in 27 BC he was given the title “Augustus”).

Under Emperor Trajan (98–117 AD) the Roman Empire reached its greatest expansion (including the acquisition of the provinces of Dacia, Arabia, Armenia and Mesopotamia). The following emperors directed their policy mainly towards securing the borders (Limes). Marcus Aurelius had, inter alia. to fight against Marcomanni and Parthians.

In the 3rd century the empire came under the soldier emperors raised by the army, among others. due to foreign policy defeats, famines and economic decline to the edge of the abyss. The return to the old gods had Emperor Decius (249-251) order the first systematic persecution of Christians across the empire. Only the reforms of Emperor Diocletian (284–305) were able to consolidate the empire again. The struggle for the succession brought Constantine I, the great, to power (from 324 sole ruler). In 313 he recognized Christianity as legally equated with the old religion and founded the new capital Constantinople (inaugurated in 330). The empire was divided under the sons of Emperor Theodosius I: Arcadius (395-408) received the east (Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire), Honorius (395–423) the west. The west of Rome, weakened by the chaos of the throne, was no longer able to cope with the storms of the Great Migration. In 476 Odoacer (around 430–493) dethroned the last Western Roman emperor Romulus Augustulus (475/476 – after 507/511). The Eastern Roman Empire continued to exist until 1453.

Roman Arts and History