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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


II. From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER IX - Art and Science


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Page 51

Even the application of graving on metal in Etruria solely to the toilet mirror, and in Latium solely to the toilet casket, indicates the diversity of the art-impulses that affected the two lands. It does not appear, however, to have been exactly at Rome that Latin art put forth its freshest vigour; the Roman -asses- and Roman -denarii- are far surpassed in fineness and taste of workmanship by the Latin copper, and the rare Latin silver, coins, and the masterpieces of painting and design belong chiefly to Praeneste, Lanuvium, and Ardea.

This accords completely with the realistic and sober spirit of the Roman republic which we have already described--a spirit which can hardly have asserted itself with equal intensity in other parts of Latium. But in the course of the fifth century, and especially in the second half of it, there was a mighty activity in Roman art. This was the epoch, in which the construction of the Roman arches and Roman roads began; in which works of art like the she-wolf of the Capitol originated; and in which a distinguished man of an old Roman patrician clan took up his pencil to embellish a newly constructed temple and thence received the honorary surname of the "Painter." This was not accident.

Every great age lays grasp on all the powers of man; and, rigid as were Roman manners, strict as was Roman police, the impulse received by the Roman burgesses as masters of the peninsula or, to speak more correctly, by Italy united for the first time as one state, became as evident in the stimulus given to Latin and especially to Roman art, as the moral and political decay of the Etruscan nation was evident in the decline of art in Etruria. As the mighty national vigour of Latium subdued the weaker nations, it impressed its imperishable stamp also on bronze and on marble.

End of Book II: From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy

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