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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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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


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

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 XIV - Literature and Art


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Page 121


Let us glance, in conclusion, at the state of the arts of architecture, sculpture, and painting. So far as concerns the former, the traces of incipient luxury were less observable in public than in private buildings. It was not till towards the close of this period, and especially from the time of the censorship of Cato (570), that the Romans began in the case of the former to have respect to the convenience as well as to the bare wants of the public; to line with stone the basins (-lacus-) supplied from the aqueducts, (570); to erect colonnades (575, 580); and above all to transfer to Rome the Attic halls for courts and business--the -basilicae- as they were called.

The first of these buildings, somewhat corresponding to our modern bazaars--the Porcian or silversmiths' hall--was erected by Cato in 570 alongside of the senate-house; others were soon associated with it, till gradually along the sides of the Forum the private shops were replaced by these splendid columnar halls. Everyday life, however, was more deeply influenced by the revolution in domestic architecture which must, at latest, be placed in this period.

The hall of the house (-atrium-), court (-cavum aedium-), garden and garden colonnade (-peristylium-), the record-chamber (-tablinum-), chapel, kitchen, and bedrooms were by degrees severally provided for; and, as to the internal fittings, the column began to be applied both in the court and in the hall for the support of the open roof and also for the garden colonnades: throughout these arrangements it is probable that Greek models were copied or at any rate made use of. Yet the materials used in building remained simple; "our ancestors," says Varro, "dwelt in houses of brick, and laid merely a moderate foundation of stone to keep away damp."

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