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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Arts, Literature, and Language in Ancient Rome

Arts, Literature, and Language
Rome controlled the Mediterranean region but often looked to Greece for cultural ideas. Roman artists, sculptors, and writers adopted the Greek styles. The ideas of the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle also spread to Rome. In fact, the children of many wealthy families were taught by Greek scholars. As the Roman poet Horace said, Conquered Greece conquered its uncultured conqueror and brought the arts to Rome.

Augustus asked Roman artists and writers to create works that would bring out patriotic feelings among the Roman people. Above all Augustus wanted someone to write an epic to glorify Rome as the Iliad and the Odyssey had glorified Greece. A poet named Virgil (VER*juhl) did just that. Virgil wrote the Aeneid (ih»NEE»uhd), a story about a Trojan, Aeneas, who escapes during the Greek attack on Troy and finds a new home in Italy. In Virgil's telling of early Roman history, Romulus and Remus the legendary founders of Rome are descendants of Aeneas. The Aeneid stirred the feelings of Romans everywhere.

Other writers also made important contributions during this time. Among these were the historian Livy and the poet Horace.

Language also helped bring together the peoples of the Roman Empire. As Roman soldiers traveled through the provinces, they used the Latin language. The Latin alphabet came from the Etruscan alphabet, which was based on the Greek alphabet. Latin came to be used in government and education in all the Roman provinces.

In what ways did the arts and literature help unite the peoples of the Roman Empire?


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