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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


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

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 XII - Religion, Culture, Literature, and Art


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 94

Art - Architecture

If, in fine, we cast a glance at art, we discover here the same unpleasing phenomena which pervade the whole mental life of this period. Building on the part of the state was virtually brought to a total stand amidst the scarcity of money that marked the last age of the republic. We have already spoken of the luxury in building of the Roman grandees; the architects learned in consequence of this to be lavish of marble--the coloured sorts such as the yellow Numidian (Giallo antico) and others came into vogue at this time, and the marble-quarries of Luna (Carrara) were now employed for the first time--and began to inlay the floors of the rooms with mosaic work, to panel the walls with slabs of marble, or to paint the compartments in imitation of marble--the first steps towards the subsequent fresco-painting. But art was not a gainer by this lavish magnificence.

Arts of Design

In the arts of design connoisseurship and collecting were always on the increase. It was a mere affectation of Catonian simplicity, when an advocate spoke before the jurymen of the works of art "of a certain Praxiteles"; every one travelled and inspected, and the trade of the art-ciceroni, or, as they were then called, the -exegetae-, was none of the worst. Ancient works of art were formally hunted after--statues and pictures less, it is true, than, in accordance with the rude character of Roman luxury, artistically wrought furniture and ornaments of all sorts for the room and the table.

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