Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC. Then, it was an "empire" (i.e., a great power) long before it had an emperor. The Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves (though with varying degrees of independence from the Roman Senate) and provinces administered by military commanders. It was ruled, not by emperors, but by annually elected magistrates (Roman consuls above all) in conjunction with the Senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which ultimately led to rule by emperors. The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which literally means "command" (though typically in a military sense). Occasionally, successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator (commander), and this is the origin of the word emperor (and empire) since this title (among others) was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession.
Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts, conspiracies, and
constitutional machinery remained in place, Augustus came to predominate it. Although the republic stood in name, contemporaries of Augustus knew it was just a veil and that Augustus had all meaningful authority in Rome. Since his rule ended a century of civil wars and began an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity, he was so loved that he came to hold the power of a monarch de facto if not de jure. During the years of his rule, a new constitutional order emerged (in part organically and in part by design), so that, upon his death, this new constitutional order operated as before when Tiberius
was accepted as the new emperor.
In 117 AD, under the rule of Trajan, the Roman Empire, at its farthest extent, dominated much of the Mediterranean Basin, spanning three continents.
The Barbarian Invasions consisted of the movement of (mainly) ancient Germanic peoples into Roman territory. Even though northern invasions took place throughout the life of the Empire, this period officially began in the 4th century and lasted for many centuries, during which the western territory was under the dominion of foreign northern rulers, a notable one being Charlemagne. Historically, this event marked the transition between classical antiquity and the Middle Ages
In the view of the Greek historian
Dio Cassius, a contemporary observer, the accession of the emperor Commodus in 180 AD marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron"—a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon, to take Commodus' reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.
Late Antiquity. Aurelian (r. 270–275) brought the empire back from the brink and stabilized it. Diocletian completed the work of fully restoring the empire, but declined the role of princeps and became the first emperor to be addressed regularly as domine ("master" or "lord"). Diocletian's reign also brought the empire's most concerted effort against the perceived threat of Christianity, the "Great Persecution"
Diocletian divided the empire into four regions, each ruled by a separate emperor, the
By placing himself under the rule of the Eastern Emperor, rather than naming a puppet emperor of his own, Odoacer ended the Western Empire. He did this by declaring Zeno sole emperor, and placing himself as his nominal subordinate. In reality, Italy was now ruled by Odoacer alone. The Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire by later historians, continued to exist until the reign of Constantine XI Palaiologos. The last Roman emperor died in battle on 29 May 1453 against Mehmed II "the Conqueror" and his Ottoman forces in the final stages of the siege of Constantinople. Mehmed II would himself also claim the title of caesar or Kayser-i Rum in an attempt to claim a connection to the Roman Empire.
epic poem the Aeneid, limitless empire is said to be granted to the Romans by their supreme deity Jupiter. This claim of universal dominion was renewed and perpetuated when the Empire came under Christian rule in the 4th century.[k] In addition to annexing large regions in their quest for empire-building, the Romans were also very large sculptors of their environment who directly altered their geography. For instance, entire forests were cut down to provide enough wood resources for an expanding empire.
The cities of the Roman world in the Imperial Period.
The Empire reached its largest expanse under Trajan (r. 98–117), encompassing an area of 5 million square kilometres. The traditional population estimate of 55–60 million inhabitants accounted for between one-sixth and one-fourth of the world's total population and made it the largest population of any unified political entity in the West until the mid-19th century. Recent demographic studies have argued for a population peak ranging from 70 million to more than 100 million. Each of the three largest cities in the Empire – Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch – was almost twice the size of any European city at the beginning of the 17th century.
Trajan's successor Hadrian adopted a policy of maintaining rather than expanding the empire. Borders (fines) were marked, and the frontiers (limites) patrolled. The most heavily fortified borders were the most unstable.Hadrian's Wall, which separated the Roman world from what was perceived as an ever-present barbarian threat, is the primary surviving monument of this effort.
Romans who received an elite education studied Greek as a literary language, and most men of the governing classes could speak Greek. The Julio-Claudian emperors encouraged high standards of correct Latin (Latinitas), a linguistic movement identified in modern terms as Classical Latin, and favoured Latin for conducting official business.Claudius tried to limit the use of Greek, and on occasion revoked the citizenship of those who lacked Latin, but even in the Senate he drew on his own bilingualism in communicating with Greek-speaking ambassadors.Suetonius quotes him as referring to "our two languages".
In the Eastern empire, laws and official documents were regularly translated into Greek from Latin. The everyday interpenetration of the two languages is indicated by bilingual inscriptions, which sometimes even switch back and forth between Greek and Latin. After all freeborn inhabitants of the empire were universally enfranchised in 212 AD, a great number of Roman citizens would have lacked Latin, though Latin remained a marker of "Romanness."
Among other reforms, the emperor
Justinian engaged in a quixotic effort to reassert the status of Latin as the language of law, even though in his time Latin no longer held any currency as a living language in the East.
References to interpreters indicate the continuing use of local languages other than Greek and Latin, particularly in Egypt, where
dialect of Aramaic for inscriptions, in a striking exception to the rule that Latin was the language of the military.
province of Arabia and dating from 93 to 132 AD, mostly employ Aramaic, the local language, written in Greek characters with Semitic and Latin influences; a petition to the Roman governor, however, was written in Greek.
The dominance of Latin among the literate elite may obscure the continuity of spoken languages, since all cultures within the Roman Empire were predominantly oral.
Indo-European origin. Commonalities in syntax and vocabulary facilitated the adoption of Latin.
After the decentralization of political power in late antiquity, Latin developed locally into branches that became the
Although Greek continued as the language of the Byzantine Empire, linguistic distribution in the East was more complex. A Greek-speaking majority lived in the
Illyrian, although this hypothesis has been challenged by some linguists, who maintain that it derives from Dacian or Thracian. (Illyrian, Dacian, and Thracian, however, may have formed a subgroup or a Sprachbund; see Thraco-Illyrian.) Various Afroasiatic languages—primarily Coptic in Egypt, and Aramaic in Syria and Mesopotamia—were never replaced by Greek. The international use of Greek, however, was one factor enabling the spread of Christianity, as indicated for example by the use of Greek for the Epistles of Paul.
Several references to Gaulish in late antiquity may indicate that it continued to be spoken. In the second century AD there was an explicit recognition of its usage in some legal manners, soothsaying and pharmacology.Sulpicius Severus, writing in the 5th century AD in Gallia Aquitania, noted bilingualism with Gaulish as the first language. The survival of the Galatian dialect in Anatolia akin to that spoken by the Treveri near Trier was attested by Jerome (331–420), who had first-hand knowledge. Much of historical linguistics scholarship postulates that Gaulish was indeed still spoken as late as the mid to late 6th century in France. Despite considerable Romanization of the local material culture, the Gaulish language is held to have survived and had coexisted with spoken Latin during the centuries of Roman rule of Gaul. The last reference to Galatian was made by Cyril of Scythopolis, claiming that an evil spirit had possessed a monk and rendered him able to speak only in Galatian,[l] while the last reference to Gaulish in France was made by Gregory of Tours between 560 and 575, noting that a shrine in Auvergne which "is called Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue" was destroyed and burnt to the ground. After the long period of bilingualism, the emergent Gallo-Romance languages including French were shaped by Gaulish in a number of ways; in the case of French these include loanwords and calques (including oui, the word for "yes"), sound changes, and influences in conjugation and word order.
A multigenerational banquet depicted on a wall painting from Pompeii
(1st century AD)
The Roman Empire was remarkably multicultural, with "a rather astonishing cohesive capacity" to create a sense of shared identity while encompassing diverse peoples within its political system over a long span of time.
racetracks and baths—helped foster a sense of "Romanness".
Roman society had multiple, overlapping
equestrian who exercised greater power than a senator.
The blurring or diffusion of the Republic's more rigid hierarchies led to increased
sodalitates) formed for various purposes: professional and trade guilds, veterans' groups, religious sodalities, drinking and dining clubs, performing arts troupes, and burial societies.
ius Latinum, "Latin right"), but were entitled to legal protections and privileges not enjoyed by those who lacked citizenship. Free people not considered citizens, but living within the Roman world, held status as peregrini, non-Romans. In 212 AD, by means of the edict known as the Constitutio Antoniniana, the emperor Caracalla extended citizenship to all freeborn inhabitants of the empire. This legal egalitarianism would have required a far-reaching revision of existing laws that had distinguished between citizens and non-citizens.
Dressing of a priestess or bride, Roman fresco from Herculaneum
, Italy (30–40 AD)
Freeborn Roman women were considered citizens throughout the Republic and Empire, but did not vote, hold political office, or serve in the military. A mother's citizen status determined that of her children, as indicated by the phrase ex duobus civibus Romanis natos ("children born of two Roman citizens").[m] A Roman woman kept her own family name(nomen) for life. Children most often took the father's name, but in the Imperial period sometimes made their mother's name part of theirs, or even used it instead.
The archaic form of manus marriage in which the woman had been subject to her husband's authority was largely abandoned by the Imperial era, and a married woman retained ownership of any property she brought into the marriage. Technically she remained under her father's legal authority, even though she moved into her husband's home, but when her father died she became legally emancipated. This arrangement was one of the factors in the degree of independence Roman women enjoyed relative to those of many other ancient cultures and up to the modern period: although she had to answer to her father in legal matters, she was free of his direct scrutiny in her daily life, and her husband had no legal power over her. Although it was a point of pride to be a "one-man woman" (univira) who had married only once, there was little stigma attached to divorce, nor to speedy remarriage after the loss of a husband through death or divorce.
Girls had equal inheritance rights with boys if their father died without leaving a will. A Roman mother's right to own property and to dispose of it as she saw fit, including setting the terms of her own will, gave her enormous influence over her sons even when they were adults.
As part of the Augustan programme to restore traditional morality and social order,
ius trium liberorum
Because of their legal status as citizens and the degree to which they could become emancipated, women could own property, enter contracts, and engage in business, including shipping, manufacturing, and lending money. Inscriptions throughout the Empire honour women as benefactors in funding public works, an indication they could acquire and dispose of considerable fortunes; for instance, the Arch of the Sergii was funded by Salvia Postuma, a female member of the family honoured, and the largest building in the forum at Pompeii was funded by Eumachia, a priestess of Venus.
At the time of Augustus, as many as 35% of the people in
Italy were slaves, making Rome one of five historical "slave societies" in which slaves constituted at least a fifth of the population and played a major role in the economy.[n] Slavery was a complex institution that supported traditional Roman social structures as well as contributing economic utility. In urban settings, slaves might be professionals such as teachers, physicians, chefs, and accountants, in addition to the majority of slaves who provided trained or unskilled labour in households or workplaces. Agriculture and industry, such as milling and mining, relied on the exploitation of slaves. Outside Italy, slaves made up on average an estimated 10 to 20% of the population, sparse in Roman Egypt but more concentrated in some Greek areas. Expanding Roman ownership of arable land and industries would have affected preexisting practices of slavery in the provinces.
Although the institution of slavery has often been regarded as waning in the 3rd and 4th centuries, it remained an integral part of Roman society until the 5th century. Slavery ceased gradually in the 6th and 7th centuries along with the decline of urban centres in the West and the disintegration of the complex Imperial economy that had created the demand for it.
Slave holding writing tablets for his master (relief
from a 4th-century sarcophagus)
Laws pertaining to slavery were "extremely intricate".
legal personhood. They could be subjected to forms of corporal punishment not normally exercised on citizens, sexual exploitation, torture, and summary execution. A slave could not as a matter of law be raped since rape could be committed only against people who were free; a slave's rapist had to be prosecuted by the owner for property damage under the Aquilian Law. Slaves had no right to the form of legal marriage called conubium, but their unions were sometimes recognized, and if both were freed they could marry.
Following the Servile Wars of the Republic, legislation under Augustus and his successors shows a driving concern for controlling the threat of rebellions through limiting the size of work groups, and for hunting down fugitive slaves.
Technically, a slave could not own property, but a slave who conducted business might be given access to an individual account or fund (peculium) that he could use as if it were his own. The terms of this account varied depending on the degree of trust and co-operation between owner and slave: a slave with an aptitude for business could be given considerable leeway to generate profit and might be allowed to bequeath the peculium he managed to other slaves of his household. Within a household or workplace, a hierarchy of slaves might exist, with one slave in effect acting as the master of other slaves.
Over time slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters. A bill of sale might contain a clause stipulating that the slave could not be employed for prostitution, as prostitutes in ancient Rome were often slaves. The burgeoning trade in eunuch slaves in the late 1st century AD prompted legislation that prohibited the castration of a slave against his will "for lust or gain."
Roman slavery was not based on
race. Slaves were drawn from all over Europe and the Mediterranean, including Gaul, Hispania, Germany, Britannia, the Balkans, Greece... Generally, slaves in Italy were indigenous Italians, with a minority of foreigners (including both slaves and freedmen) born outside of Italy estimated at 5% of the total in the capital at its peak, where their number was largest. Those from outside of Europe were predominantly of Greek descent, while the Jewish ones never fully assimilated into Roman society, remaining an identifiable minority. These slaves (especially the foreigners) had higher mortality rates and lower birth rates than natives, and were sometimes even subjected to mass expulsions. The average recorded age at death for the slaves of the city of Rome was extraordinarily low: seventeen and a half years (17.2 for males; 17.9 for females).
During the period of republican expansionism when slavery had become pervasive, war captives were a main source of slaves. The range of ethnicities among slaves to some extent reflected that of the armies Rome defeated in war, and the
conquest of Greece brought a number of highly skilled and educated slaves into Rome. Slaves were also traded in markets and sometimes sold by pirates. Infant abandonment and self-enslavement among the poor were other sources.Vernae, by contrast, were "homegrown" slaves born to female slaves within the urban household or on a country estate or farm. Although they had no special legal status, an owner who mistreated or failed to care for his vernae faced social disapproval, as they were considered part of his familia, the family household, and in some cases might actually be the children of free males in the family.
Talented slaves with a knack for business might accumulate a large enough peculium to justify their freedom, or be manumitted for services rendered. Manumission had become frequent enough that in 2 BC a law (Lex Fufia Caninia) limited the number of slaves an owner was allowed to free in his will.
for the freedman Tiberius Claudius Chryseros and two women, probably his wife and daughter
Rome differed from
Greek city-states in allowing freed slaves to become citizens. After manumission, a slave who had belonged to a Roman citizen enjoyed not only passive freedom from ownership, but active political freedom (libertas), including the right to vote. A slave who had acquired libertas was a libertus ("freed person," feminineliberta) in relation to his former master, who then became his patron (patronus): the two parties continued to have customary and legal obligations to each other. As a social class generally, freed slaves were libertini, though later writers used the terms libertus and libertinus interchangeably.
A libertinus was not entitled to hold public office or the highest state priesthoods, but he could play a
cult of the emperor. He could not marry a woman from a family of senatorial rank, nor achieve legitimate senatorial rank himself, but during the early Empire, freedmen held key positions in the government bureaucracy, so much so that Hadrian limited their participation by law.
Any future children of a freedman would be born free, with full rights of citizenship.
The rise of successful freedmen—through either political influence in imperial service or wealth—is a characteristic of early Imperial society. The prosperity of a high-achieving group of freedmen is attested by inscriptions throughout the Empire, and by their ownership of some of the most lavish houses at Pompeii, such as the House of the Vettii. The excesses of nouveau riche freedmen were satirized in the character of Trimalchio in the Satyricon by Petronius, who wrote in the time of Nero. Such individuals, while exceptional, are indicative of the upward social mobility possible in the Empire.
The Latin word ordo (plural ordines) refers to a social distinction that is translated variously into English as "class, order, rank," none of which is exact. One purpose of the
"Senator" was not itself an elected office in ancient Rome; an individual gained admission to the Senate after he had been elected to and served at least one term as an
census. Nero made large gifts of money to a number of senators from old families who had become too impoverished to qualify. Not all men who qualified for the ordo senatorius chose to take a Senate seat, which required legal domicile at Rome. Emperors often filled vacancies in the 600-member body by appointment. A senator's son belonged to the ordo senatorius, but he had to qualify on his own merits for admission to the Senate itself. A senator could be removed for violating moral standards: he was prohibited, for instance, from marrying a freedwoman or fighting in the arena.
In the time of Nero, senators were still primarily from Rome and other parts of
Italy, with some from the Iberian peninsula and southern France; men from the Greek-speaking provinces of the East began to be added under Vespasian. The first senator from the most eastern province, Cappadocia, was admitted under Marcus Aurelius.[o] By the time of the Severan dynasty (193–235), Italians made up less than half the Senate. During the 3rd century, domicile at Rome became impractical, and inscriptions attest to senators who were active in politics and munificence in their homeland (patria).
Senators had an aura of prestige and were the traditional governing class who rose through the
procurators within the Imperial administration.
The rise of provincial men to the senatorial and equestrian orders is an aspect of social mobility in the first three centuries of the Empire. Roman aristocracy was based on competition, and unlike later
European nobility, a Roman family could not maintain its position merely through hereditary succession or having title to lands. Admission to the higher ordines brought distinction and privileges, but also a number of responsibilities. In antiquity, a city depended on its leading citizens to fund public works, events, and services (munera), rather than on tax revenues, which primarily supported the military. Maintaining one's rank required massive personal expenditures. Decurions were so vital for the functioning of cities that in the later Empire, as the ranks of the town councils became depleted, those who had risen to the Senate were encouraged by the central government to give up their seats and return to their hometowns, in an effort to sustain civic life.
In the later Empire, the dignitas ("worth, esteem") that attended on senatorial or equestrian rank was refined further with titles such as vir illustris ("illustrious man"). The appellation clarissimus (Greek lamprotatos) was used to designate the dignitas of certain senators and their immediate family, including women. "Grades" of equestrian status proliferated. Those in Imperial service were ranked by pay grade (sexagenarius, 60,000 sesterces per annum; centenarius, 100,000; ducenarius, 200,000). The title eminentissimus, "most eminent" (Greek exochôtatos) was reserved for equestrians who had been Praetorian prefects. The higher equestrian officials in general were perfectissimi, "most distinguished" (Greek diasêmotatoi), the lower merely egregii, "outstanding" (Greek kratistos).
Condemned man attacked by a leopard in the arena (3rd-century mosaic from Tunisia)
As the republican principle of citizens' equality under the law faded, the symbolic and social privileges of the upper classes led to an informal division of Roman society into those who had acquired greater honours (honestiores) and those who were humbler folk (humiliores). In general, honestiores were the members of the three higher "orders," along with certain military officers.
Forum of Gerasa (Jerash in present-day Jordan), with columns marking a covered walkway (stoa
) for vendor stalls, and a semicircular space for public speaking
The three major elements of the Imperial Roman state were the central government, the military, and the provincial government. The military established control of a territory through war, but after a city or people was brought under treaty, the military mission turned to policing: protecting Roman citizens (after 212 AD, all freeborn inhabitants of the Empire), the agricultural fields that fed them, and religious sites. Without modern instruments of either mass communication or mass destruction, the Romans lacked sufficient manpower or resources to impose their rule through force alone. Cooperation with local power elites was necessary to maintain order, collect information, and extract revenue. The Romans often exploited internal political divisions by supporting one faction over another: in the view of Plutarch, "it was discord between factions within cities that led to the loss of self-governance".
Communities with demonstrated loyalty to Rome retained their own laws, could collect their own taxes locally, and in exceptional cases were exempt from Roman taxation. Legal privileges and relative independence were an incentive to remain in good standing with Rome. Roman government was thus limited, but efficient in its use of the resources available to it.
Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State. The rite of apotheosis (also called consecratio) signified the deceased emperor's deification and acknowledged his role as father of the people similar to the concept of a pater familias soul or Manes being honoured by his sons.
The dominance of the emperor was based on the consolidation of certain powers from several republican offices, including the inviolability of the
censors to manipulate the hierarchy of Roman society. The emperor also made himself the central religious authority as pontifex maximus, and centralized the right to declare war, ratify treaties, and negotiate with foreign leaders. While these functions were clearly defined during the Principate, the emperor's powers over time became less constitutional and more monarchical, culminating in the Dominate.
The emperor was the ultimate authority in policy- and decision-making, but in the early Principate, he was expected to be accessible to individuals from all walks of life and to deal personally with official business and petitions. A bureaucracy formed around him only gradually.
Plotina exercised influence on both her husband Trajan and his successor Hadrian. Her influence was advertised by having her letters on official matters published, as a sign that the emperor was reasonable in his exercise of authority and listened to his people.
Access to the emperor by others might be gained at the daily reception (salutatio), a development of the traditional homage a client paid to his patron; public banquets hosted at the palace; and religious ceremonies. The common people who lacked this access could manifest their general approval or displeasure as a group at the games held in large venues. By the 4th century, as urban centres decayed, the Christian emperors became remote figureheads who issued general rulings, no longer responding to individual petitions.
Although the Senate could do little short of assassination and open rebellion to contravene the will of the emperor, it survived the Augustan restoration and the turbulent Year of the Four Emperors to retain its symbolic political centrality during the Principate. The Senate legitimated the emperor's rule, and the emperor needed the experience of senators as legates (legati) to serve as generals, diplomats, and administrators. A successful career required competence as an administrator and remaining in favour with the emperor, or over time perhaps multiple emperors.
The practical source of an emperor's power and authority was the military. The legionaries were paid by the Imperial treasury, and swore an annual military oath of loyalty to the emperor (sacramentum). The death of an emperor led to a crucial period of uncertainty and crisis. Most emperors indicated their choice of successor, usually a close family member or adopted heir. The new emperor had to seek a swift acknowledgement of his status and authority to stabilize the political landscape. No emperor could hope to survive, much less to reign, without the allegiance and loyalty of the Praetorian Guard and of the legions. To secure their loyalty, several emperors paid the donativum, a monetary reward. In theory, the Senate was entitled to choose the new emperor, but did so mindful of acclamation by the army or Praetorians.
conscripts had exercised their responsibilities as citizens in defending the homeland in a campaign against a specific threat. For Imperial Rome, the military was a full-time career in itself. The Romans expanded their war machine by "organizing the communities that they conquered in Italy into a system that generated huge reservoirs of manpower for their army... Their main demand of all defeated enemies was they provide men for the Roman army every year."
The primary mission of the Roman military of the early empire was to preserve the Pax Romana. The three major divisions of the military were:
The pervasiveness of military garrisons throughout the Empire was a major influence in the process of cultural exchange and
papyri preserving military documents; monuments such as Trajan's Column and triumphal arches, which feature artistic depictions of both fighting men and military machines; the archeology of military burials, battle sites, and camps; and inscriptions, including military diplomas, epitaphs, and dedications.
Through his military reforms, which included consolidating or disbanding units of questionable loyalty, Augustus changed and regularized the legion, down to the hobnail pattern on the soles of army boots. A legion was organized into ten cohorts, each of which comprised six centuries, with a century further made up of ten squads (contubernia); the exact size of the Imperial legion, which is most likely to have been determined by logistics, has been estimated to range from 4,800 to 5,280.
In 9 AD, Germanic tribes wiped out three full legions in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. This disastrous event reduced the number of legions to 25. The total of the legions would later be increased again and for the next 300 years always be a little above or below 30. The army had about 300,000 soldiers in the 1st century, and under 400,000 in the 2nd, "significantly smaller" than the collective armed forces of the territories it conquered. No more than 2% of adult males living in the Empire served in the Imperial army.
Augustus also created the Praetorian Guard: nine cohorts, ostensibly to maintain the public peace, which were garrisoned in Italy. Better paid than the legionaries, the Praetorians served only sixteen years.
The auxilia were recruited from among the non-citizens. Organized in smaller units of roughly cohort strength, they were paid less than the legionaries, and after 25 years of service were rewarded with Roman citizenship, also extended to their sons. According to Tacitus there were roughly as many auxiliaries as there were legionaries. The auxilia thus amounted to around 125,000 men, implying approximately 250 auxiliary regiments. The Roman cavalry of the earliest Empire were primarily from Celtic, Hispanic or Germanic areas. Several aspects of training and equipment, such as the four-horned saddle, derived from the Celts, as noted by Arrian and indicated by archaeology.
North Atlantic coasts, and the Black Sea. Nevertheless, the army was considered the senior and more prestigious branch.
An annexed territory became a
imperial provinces, most notably Roman Egypt. A governor had to make himself accessible to the people he governed, but he could delegate various duties. His staff, however, was minimal: his official attendants (apparitores), including lictors, heralds, messengers, scribes, and bodyguards; legates, both civil and military, usually of equestrian rank; and friends, ranging in age and experience, who accompanied him unofficially.
Other officials were appointed as supervisors of government finances.
procurators, whose authority was originally "extra-judicial and extra-constitutional," managed both state-owned property and the vast personal property of the emperor (res privata). Because Roman government officials were few in number, a provincial who needed help with a legal dispute or criminal case might seek out any Roman perceived to have some official capacity, such as a procurator or a military officer, including centurions down to the lowly stationarii or military police.
ius gentium, the "law of nations" or international law regarded as common and customary among all human communities. If the particulars of provincial law conflicted with Roman law or custom, Roman courts heard appeals, and the emperor held final authority to render a decision.[r]
In the West, law had been administered on a highly localized or tribal basis, and
private property rights may have been a novelty of the Roman era, particularly among Celtic peoples. Roman law facilitated the acquisition of wealth by a pro-Roman elite who found their new privileges as citizens to be advantageous. The extension of universal citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Empire in 212 required the uniform application of Roman law, replacing the local law codes that had applied to non-citizens. Diocletian's efforts to stabilize the Empire after the Crisis of the Third Century included two major compilations of law in four years, the Codex Gregorianus and the Codex Hermogenianus, to guide provincial administrators in setting consistent legal standards.
The pervasive exercise of Roman law throughout Western Europe led to its enormous influence on the Western legal tradition, reflected by the continued use of
Taxation under the Empire amounted to about 5% of the Empire's
indirect taxes, some paid in cash and some in kind. Taxes might be specific to a province, or kinds of properties such as fisheries or salt evaporation ponds; they might be in effect for a limited time. Tax collection was justified by the need to maintain the military, and taxpayers sometimes got a refund if the army captured a surplus of booty. In-kind taxes were accepted from less-monetized areas, particularly those who could supply grain or goods to army camps.
, a religious monument that housed the treasury in ancient Rome
The primary source of direct tax revenue was individuals, who paid a
poll tax and a tax on their land, construed as a tax on its produce or productive capacity. Supplemental forms could be filed by those eligible for certain exemptions; for example, Egyptian farmers could register fields as fallow and tax-exempt depending on flood patterns of the Nile. Tax obligations were determined by the census, which required each head of household to appear before the presiding official and provide a headcount of his household, as well as an accounting of property he owned that was suitable for agriculture or habitation.
A major source of indirect-tax revenue was the portoria, customs and tolls on imports and exports, including among provinces. Special taxes were levied on the slave trade. Towards the end of his reign, Augustus instituted a 4% tax on the sale of slaves, which Nero shifted from the purchaser to the dealers, who responded by raising their prices. An owner who manumitted a slave paid a "freedom tax", calculated at 5% of value.[s]
An inheritance tax of 5% was assessed when Roman citizens above a certain net worth left property to anyone but members of their immediate family. Revenues from the estate tax and from a 1% sales tax on auctions went towards the veterans' pension fund (aerarium militare).
Low taxes helped the Roman aristocracy increase their wealth, which equalled or exceeded the revenues of the central government. An emperor sometimes replenished his treasury by confiscating the estates of the "super-rich", but in the later period, the resistance of the wealthy to paying taxes was one of the factors contributing to the collapse of the Empire.
castrum), throughout the province, and across provincial borders. The Empire is perhaps best thought of as a network of regional economies, based on a form of "political capitalism" in which the state monitored and regulated commerce to assure its own revenues. Economic growth, though not comparable to modern economies, was greater than that of most other societies prior to industrialization.
Socially, economic dynamism opened up one of the avenues of social mobility in the Roman Empire. Social advancement was thus not dependent solely on birth,
collegia) and corporations (corpora) provided support for individuals to succeed through networking, sharing sound business practices, and a willingness to work.
The early Empire was monetized to a near-universal extent, in the sense of using money as a way to express prices and debts. The sestertius (plural sestertii, English "sesterces", symbolized as HS) was the basic unit of reckoning value into the 4th century, though the silver denarius, worth four sesterces, was used also for accounting beginning in the Severan dynasty. The smallest coin commonly circulated was the bronze as (plural aes or asses), one-tenth denarius.Bullion and ingots seem not to have counted as pecunia ("money") and were used only on the frontiers for transacting business or buying property. Romans in the first and second centuries counted coins, rather than weighing them – an indication that the coin was valued on its face, not for its metal content. This tendency towards fiat money led eventually to the debasement of Roman coinage, with consequences in the later Empire. The standardization of money throughout the Empire promoted trade and market integration. The high amount of metal coinage in circulation increased the money supply for trading or saving.
fiduciary currency, general economic anxieties came to a head under Aurelian, and bankers lost confidence in coins legitimately issued by the central government. Despite Diocletian's introduction of the gold solidus and monetary reforms, the credit market of the Empire never recovered its former robustness.
, one of the most important gold mines in the Roman Empire
The main mining regions of the Empire were the Iberian Peninsula (gold, silver, copper, tin, lead); Gaul (gold, silver, iron); Britain (mainly iron, lead, tin), the
underground mining—took place from the reign of Augustus up to the early 3rd century AD, when the instability of the Empire disrupted production. The gold mines of Dacia, for instance, were no longer available for Roman exploitation after the province was surrendered in 271. Mining seems to have resumed to some extent during the 4th century.
tonnes. Copper was produced at an annual rate of 15,000 t, and lead at 80,000 t, both production levels unmatched until the Industrial Revolution; Hispania alone had a 40% share in world lead production. The high lead output was a by-product of extensive silver mining which reached 200 t per annum. At its peak around the mid-2nd century AD, the Roman silver stock is estimated at 10,000 t, five to ten times larger than the combined silver mass of medieval Europe and the Caliphate around 800 AD. As an indication of the scale of Roman metal production, lead pollution in the Greenland ice sheet quadrupled over its prehistoric levels during the Imperial era and dropped again thereafter.
, often assumed to be based on the Roman cursus publicus, the network of state-maintained roads.
The Roman Empire completely encircled the Mediterranean, which they called "our sea" (
mare nostrum). Roman sailing vessels navigated the Mediterranean as well as the major rivers of the Empire, including the Guadalquivir, Ebro, Rhône, Rhine, Tiber and Nile. Transport by water was preferred where possible, and moving commodities by land was more difficult. Vehicles, wheels, and ships indicate the existence of a great number of skilled woodworkers.
Land transport utilized the advanced system of
Roman miles, and tended to grow into villages or trading posts. A mansio (plural mansiones) was a privately run service station franchised by the imperial bureaucracy for the cursus publicus. The support staff at such a facility included muleteers, secretaries, blacksmiths, cartwrights, a veterinarian, and a few military police and couriers. The distance between mansiones was determined by how far a wagon could travel in a day. Mules were the animal most often used for pulling carts, travelling about 4 mph. As an example of the pace of communication, it took a messenger a minimum of nine days to travel to Rome from Mainz in the province of Germania Superior, even on a matter of urgency. In addition to the mansiones, some taverns offered accommodation as well as food and drink; one recorded tab for a stay showed charges for wine, bread, mule feed, and the services of a prostitute.
Roman provinces traded among themselves, but trade extended outside the frontiers to regions
as far away as China and India. The main commodity was grain. Chinese trade was mostly conducted overland through middle men along the Silk Road; Indian trade, however, also occurred by sea from Egyptian ports on the Red Sea. Along these trade paths, the horse, upon which Roman expansion and commerce depended, was one of the main channels through which disease spread. Also in transit for trade were olive oil, various foodstuffs, garum (fish sauce), slaves, ore and manufactured metal objects, fibres and textiles, timber, pottery, glassware, marble, papyrus, spices and materia medica, ivory, pearls, and gemstones.
Though most provinces were capable of producing wine,
Crete. Alexandria, the second-largest city, imported wine from Laodicea in Syria and the Aegean. At the retail level, taverns or specialty wine shops (vinaria) sold wine by the jug for carryout and by the drink on premises, with price ranges reflecting quality.
Labour and occupations
of Veranius Hypsaeus in Pompeii
Inscriptions record 268 different occupations in the city of Rome, and 85 in Pompeii.
Work performed by slaves falls into five general categories: domestic, with epitaphs recording at least 55 different household jobs;
latifundia), these may have been mostly slaves, but throughout the Empire, slave farm labour was probably less important than other forms of dependent labour by people who were technically not enslaved.
Textile and clothing production was a major source of employment. Both textiles and finished garments were traded among the peoples of the Empire, whose products were often named for them or a particular town, rather like a
fullones) and dye workers (coloratores) had their own guilds.Centonarii were guild workers who specialized in textile production and the recycling of old clothes into pieced goods.[t]
Roman hunters during the preparations, set-up of traps, and in-action hunting near Tarraco
Italy is estimated as 40 to 66% higher than in the rest of the Empire, due to tax transfers from the provinces and the concentration of elite income in the heartland. In regard to Italy, "there can be little doubt that the lower classes of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other provincial towns of the Roman Empire enjoyed a high standard of living not equaled again in Western Europe until the 19th century AD".
subsistence. The elite were 1.2–1.7% and the middling "who enjoyed modest, comfortable levels of existence but not extreme wealth amounted to 6–12% (...) while the vast majority lived around subsistence".
Architecture and engineering
Amphitheatres of the Roman Empire
The chief Roman contributions to architecture were the arch, vault and the dome. Even after more than 2,000 years some Roman structures still stand, due in part to sophisticated methods of making cements and concrete.Roman roads are considered the most advanced roads built until the early 19th century. The system of roadways facilitated military policing, communications, and trade. The roads were resistant to floods and other environmental hazards. Even after the collapse of the central government, some roads remained usable for more than a thousand years.
Construction on the Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum
(Italy), began during the reign of Vespasian.
Trajan's bridge over the lower Danube, constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus, which remained for over a millennium the longest bridge to have been built, both in overall span and length.
Epidemics were common in the ancient world, and occasional pandemics in the Roman Empire killed millions of people. The Roman population was unhealthy. About 20 percent of the population—a large percentage by ancient standards—lived in one of hundreds of cities, Rome, with a population estimated at one million, being the largest. The cities were a "demographic sink," even in the best of times. The death rate exceeded the birth rate and a constant in-migration of new residents was necessary to maintain the urban population. Average length of life is estimated at the mid-twenties, and perhaps more than half of children died before reaching adulthood. Dense urban populations and poor sanitation contributed to the dangers of disease. The connectivity by land and sea between the vast territories of the Roman Empire made the transfer of infectious diseases from one region to another easier and more rapid than it was in smaller, more geographically confined societies. The rich were not immune to the unhealthy conditions. Only two of emperor Marcus Aurelius's fourteen children are known to have reached adulthood.
A good indicator of nutrition and the disease burden is the average height of the population. The conclusion of the study of thousands of skeletons is that the average Roman was shorter in stature than the population of pre-Roman societies in Italy and the post-Roman societies in Europe during the Middle Ages. The conclusion of historian Kyle Harper is that "not for the last time in history, a precocious leap forward in social development brought biological reverses."
In the ancient world, a city was viewed as a place that fostered civilization by being "properly designed, ordered, and adorned."
Ara Pacis Augustae) was located there, as was an obelisk imported from Egypt that formed the pointer (gnomon) of a horologium. With its public gardens, the Campus became one of the most attractive places in the city to visit.
City planning and urban lifestyles had been influenced by the Greeks from an early period,
Gerasa altered some aspects of city planning and architecture to conform to imperial ideals, while also expressing their individual identity and regional preeminence. In the areas of the Western Empire inhabited by Celtic-speaking peoples, Rome encouraged the development of urban centres with stone temples, forums, monumental fountains, and amphitheatres, often on or near the sites of the preexisting walled settlements known as oppida.[u] Urbanization in Roman Africa expanded on Greek and Punic cities along the coast.
, England: architectural features above the level of the pillar bases are a later reconstruction.
The network of cities throughout the Empire (coloniae, municipia, civitates or in Greek terms poleis) was a primary cohesive force during the Pax Romana. Romans of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD were encouraged by imperial propaganda to "inculcate the habits of peacetime". As the classicist Clifford Ando has noted:
Most of the cultural appurtenances popularly associated with imperial culture—public cult and its games and civic banquets, competitions for artists, speakers, and athletes, as well as the funding of the great majority of public buildings and public display of art—were financed by private individuals, whose expenditures in this regard helped to justify their economic power and legal and provincial privileges.
Christian polemicist Tertullian declared that the world of the late 2nd century was more orderly and well-cultivated than in earlier times: "Everywhere there are houses, everywhere people, everywhere the res publica, the commonwealth, everywhere life." The decline of cities and civic life in the 4th century, when the wealthy classes were unable or disinclined to support public works, was one sign of the Empire's imminent dissolution.
In the city of Rome, most people lived in multistory apartment buildings (
chariot races and gladiator combat—were aimed primarily at the common people who lived in the insulae.
Similar facilities were constructed in cities throughout the Empire, and some of the best-preserved Roman structures are in Spain, southern France, and northern Africa.
The public baths served hygienic, social and cultural functions. Bathing was the focus of daily socializing in the late afternoon before dinner. Roman baths were distinguished by a series of rooms that offered communal bathing in three temperatures, with varying amenities that might include an exercise and weight-training room, sauna, exfoliation spa (where oils were massaged into the skin and scraped from the body with a strigil), ball court, or outdoor swimming pool. Baths had hypocaust heating: the floors were suspended over hot-air channels that circulated warmth. Mixed nude bathing was not unusual in the early Empire, though some baths may have offered separate facilities or hours for men and women. Public baths were a part of urban culture throughout the provinces, but in the late 4th century, individual tubs began to replace communal bathing. Christians were advised to go to the baths for health and cleanliness, not pleasure, but to avoid the games (ludi), which were part of religious festivals they considered "pagan". Tertullian says that otherwise Christians not only availed themselves of the baths, but participated fully in commerce and society.
Rich families from Rome usually had two or more houses, a townhouse (
images of family ancestors. The houses were located on busy public roads, and ground-level spaces facing the street were often rented out as shops (tabernae). In addition to a kitchen garden—windowboxes might substitute in the insulae—townhouses typically enclosed a peristyle garden that brought a tract of nature, made orderly, within walls.
Birds and fountain within a garden setting, with oscilla (hanging masks)
above, in a painting from Pompeii
The villa by contrast was an escape from the bustle of the city, and in literature represents a lifestyle that balances the civilized pursuit of intellectual and artistic interests (otium) with an appreciation of nature and the agricultural cycle. Ideally a villa commanded a view or vista, carefully framed by the architectural design. It might be located on a working estate, or in a "resort town" situated on the seacoast, such as Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The programme of urban renewal under Augustus, and the growth of Rome's population to as many as 1 million people, was accompanied by a nostalgia for rural life expressed in the arts. Poetry praised the idealized lives of farmers and shepherds. The interiors of houses were often decorated with painted gardens, fountains, landscapes, vegetative ornament, and animals, especially birds and marine life, rendered accurately enough that modern scholars can sometimes identify them by species. The Augustan poet Horace gently satirized the dichotomy of urban and rural values in his fable of the city mouse and the country mouse, which has often been retold as a children's story.
On a more practical level, the central government took an active interest in supporting
economy of scale that sustained urban life and its more specialized division of labour. Small farmers benefited from the development of local markets in towns and trade centres. Agricultural techniques such as crop rotation and selective breeding were disseminated throughout the Empire, and new crops were introduced from one province to another, such as peas and cabbage to Britain.
Bread stall, from a Pompeiian wall painting
Maintaining an affordable food supply to the city of Rome had become a major political issue in the late Republic, when the state began to provide a grain dole (Cura Annonae) to citizens who registered for it. About 200,000–250,000 adult males in Rome received the dole, amounting to about 33 kg. per month, for a per annum total of about 100,000 tons of wheat primarily from Sicily, north Africa, and Egypt. The dole cost at least 15% of state revenues, but improved living conditions and family life among the lower classes, and subsidized the rich by allowing workers to spend more of their earnings on the wine and olive oil produced on the estates of the landowning class.
The grain dole also had symbolic value: it affirmed both the emperor's position as universal benefactor, and the right of all citizens to share in "the fruits of conquest". The annona, public facilities, and spectacular entertainments mitigated the otherwise dreary living conditions of lower-class Romans, and kept social unrest in check. The satirist Juvenal, however, saw "bread and circuses" (panem et circenses) as emblematic of the loss of republican political liberty:
The public has long since cast off its cares: the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses.
An Ostian taberna for eating and drinking; the faded painting over the counter pictured eggs, olives, fruit and radishes.
Most apartments in Rome lacked kitchens, though a charcoal
Carryout and restaurant dining were for the lower classes; fine dining could be sought only at private dinner parties in well-to-do houses with a chef(archimagirus) and trained kitchen staff, or at banquets hosted by social clubs (collegia).
Most people would have consumed at least 70% of their daily
legumes.Puls (pottage) was considered the aboriginal food of the Romans. The basic grain pottage could be elaborated with chopped vegetables, bits of meat, cheese, or herbs to produce dishes similar to polenta or risotto.
Urban populations and the military preferred to consume their grain in the form of bread. Mills and commercial ovens were usually combined in a bakery complex. By the reign of Aurelian, the state had begun to distribute the annona as a daily ration of bread baked in state factories, and added olive oil, wine, and pork to the dole.
The importance of a good diet to health was recognized by medical writers such as
Roman literature focuses on the dining habits of the upper classes, for whom the evening meal (cena) had important social functions. Guests were entertained in a finely decorated dining room (triclinium), often with a view of the peristyle garden. Diners lounged on couches, leaning on the left elbow. By the late Republic, if not earlier, women dined, reclined, and drank wine along with men.
Refined cuisine could be moralized as a sign of either civilized progress or decadent decline. The early Imperial historian Tacitus contrasted the indulgent luxuries of the Roman table in his day with the simplicity of the Germanic diet of fresh wild meat, foraged fruit, and cheese, unadulterated by imported seasonings and elaborate sauces. Most often, because of the importance of landowning in Roman culture, produce—cereals, legumes, vegetables, and fruit—was considered a more civilized form of food than meat. The Mediterranean staples of bread, wine, and oil were sacralized by Roman Christianity, while Germanic meat consumption became a mark of paganism, as it might be the product of animal sacrifice.
Some philosophers and Christians resisted the demands of the body and the pleasures of food, and adopted fasting as an ideal. Food became simpler in general as urban life in the West diminished, trade routes were disrupted, and the rich retreated to the more limited self-sufficiency of their country estates. As an urban lifestyle came to be associated with decadence, the Church formally discouraged gluttony, and hunting and pastoralism were seen as simple, virtuous ways of life.
Circuses were the largest structure regularly built in the Roman world,
circuses and theatres built in cities outside Italy are visible as ruins today. The local ruling elite were responsible for sponsoring spectacles and arena events, which both enhanced their status and drained their resources.
The physical arrangement of the amphitheatre represented the order of Roman society: the emperor presiding in his opulent box; senators and equestrians watching from the advantageous seats reserved for them; women seated at a remove from the action; slaves given the worst places, and everybody else packed in-between. The crowd could call for an outcome by booing or cheering, but the emperor had the final say. Spectacles could quickly become sites of social and political protest, and emperors sometimes had to deploy force to put down crowd unrest, most notoriously at the Nika riots in the year 532, when troops under Justinian slaughtered thousands.
The chariot teams were known by the colours they wore, with the
sports riots. Racing was perilous, but charioteers were among the most celebrated and well-compensated athletes. One star of the sport was Diocles from Lusitania (present-day Portugal), who raced chariots for 24 years and had career earnings of 35 million sesterces. Horses had their fans too, and were commemorated in art and inscriptions, sometimes by name. The design of Roman circuses was developed to assure that no team had an unfair advantage and to minimize collisions (naufragia), which were nonetheless frequent and spectacularly satisfying to the crowd. The races retained a magical aura through their early association with chthonic rituals: circus images were considered protective or lucky, curse tablets have been found buried at the site of racetracks, and charioteers were often suspected of sorcery. Chariot racing continued into the Byzantine period under imperial sponsorship, but the decline of cities in the 6th and 7th centuries led to its eventual demise.
The Romans thought gladiator contests had originated with
sacrifices in which select captive warriors were forced to fight to expiate the deaths of noble Romans. Some of the earliest styles of gladiator fighting had ethnic designations such as "Thracian" or "Gallic". The staged combats were considered munera, "services, offerings, benefactions", initially distinct from the festival games (ludi).
Throughout his 40-year reign, Augustus presented eight gladiator shows in which a total of 10,000 men fought, as well as 26 staged beast hunts that resulted in the deaths of 3,500 animals. To mark the opening of the Colosseum, the emperor Titus presented 100 days of arena events, with 3,000 gladiators competing on a single day. Roman fascination with gladiators is indicated by how widely they are depicted on mosaics, wall paintings, lamps, and in graffiti.
Gladiators were trained combatants who might be slaves, convicts, or free volunteers. Death was not a necessary or even desirable outcome in matches between these highly skilled fighters, whose training represented a costly and time-consuming investment. By contrast, noxii were convicts sentenced to the arena with little or no training, often unarmed, and with no expectation of survival. Physical suffering and humiliation were considered appropriate retributive justice for the crimes they had committed. These executions were sometimes staged or ritualized as re-enactments of myths, and amphitheatres were equipped with elaborate stage machinery to create special effects. Tertullian considered deaths in the arena to be nothing more than a dressed-up form of human sacrifice.
Modern scholars have found the pleasure Romans took in the "theatre of life and death"
martyr literature, however, offers "detailed, indeed luxuriant, descriptions of bodily suffering", and became a popular genre at times indistinguishable from fiction.
Personal training and play
Boys and girls playing ball games (2nd-century relief from the Louvre
In the plural, ludi almost always refers to the large-scale spectator games. The singular ludus, "play, game, sport, training," had a wide range of meanings such as "word play," "theatrical performance," "board game," "primary school," and even "gladiator training school" (as in Ludus Magnus, the largest such training camp at Rome).
Activities for children and young people included hoop rolling and knucklebones (astragali or "jacks"). The sarcophagi of children often show them playing games. Girls had dolls, typically 15–16 cm tall with jointed limbs, made of materials such as wood, terracotta, and especially bone and ivory. Ball games include trigon, which required dexterity, and harpastum, a rougher sport. Pets appear often on children's memorials and in literature, including birds, dogs, cats, goats, sheep, rabbits and geese.
, 4th century
After adolescence, most physical training for males was of a military nature. The Campus Martius originally was an exercise field where young men developed the skills of horsemanship and warfare. Hunting was also considered an appropriate pastime. According to Plutarch, conservative Romans disapproved of Greek-style athletics that promoted a fine body for its own sake, and condemned Nero's efforts to encourage gymnastic games in the Greek manner.
Some women trained as gymnasts and dancers, and a rare few as female gladiators. The famous "Bikini Girls" mosaic shows young women engaging in apparatus routines that might be compared to rhythmic gymnastics.[w] Women, in general, were encouraged to maintain their health through activities such as playing ball, swimming, walking, reading aloud (as a breathing exercise), riding in vehicles, and travel.
Stone game board from Aphrodisias: boards could also be made of wood, with deluxe versions in costly materials such as ivory; game pieces or counters were bone, glass, or polished stone, and might be coloured or have markings or images
People of all ages played board games pitting two players against each other, including latrunculi ("Raiders"), a game of strategy in which opponents coordinated the movements and capture of multiple game pieces, and XII scripta ("Twelve Marks"), involving dice and arranging pieces on a grid of letters or words. A game referred to as alea (dice) or tabula (the board), to which the emperor Claudius was notoriously addicted, may have been similar to backgammon, using a dice-cup (pyrgus). Playing with dice as a form of gambling was disapproved of, but was a popular pastime during the December festival of the Saturnalia with its carnival, norms-overturned atmosphere.
In a status-conscious society like that of the Romans, clothing and personal adornment gave immediate visual clues about the etiquette of interacting with the wearer. Wearing the correct clothing was supposed to reflect a society in good order. The toga was the distinctive national garment of the Roman male citizen, but it was heavy and impractical, worn mainly for conducting political business and religious rites, and for going to court. The clothing Romans wore ordinarily was dark or colourful, and the most common male attire seen daily throughout the provinces would have been tunics, cloaks, and in some regions trousers. The study of how Romans dressed in daily life is complicated by a lack of direct evidence, since portraiture may show the subject in clothing with symbolic value, and surviving textiles from the period are rare.
The Imperial toga was a "vast expanse" of semi-circular white wool that could not be put on and draped correctly without assistance.
curule magistrates, and state priests. Only the emperor could wear an all-purple toga (toga picta).
The basic garment for all Romans, regardless of gender or wealth, was the simple sleeved tunic. The length differed by wearer: a man's reached mid-calf, but a soldier's was somewhat shorter; a woman's fell to her feet, and a child's to its knees. The tunics of poor people and labouring slaves were made from coarse wool in natural, dull shades, with the length determined by the type of work they did. Finer tunics were made of lightweight wool or linen. A man who belonged to the senatorial or equestrian order wore a tunic with two purple stripes (clavi) woven vertically into the fabric: the wider the stripe, the higher the wearer's status. Other garments could be layered over the tunic.
In the 2nd century, emperors and men of status are often portrayed wearing the pallium, an originally Greek mantle (himation) folded tightly around the body. Women are also portrayed in the pallium. Tertullian considered the pallium an appropriate garment both for Christians, in contrast to the toga, and for educated people, since it was associated with philosophers. By the 4th century, the toga had been more or less replaced by the pallium as a garment that embodied social unity.
Roman clothing styles changed over time, though not as rapidly as fashions today. In the Dominate, clothing worn by both soldiers and government bureaucrats became highly decorated, with woven or embroidered stripes (clavi) and circular roundels (orbiculi) applied to tunics and cloaks. These decorative elements consisted of geometrical patterns, stylized plant motifs, and in more elaborate examples, human or animal figures. The use of silk increased, and courtiers of the later Empire wore elaborate silk robes. The militarization of Roman society, and the waning of cultural life based on urban ideals, affected habits of dress: heavy military-style belts were worn by bureaucrats as well as soldiers, and the toga was abandoned.
) within painted architectural panels from the Casa del Naviglio
People visiting or living in Rome or the cities throughout the Empire would have seen art in a range of
funerary commemoration, domestic use, and commerce can show varying degrees of esthetic quality and artistic skill. A wealthy person might advertise his appreciation of culture through painting, sculpture, and decorative arts at his home—though some efforts strike modern viewers and some ancient connoisseurs as strenuous rather than tasteful.Greek art had a profound influence on the Roman tradition, and some of the most famous examples of Greek statues are known only from Roman Imperial versions and the occasional description in a Greek or Latin literary source.
Despite the high value placed on works of art, even famous artists were of low social status among the Greeks and Romans, who regarded artists, artisans, and craftsmen alike as manual labourers. At the same time, the level of skill required to produce quality work was recognized, and even considered a divine gift.
Portraiture, which survives mainly in the medium of sculpture, was the most copious form of imperial art. Portraits during the Augustan period utilize youthful and classical proportions, evolving later into a mixture of realism and idealism. Republican portraits had been characterized by a "warts and all" verism, but as early as the 2nd century BC, the Greek convention of heroic nudity was adopted sometimes for portraying conquering generals. Imperial portrait sculptures may model the head as mature, even craggy, atop a nude or seminude body that is smooth and youthful with perfect musculature; a portrait head might even be added to a body created for another purpose. Clothed in the toga or military regalia, the body communicates rank or sphere of activity, not the characteristics of the individual.
Women of the emperor's family were often depicted dressed as goddesses or divine personifications such as
Fayum mummy portraits, which evoke Egyptian and Roman traditions of commemorating the dead with the realistic painting techniques of the Empire. Marble portrait sculpture would have been painted, and while traces of paint have only rarely survived the centuries, the Fayum portraits indicate why ancient literary sources marvelled at how lifelike artistic representations could be.
The bronze Drunken Satyr, excavated at Herculaneum and exhibited in the 18th century, inspired an interest among later sculptors in similar "carefree" subjects.
Examples of Roman sculpture survive abundantly, though often in damaged or fragmentary condition, including freestanding statues and statuettes in marble, bronze and terracotta, and reliefs from public buildings, temples, and monuments such as the Ara Pacis, Trajan's Column, and the Arch of Titus. Niches in amphitheatres such as the Colosseum were originally filled with statues, and no formal garden was complete without statuary.
Temples housed the cult images of deities, often by famed sculptors. The religiosity of the Romans encouraged the production of decorated altars, small representations of deities for the household shrine or votive offerings, and other pieces for dedicating at temples.
Elaborately carved marble and limestone sarcophagi are characteristic of the 2nd to the 4th centuries with at least 10,000 examples surviving. Although mythological scenes have been most widely studied, sarcophagus relief has been called the "richest single source of Roman iconography," and may also depict the deceased's occupation or life course, military scenes, and other subject matter. The same workshops produced sarcophagi with Jewish or Christian imagery.
Much of what is known of Roman painting is based on the interior decoration of private homes, particularly as preserved at
eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. In addition to decorative borders and panels with geometric or vegetative motifs, wall painting depicts scenes from mythology and the theatre, landscapes and gardens, recreation and spectacles, work and everyday life, and erotic art
Africa Proconsularis (present-day Tunisia), celebrating agricultural success with allegories of the Seasons, vegetation, workers and animals viewable from multiple perspectives in the room (latter 2nd century)
Mosaics are among the most enduring of Roman decorative arts, and are found on the surfaces of floors and other architectural features such as walls, vaulted ceilings, and columns. The most common form is the tessellated mosaic, formed from uniform pieces (tesserae) of materials such as stone and glass. Mosaics were usually crafted on site, but sometimes assembled and shipped as ready-made panels. A mosaic workshop was led by the master artist (pictor) who worked with two grades of assistants.
Figurative mosaics share many themes with painting, and in some cases portray subject matter in almost identical compositions. Although geometric patterns and mythological scenes occur throughout the Empire, regional preferences also find expression. In North Africa, a particularly rich source of mosaics, homeowners often chose scenes of life on their estates, hunting, agriculture, and local wildlife. Plentiful and major examples of Roman mosaics come also from present-day Turkey, Italy, southern France, Spain, and Portugal. More than 300 Antioch mosaics from the 3rd century are known.
Opus sectile is a related technique in which flat stone, usually coloured marble, is cut precisely into shapes from which geometric or figurative patterns are formed. This more difficult technique was highly prized and became especially popular for luxury surfaces in the 4th century, an abundant example of which is the Basilica of Junius Bassus.
Decorative arts for luxury consumers included fine pottery, silver and bronze vessels and implements, and glassware. The manufacture of pottery in a wide range of quality was important to trade and employment, as were the glass and metalworking industries. Imports stimulated new regional centres of production. Southern Gaul became a leading producer of the finer red-gloss pottery (terra sigillata) that was a major item of trade in 1st-century Europe.Glassblowing was regarded by the Romans as originating in Syria in the 1st century BC, and by the 3rd century, Egypt and the Rhineland had become noted for fine glass.
In Roman tradition, borrowed from the Greeks, literary theatre was performed by all-male troupes that used face masks with exaggerated facial expressions that allowed audiences to "see" how a character was feeling. Such masks were occasionally also specific to a particular role, and an actor could then play multiple roles merely by switching masks. Female roles were played by men in
. The circumstances under which Seneca's tragedies were performed are however unclear; scholarly conjectures range from minimally staged readings to full production pageants.
More popular than literary theatre was the genre-defying mimus theatre, which featured scripted scenarios with free improvization, risqué language and jokes, sex scenes, action sequences, and political satire, along with dance numbers, juggling, acrobatics, tightrope walking, striptease, and
story ballet that contained no spoken dialogue. Pantomimus combined expressive dancing, instrumental music and a sung libretto, often mythological, that could be either tragic or comic.
Although sometimes regarded as foreign elements in Roman culture,
Carmen saeculare of Horace, commissioned by Augustus, was performed publicly in 17 BC by a mixed children's choir. Music was thought to reflect the orderliness of the cosmos, and was associated particularly with mathematics and knowledge.
Various woodwinds and
cithara, and percussion. The cornu, a long tubular metal wind instrument that curved around the musician's body, was used for military signals and on parade. These instruments are found in parts of the Empire where they did not originate and indicate that music was among the aspects of Roman culture that spread throughout the provinces. Instruments are widely depicted in Roman art.
The hydraulic pipe organ (
hydraulis) was "one of the most significant technical and musical achievements of antiquity", and accompanied gladiator games and events in the amphitheatre, as well as stage performances. It was among the instruments that the Emperor Nero played.
Although certain forms of dance were disapproved of at times as non-Roman or unmanly, dancing was embedded in religious rituals of archaic Rome, such as those of the dancing armed
Pride in literacy was displayed in portraiture through emblems of reading and writing, as in this example of a couple from Pompeii (Portrait of Terentius Neo
Estimates of the average
binding tablets and other "magic spells", with hundreds of examples collected in the Greek Magical Papyri. The military produced a vast amount of written reports and service records, and literacy in the army was "strikingly high". Urban graffiti, which include literary quotations, and low-quality inscriptions with misspellings and solecisms indicate casual literacy among non-elites.[z] In addition, numeracy was necessary for any form of commerce. Slaves were numerate and literate in significant numbers, and some were highly educated.
Books were expensive, since each copy had to be written out individually on a roll of papyrus (volumen) by scribes who had apprenticed to the trade.
copyright law. A skilled slave copyist (servus litteratus) could be valued as highly as 100,000 sesterces.
was used to inscribe letters into the wax surface for drafts, casual letterwriting, and schoolwork, while texts meant to be permanent were copied onto papyrus.
Collectors amassed personal libraries,
literary canon from which disreputable writers could be excluded. Books considered subversive might be publicly burned, and Domitian crucified copyists for reproducing works deemed treasonous.
Literary texts were often shared aloud at meals or with reading groups. Scholars such as Pliny the Elder engaged in "multitasking" by having works read aloud to them while they dined, bathed or travelled, times during which they might also dictate drafts or notes to their secretaries. The multivolume Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius is an extended exploration of how Romans constructed their literary culture. The reading public (recitationes) expanded from the 1st through the 3rd century, and while those who read for pleasure remained a minority, they were no longer confined to a sophisticated ruling elite, reflecting the social fluidity of the Empire as a whole and giving rise to "consumer literature" meant for entertainment. Illustrated books, including erotica, were popular, but are poorly represented by extant fragments.
A teacher with two students, as a third arrives with his loculus, a writing case that would contain pens, ink pot, and a sponge to correct errors
Traditional Roman education was moral and practical. Stories about great men and women, or cautionary tales about individual failures, were meant to instil Roman values (mores maiorum). Parents and family members were expected to act as role models, and parents who worked for a living passed their skills on to their children, who might also enter apprenticeships for more advanced training in crafts or trades. Formal education was available only to children from families who could pay for it, and the lack of state intervention in access to education contributed to the low rate of literacy.
Young children were attended by a
Julian recalled his pedagogue Mardonius, a Gothiceunuch slave who reared him from the age of 7 to 15, with affection and gratitude. Usually, however, pedagogues received little respect.
Primary education in reading, writing, and arithmetic might take place at home for privileged children whose parents hired or bought a teacher. Others attended a school that was "public," though not state-supported, organized by an individual schoolmaster (ludimagister) who accepted fees from multiple parents.Vernae (homeborn slave children) might share in-home or public schooling. Schools became more numerous during the Empire and increased the opportunities for children to acquire an education. School could be held regularly in a rented space, or in any available public niche, even outdoors. Boys and girls received primary education generally from ages 7 to 12, but classes were not segregated by grade or age. For the socially ambitious, bilingual education in Greek as well as Latin was a must.
Quintilian provides the most extensive theory of primary education in Latin literature. According to Quintilian, each child has in-born ingenium, a talent for learning or linguistic intelligence that is ready to be cultivated and sharpened, as evidenced by the young child's ability to memorize and imitate. The child incapable of learning was rare. To Quintilian, ingenium represented a potential best realized in the social setting of school, and he argued against homeschooling. He also recognized the importance of play in child development,[aa] and disapproved of corporal punishment because it discouraged love of learning—in contrast to the practice in most Roman primary schools of routinely striking children with a cane (ferula) or birch rod for being slow or disruptive.
Academy of Plato
At the age of 14, upperclass males made their
literary canon) as it was a mode of expression and decorum that distinguished those who held social power. The ancient model of rhetorical training—"restraint, coolness under pressure, modesty, and good humour"—endured into the 18th century as a Western educational ideal.
In Latin, illiteratus (Greek agrammatos) could mean both "unable to read and write" and "lacking in cultural awareness or sophistication." Higher education promoted career advancement, particularly for an equestrian in Imperial service: "eloquence and learning were considered marks of a well-bred man and worthy of reward". The poet Horace, for instance, was given a top-notch education by his father, a prosperous former slave.
Urban elites throughout the Empire shared a literary culture embued with Greek educational ideals (
school of Roman law. The cultural movement known as the Second Sophistic (1st–3rd century AD) promoted the assimilation of Greek and Roman social, educational, and esthetic values, and the Greek proclivities for which Nero had been criticized were regarded from the time of Hadrian onward as integral to Imperial culture.
Portrait of a literary woman from Pompeii (ca. 50 AD)
Literate women ranged from cultured aristocrats to girls trained to be
calligraphers and scribes. The "girlfriends" addressed in Augustan love poetry, although fictional, represent an ideal that a desirable woman should be educated, well-versed in the arts, and independent to a frustrating degree. Education seems to have been standard for daughters of the senatorial and equestrian orders during the Empire. A highly educated wife was an asset for the socially ambitious household, but one that Martial regards as an unnecessary luxury.
The woman who achieved the greatest prominence in the ancient world for her learning was
bishop of Alexandria, Cyril, who may have been implicated in her violent death in 415 at the hands of a Christian mob.
Shape of literacy
Literacy began to decline, perhaps dramatically, during the socio-political Crisis of the Third Century. After the Christianization of the Roman Empire the Christians and Church Fathers adopted and used Latin and Greek pagan literature, philosophy and natural science with a vengeance to biblical
With the total triumph of Christianity at the end of the fourth century, the Church might have reacted against Greek pagan learning in general, and Greek philosophy in particular, finding much in the latter that was unacceptable or perhaps even offensive. They might have launched a major effort to suppress pagan learning as a danger to the Church and its doctrines.
But they did not. Why not?
Perhaps it was in the slow dissemination of Christianity. After four centuries as members of a distinct religion, Christians had learned to live with Greek secular learning and to utilize it for their own benefit. Their education was heavily infiltrated by Latin and Greek pagan literature and philosophy... Although Christians found certain aspects of pagan culture and learning unacceptable, they did not view them as a cancer to be cut out of the Christian body.
Julian, the only emperor after the conversion of Constantine to reject Christianity, banned Christians from teaching the classical curriculum, on the grounds that they might corrupt the minds of youth.
While the book roll had emphasized the continuity of the text, the codex format encouraged a "piecemeal" approach to reading by means of citation, fragmented interpretation, and the extraction of maxims.
In the 5th and 6th centuries, due to the
Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantine Empire, reading continued throughout the Middle Ages as reading was of primary importance as an instrument of the Byzantine civilization.
deification of Julius Caesar. Ovid's versions of Greek myths became one of the primary sources of later classical mythology, and his work was so influential in the Middle Ages that the 12th and 13th centuries have been called the "Age of Ovid."
Latin writers were immersed in the Greek literary tradition, and adapted its forms and much of its content, but Romans regarded satire as a genre in which they surpassed the Greeks. Horace wrote verse satires before fashioning himself as an Augustan court poet, and the early Principate also produced the satirists Persius and Juvenal. The Satires of Juvenal offers a lively curmudgeon's perspective on urban society.
The so-called "Silver Age" produced several distinguished writers, including the encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder; his nephew, known as Pliny the Younger; and the historian Tacitus. The Natural History of the elder Pliny, who died during disaster relief efforts in the wake of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, is a vast collection on flora and fauna, gems and minerals, climate, medicine, freaks of nature, works of art, and antiquarian lore. Tacitus's reputation as a literary artist matches or exceeds his value as a historian; his stylistic experimentation produced "one of the most powerful of Latin prose styles."The Twelve Caesars by his contemporary Suetonius is one of the primary sources for imperial biography.
, an ivory box with Biblical imagery (late 4th century)
In the late 4th century,
The City of God against the Pagans, Augustine builds a vision of an eternal, spiritual Rome, a new imperium sine fine
that will outlast the collapsing Empire.
In contrast to the unity of Classical Latin, the literary esthetic of late antiquity has a tessellated quality that has been compared to the mosaics characteristic of the period. A continuing interest in the religious traditions of Rome prior to Christian dominion is found into the 5th century, with the Saturnalia of Macrobius and The Marriage of Philology and Mercury of Martianus Capella. Prominent Latin poets of late antiquity include Ausonius, Prudentius, Claudian, and Sidonius Apollinaris. Ausonius (d. c. 394), the Bordelaise tutor of the emperor Gratian, was at least nominally a Christian, though, throughout his occasionally obscene mixed-genre poems, he retains a literary interest in the Greco-Roman gods and even druidism. The imperial panegyristClaudian (d. 404) was a vir illustris who appears never to have converted. Prudentius (d. c. 413), born in Hispania Tarraconensis and a fervent Christian, was thoroughly versed in the poets of the Classical tradition, and transforms their vision of poetry as a monument of immortality into an expression of the poet's quest for eternal life culminating in Christian salvation.Sidonius (d. 486), a native of Lugdunum, was a Roman senator and bishop of Clermont who cultivated a traditional villa lifestyle as he watched the Western empire succumb to barbarian incursions. His poetry and collected letters offer a unique view of life in late Roman Gaul from the perspective of a man who "survived the end of his world".
Religion in the Roman Empire encompassed the practices and beliefs the Romans regarded as their own, as well as the many
was the emperor.
Roman religion was practical and contractual, based on the principle of
do ut des, "I give that you might give." Religion depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer, ritual, and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma, although Latin literature preserves learned speculation on the nature of the divine and its relation to human affairs. For ordinary Romans, religion was a part of daily life. Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered. Neighbourhood shrines and sacred places such as springs and groves dotted the city. Apuleius (2nd century) described the everyday quality of religion in observing how people who passed a cult place might make a vow or a fruit offering, or merely sit for a while. The Roman calendar was structured around religious observances. In the Imperial era, as many as 135 days of the year were devoted to religious festivals and games (ludi).
Women, slaves, and children all participated in a range of religious activities.
In the wake of the
Hellenistic ruler cult, became one of the major ways Rome advertised its presence in the provinces and cultivated shared cultural identity and loyalty throughout the Empire. Cultural precedent in the Eastern provinces facilitated a rapid dissemination of Imperial cult, extending as far as the Augustan military settlement at Najran, in present-day Saudi Arabia.[ab] Rejection of the state religion became tantamount to treason against the emperor. This was the context for Rome's conflict with Christianity, which Romans variously regarded as a form of atheism and novel superstitio
siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD led to the sacking of the temple and the dispersal of Jewish political power (see Jewish diaspora
Christianity emerged in
Jewish religious sect in the 1st century AD. The religion gradually spread out of Jerusalem, initially establishing major bases in first Antioch, then Alexandria, and over time throughout the Empire as well as beyond. Imperially authorized persecutions were limited and sporadic, with martyrdoms occurring most often under the authority of local officials.
The first persecution by an emperor occurred under Nero, and was confined to the city of Rome. Tacitus reports that after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, some among the population held Nero responsible and that the emperor attempted to deflect blame onto the Christians. After Nero, a major persecution occurred under the emperor Domitian and a persecution in 177 took place at Lugdunum, the Gallo-Roman religious capital. A surviving letter from Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia, to the emperor Trajan describes his persecution and executions of Christians. The Decian persecution of 246–251 was a serious threat to the Church, but ultimately strengthened Christian defiance.Diocletian undertook what was to be the most severe persecution of Christians, lasting from 303 to 311.
In the early 4th century,
Julian attempted to revive traditional public sacrifice and Hellenistic religion, but failed to garner support from the people. His reforms were met by Christian resistance and civic inertia.
From the 2nd century onward, the Church Fathers had begun to condemn the diverse religions practiced throughout the Empire collectively as "pagan." Christians of the fourth century believed the conversion of Constantine showed that Christianity had triumphed over paganism (in Heaven) and little further action besides such rhetoric was necessary: everything was done but the sweeping up in the Christian view. As a result, the fourth century included a focus on heresy as a higher priority than paganism. According to Peter Brown, "In most areas, polytheists were not molested, and apart from a few ugly incidents of local violence, Jewish communities also enjoyed a century of stable, even privileged, existence".: 641–643  There were anti-pagan laws, but they were not generally enforced. Thus, up through the sixth century, there still existed centers of paganism in Athens, Gaza, Alexandria, and elsewhere.
According to recent Jewish scholarship, the approach of toleration that the 'permitted religious' status of the Jews implied was maintained under Christian emperors.
Christian heretics were subject to persecution, coercion and death by both the Roman government and the church throughout Late Antiquity, however, non-Christians were not subject to exclusion from public life or persecution until the sixth century reigns of Justin and Justinian I. Rome's original religious hierarchy and many aspects of its ritual influenced Christian forms,
and many pre-Christian beliefs and practices survived in Christian festivals and local traditions.
When the Ottomans, who based their state on the Byzantine model, took Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II established his capital there and claimed to sit on the throne of the Roman Empire. He even launched an invasion of Otranto, located in Southern Italy, with the purpose of re-uniting the Empire, which was aborted by his death. Mehmed II also invited European artists to his capital, including Gentile Bellini.
In the medieval West, "Roman" came to mean the church and the Pope of Rome. The Greek form
Eastern Roman Empire and is still used by Greeks in addition to their common appellation.
The Roman Empire's territorial legacy of controlling the Italian peninsula would influence
^Fig. 1. Regions east of the Euphrates river were held only in the years 116–117.
East and West–an arrangement that periodically returned until the two halves were permanently divided in 395. Although the halves were independent in practice, the Romans continued to consider the Roman Empire to be a single undivided state with two co-equal emperors until the fall of the western half in 476/480. Although emperors at times governed from other cities (notably Mediolanum and Ravenna in the West and Nicomedia in the East), Rome remained the de jure capital of the entire Roman Empire until Emperor Constantine I transferred the capital to Constantinople ("New Rome") in 330, henceforth the new capital of the entire empire. For a time, mostly over the course of the later decades of the fourth century, Rome continued to hold greater symbolic status on account of its greater antiquity as imperial capital. From at least 361 onwards, senators belonging to the new senate in Constantinople enjoyed the same status and privileges as senators of the Roman Senate, to which the new senate was largely identical. By 450, Constantinople was much grander in size and adornment than Rome and unquestionably senior in status.
^In 1204, the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople and established the Latin Empire. The city remained under foreign rule until 1261, when it was captured by the Empire of Nicaea (a Byzantine/Roman successor state). Nicaea is usually considered the "legitimate" continuation of the Roman Empire during the "interregnum" 1204–1261 (over its rivals in Trebizond and Thessalonica) since it managed to retake Constantinople. Whether there was an interregnum at all is debatable given that the crusaders envisioned the Latin Empire to be the same empire as its predecessor (and not a new state).
^The final emperor to rule over all of the Empire's territories before its conversion to a diarchy.
^Traditionally the final emperor of the Western empire.
^Final ruler to be universally recognized as Roman emperor, including by the surviving empire in the East, the Papacy, and by kingdoms in Western Europe.
^Abbreviated "HS". Prices and values are usually expressed in sesterces; see #Currency and banking for currency denominations by period.
Ottoman Turkish: دولت علنإه روم, lit. 'Exalted State of Rome'). In this sense, it could be argued that a "Roman" Empire survived until the early 20th century.
The City of God. See also Fears, J. Rufus (1981), "The Cult of Jupiter and Roman Imperial Ideology", Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, vol. II, no. 17.1, p. 136, on how Classical Roman ideology influenced Christian Imperial doctrine, Bang, Peter Fibiger (2011), "The King of Kings: Universal Hegemony, Imperial Power, and a New Comparative History of Rome", The Roman Empire in Context: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, John Wiley & Sons and the Greek concept of globalism (oikouménē
^εἰ δὲ πάνυ ἐβιάζετο, Γαλατιστὶ ἐφθέγγετο. 'If he was forced to, he spoke in Galatian'.
^The civis ("citizen") stands in explicit contrast to a peregrina, a foreign or non-Roman woman In the form of legal marriage called conubium, the father's legal status determined the child's, but conubium required that both spouses be free citizens. A soldier, for instance, was banned from marrying while in service, but if he formed a long-term union with a local woman while stationed in the provinces, he could marry her legally after he was discharged, and any children they had would be considered the offspring of citizens—in effect granting the woman retroactive citizenship. The ban was in place from the time of Augustus until it was rescinded by Septimius Severus in 197 AD.
^That senator was Tiberius Claudius Gordianus
^The relation of the equestrian order to the "public horse" and Roman cavalry parades and demonstrations (such as the Lusus Troiae) is complex, but those who participated in the latter seem, for instance, to have been the equites who were accorded the high-status (and quite limited) seating at the theatre by the Lex Roscia theatralis. Senators could not possess the "public horse."
^Ancient Gades, in Roman Spain (now Cádiz), and Patavium, in the Celtic north of Italy (now Padua), were atypically wealthy cities, and having 500 equestrians in one city was unusual.
Contrebian water rights heard by G. Valerius Flaccus as governor of Hispania
in the 90s–80s BC.
^This was the vicesima libertatis, "the twentieth for freedom"
^The college of centonarii is an elusive topic in scholarship, since they are also widely attested as urban firefighters. Historian Jinyu Liu sees them as "primarily tradesmen and/or manufacturers engaged in the production and distribution of low- or medium-quality woolen textiles and clothing, including felt and its products."
^Julius Caesar first applied the Latin word oppidum to this type of settlement, and even called Avaricum (Bourges, France), a center of the Bituriges, an urbs, "city." Archaeology indicates that oppida were centers of religion, trade (including import/export), and industrial production, walled for the purposes of defense, but they may not have been inhabited by concentrated populations year-round.
^Scholars are divided in their relative emphasis on the athletic and dance elements of these exercises: Lee, H. (1984). "Athletics and the Bikini Girls from Piazza Armerina". Stadion. 10: 45–75. sees them as gymnasts, while Torelli thinks they are dancers at the games.
^By Michael Rostovtzeff, as noted by Jensen, Robin M. (1999). The Dura-Europos Synagogue, Early-Christian Art and Religious Life in Dura Europos. Jews, Christians and Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue: Cultural Interaction during the Greco-Roman Period. Routledge. p. 154. buried and preserved in the mid-3rd century after the city was destroyed by Persians.
^Clifford Ando posed the question as "what good would 'posted edicts' do in a world of low literacy?'.
with aggressive messages: Phang, "Military Documents, Languages, and Literacy," p. 300.
^Bloomer, W. Martin (2011) The School of Rome: Latin Studies and the Origins of Liberal Education (University of California Press, 2011), pp. 93–99; Morgan, Literate Education in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds, p. 250. Quintilian uses the metaphor acuere ingenium, "to sharpen talent," as well as agricultural metaphors.
caesareum at Najaran was possibly known later as the "Kaaba of Najran"
^For an overview of the representation of Roman religion in early Christian authors, see R.P.C. Hanson, "The Christian Attitude to Pagan Religions up to the Time of Constantine the Great," and Carlos A. Contreras, "Christian Views of Paganism," in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.23.1 (1980) 871–1022.
^"This mentality," notes John T. Koch, "lay at the core of the genius of cultural assimilation which made the Roman Empire possible"; entry on "Interpretatio romana," in Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio, 2006), p. 974.
^Gibbon, Edward (1776). "Gothic Kingdom of Italy.—Part II."(ebook). In Widger, David (ed.). History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. Harper & Brothers – via Project Gutenberg. The patrician Orestes had married the daughter of Count Romulus, of Petovio in Noricum: the name of Augustus, notwithstanding the jealousy of power, was known at Aquileia as a familiar surname; and the appellations of the two great founders, of the city and of the monarchy, were thus strangely united in the last of their successors.", "The life of this inoffensive youth was spared by the generous clemency of Odoacer; who dismissed him, with his whole family, from the Imperial palace.
^Gibbon, Edward (1776). "Gothic Kingdom of Italy.—Part II.". The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 11 February 2020. The republic (they repeat that name without a blush) might safely confide in the civil and military virtues of Odoacer; and they humbly request, that the emperor would invest him with the title of Patrician, and the administration of the diocese of Italy. ...His vanity was gratified by the title of sole emperor, and by the statues erected to his honor in the several quarters of Rome; ...He entertained a friendly, though ambiguous, correspondence with the patrician Odoacer; and he gratefully accepted the Imperial ensigns.
^Ozgen, Korkut. "Mehmet II". TheOttomans.org. Retrieved 3 April 2007.; Cartwright, Mark (23 January 2018). "1453: The Fall of Constantinople". World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
^Woolf, Greg, ed. (2003). Cambridge Illustrated History of the Roman World. Ivy Press. p. 340.; Opper, Thorsten (2008). Hadrian: Empire and Conflict. Harvard University Press. p. 64.; Fields, Nic (2003). Hadrian's Wall AD 122–410, which was, of course, at the bottom of Hadrian's garden. Osprey Publishing. p. 35.
^Sala, Marius; Posner, Rebecca. "Romance languages". Britannica. Britannica. Retrieved 11 February 2020. By the beginning of the 21st century, some 920 million people claimed a Romance language as their mother tongue.
. Le déclin du Gaulois et sa disparition ne s'expliquent pas seulement par des pratiques culturelles spécifiques: Lorsque les Romains conduits par César envahirent la Gaule, au 1er siecle avant J.-C., celle-ci romanisa de manière progressive et profonde. Pendant près de 500 ans, la fameuse période gallo-romaine, le gaulois et le latin parlé coexistèrent; au VIe siècle encore; le temoignage de Grégoire de Tours atteste la survivance de la langue gauloise.
^Vita S. Euthymii 55; after Eugenio Luján, 'The Galatian Place Names in Ptolemy', in: Javier de Hoz, Eugenio R. Luján, Patrick Sims-Williams (eds.), New Approaches to Celtic Place-Names in Ptolemy's Geography, Madrid: Ediciones Clásicas 2005, 264.
^Hist. Franc., book I, 32 Veniens vero Arvernos, delubrum illud, quod Gallica lingua Vasso Galatæ vocant, incendit, diruit, atque subvertit. And coming to Clermont [to the Arverni] he set on fire, overthrew and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso Galatæ in the Gallic tongue,
^ abcMatasovic, Ranko (2007). "Insular Celtic as a Language Area". Papers from the Workship within the Framework of the XIII International Congress of Celtic Studies. The Celtic Languages in Contact: 106.
^ abSavignac, Jean-Paul (2004). Dictionnaire Français-Gaulois. La Différence. p. 26.
^Guiter, Henri (1995). Bochnakowa, Anna; Widlak, Stanislan (eds.). Sur le substrat gaulois dans la Romania. Munus amicitae. Studia linguistica in honorem Witoldi Manczak septuagenarii. Krakow.; Roegiest, Eugeen (2006). Vers les sources des langues romanes: Un itinéraire linguistique à travers la Romania. Acco. p. 83.
^Saller, Richard P. (2002) . Personal Patronage under the Early Empire. Cambridge University Press. pp. 123, 176, 183.; Duncan, Anne (2006). Performance and Identity in the Classical World. Cambridge University Press. p. 164.
^Reinhold, Meyer (2002). Studies in Classical History and Society. Oxford University Press. p. 25ff, 42.
^Phang, Sara Elise (2001). The Marriage of Roman Soldiers (13 B.C.–A.D. 235): Law and Family in the Imperial Army. Brill. p. 2.; Southern, Pat (2006). The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History. Oxford University Press. p. 144.
^Johnston, David (1999). "3.3". Roman Law in Context. Cambridge University Press.; Frier & McGinn (2004), Ch. IV; Thomas, Yan (1991). The Division of the Sexes in Roman Law. A History of Women from Ancient Goddesses to Christian Saints. Harvard University Press. p. 134.
^Abusch, Ra'anan (2003). Circumcision and Castration under Roman Law in the Early Empire. The Covenant of Circumcision: New Perspectives on an Ancient Jewish Rite. Brandeis University Press. pp. 77–78.; Schäfer, Peter (2003) . The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World. Routledge. p. 150.
^Boardman (2000), pp. 215, 221–222; Millar (2012), p. 88, The standard complement of 600 was flexible; twenty quaestors, for instance, held office each year and were thus admitted to the Senate regardless of whether there were "open" seats
^Potter (2009), pp. 177–179, Most government records that are preserved come from Roman Egypt, where the climate preserved the papyri..
^Potter (2009), p. 179, The exclusion of Egypt from the senatorial provinces dates to the rise of Octavian before he became Augustus: Egypt had been the stronghold of his last opposition, Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra..
^Fears, J. Rufus (1981). The Theology of Victory at Rome: Approaches and Problem. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. II.17.2. pp. 752, 824., Fears, J. Rufus (1981). The Cult of Virtues and Roman Imperial Ideology. Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Vol. II.17.2. p. 908.
^Harris (2010); Andreau, Jean (1999). Banking and Business in the Roman World. Cambridge University Press. p. 2.
^MacDonald, William L. (1982). The Architecture of the Roman Empire. Yale University Press. fig. 131B.; Lechtman, H. N.; Hobbs, L. W. (1987). "Roman Concrete and the Roman Architectural Revolution". Ceramics and Civilization. 3: 81–128.
^Raja, Rubina (2012). Urban Development and Regional Identity in the Eastern Roman Provinces 50 BC–AD 250. Museum Tusculanum Press. pp. 215–218.; Sperber, Daniel (1998). The City in Roman Palestine. Oxford University Press.
.; Collis, John (2000). 'Celtic' Oppida. A Comparative Study of Thirty City-state Cultures. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. pp. 229–238.; Celtic Chiefdom, Celtic State: The Evolution of Complex Social Systems. Cambridge University Press. 1999 . p. 61.
^Horace. Satire. p. 2.6.; Holzberg, Niklas (2002). The Ancient Fable: An Introduction. Indiana University Press. p. 35.; Bovie, Smith Palmer (2002). Introduction to Horace. Satires and Epistles. University of Chicago Press. pp. 92–93.
^Keane, Catherine (2006). Figuring Genre in Roman Satire. Oxford University Press. p. 36.; Köhne, Eckhart (2000). Bread and Circuses: The Politics of Entertainment. Gladiators and Caesars: The Power of Spectacle in Ancient Rome. University of California Press. p. 8.
^Franklin, James L. Jr. (2001). Pompeis Difficile Est: Studies in the Political Life of Imperial Pompeii. University of Michigan Press. p. 137.; Laurence, Ray (2007). Roman Pompeii: Space and Society. Routledge. p. 173., recounted by Tacitus. Annals. p. 14.17.
^Beard, Mary; North, J.A.; Price, S.R.F. (1998). Religions of Rome: A History. Cambridge University Press. p. 66.
^Humphrey (1986), pp. 544, 558; Bouché-Leclercq, Auguste (1886). Manuel des Institutions Romaines. Hachette. p. 549.; Purificazione. Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum. LIMC. 2004. p. 83.
^Dyson (2010), pp. 238–239; Auguet (2012), p. 144; Dickie, Matthew (2001). Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World. Routledge. pp. 282–287.; D'Ambra, Eva (2007). Racing with Death: Circus Sarcophagi and the Commemoration of Children in Roman Italy. Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy. American School of Classical Studies at Athens. pp. 348–349.; Rüpke (2007), p. 289
^Bowersock, G.W. (1995). Martyrdom and Rome. Cambridge University Press. pp. 25–26.; Cavallo & Chartier (1999), p. 79; Huber-Rebenich, Gerlinde (1999). Hagiographic Fiction as Entertainment. Latin Fiction: The Latin Novel in Context. Routledge. pp. 158–178.; Llewelyn, S.R.; Nobbs, A.M. (2002). The Earliest Dated Reference to Sunday in the Papyri. New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 109.; Hildebrandt, Henrik (2006). Early Christianity in Roman Pannonia—Fact or Fiction?. Studia Patristica: Papers Presented at the Fourteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 2003. Peeters. pp. 59–64.; Ando (2000), p. 382
^Oxford Latin Dictionary (reprint ed.). Clarendon Press. 1985 . pp. 1048–1049.; Habinek (2005), pp. 5, 143
^Hachlili, Rachel (1998). Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology in the Diaspora. Brill. p. 96ff.; Schreckenberg, Heinz; Schubert, Kurt (1991). Jewish Historiography and Iconography in Early and Medieval Christianity. Fortress Press. p. 171ff.
^Richlin, Amy (1993). "Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men". Journal of the History of Sexuality. 3 (4): 539–540.
^Csapo, Eric; Slater, William J. (1994). The Context of Ancient Drama. University of Michigan Press. p. 377.
^MacMullen, Ramsay (1984). Christianizing the Roman Empire: (A. D. 100–400). Yale University Press. pp. 74–75, 84.
^As quoted by Alcuin, Epistula 175 (Nescit homo, qui histriones et mimos et saltatores introduct in domum suam, quam magna eos immundorum sequitur turba spiritum); Hen, Yitzhak (1995). Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul, AD 481–751. Brill. p. 230.
^Beard, Mary (1991). Ancient Literacy and the Written Word in Roman Religion. Literacy in the Roman World. University of Michigan Press. p. 59ff.; Dickie, Matthew (2001). Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World. Routledge. pp. 94–95, 181–182, 196.; Potter (2009), p. 555; Harris (1989), pp. 29, 218–219
^Phang, Sara Elise (2011). Military Documents, Languages, and Literacy. A Companion to the Roman Army. Blackwell. pp. 286–301.
^Cavallo & Chartier (1999), p. 71; Marshall (1976), p. 253, citing on the book trade in the provinces Pliny the Younger, Epistulae 9.11.2; Martial Epigrams 7.88; Horace, Carmina 2.20.13f. and Ars Poetica 345; Ovid, Tristia 4.9.21 and 4.10.128; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 35.2.11; Sidonius, Epistulae 9.7.1.
^Armstrong, David (2010). The Biographical and Social Foundations of Horace's Poetic Voice. A Companion to Horace. Blackwell. p. 11.; Lyne, R.O.A.M. (1995). Horace: Beyond the Public Poetry. Yale University Press. pp. 2–3.; Peachin (2011), p. 94
^The wide-ranging 21st-century scholarship on the Second Sophistic includes Goldhill, Simon (2001). Being Greek under Rome: Cultural Identity, the Second Sophistic and the Development of Empire. Cambridge University Press.; Borg, Barbara E., ed. (2004). Paideia: The World of the Second Sophistic. De Gruyter.; Whitmarsh, Tim (2005). The Second Sophistic. Oxford University Press.
^ abHabinek, Thomas N. (1998). The Politics of Latin Literature: Writing, Identity, and Empire in Ancient Rome. Princeton University Press. pp. 122–123.
^James, Sharon L. (2003). Learned Girls and Male Persuasion: Gender and Reading in Roman Love Elegy. University of California Press. pp. 21–25.; Johnson, W.R. (2012). Propertius. A Companion to Roman Love Elegy. Blackwell. pp. 42–43.; James, Sharon L. (2012). Elegy and New Comedy. A Companion to Roman Love Elegy. Blackwell. p. 262.
^Bunson, Matthew (1995). A Dictionary of the Roman Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 246.
^جواد علي, المفصل في تاريخ العرب قبل الإسلام (Jawad Ali, Al-Mufassal fi Tarikh Al-'Arab Qabl Al-Islam; "Commentary on the History of the Arabs Before Islam"), Baghdad, 1955–1983; Harland, P. (2003). Imperial Cults within Local Cultural Life: Associations in Roman Asia. (originally published in) Ancient History Bulletin / Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte). Vol. 17. pp. 91–103.
^Rüpke (2007), p. 4; Isaac, Benjamin H. (2004). The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity. Princeton University Press. p. 449.; Frend, W.H.C. (1967). Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church: A Study of Conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus. Doubleday. p. 106.; Huskinson, Janet (2000). Experiencing Rome: Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire. Routledge. p. 261.. See, for instance, the altar dedicated by a Roman citizen and depicting a sacrifice conducted in the Roman manner for the Germanic goddess Vagdavercustis in the 2nd century AD.
^Salzman, Michele Renee (1993). "The Evidence for the Conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity in Book 16 of the 'Theodosian Code". Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte. Franz Steiner Verlag. 42 (3): 362–378.
Edmondson, J.C. (1996). "Dynamic Arenas: Gladiatorial Presentations in the City of Rome and the Construction of Roman Society during the Early Empire". Roman Theater and Society. University of Michigan Press.
Edwards, Catharine (2007). Death in Ancient Rome. Yale University Press.
Naerebout, Frederick G. (2007). "Dance in the Roman Empire and Its Discontents". Ritual Dynamics and Religious Change in the Roman Empire. Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (5–7 July 2007). Brill.