Info

the sophists.51 A representative of this important branch of Greek knowledge in the first century ce is Dio Chrysostom (i.e. the 'golden mouth'), whose eighty speeches, mostly deliberative (counsel to assemblies), but partly also epideictic (festive praise) and apologetic (defence in court), give a vivid picture of civic life in the eastern part of the empire.

The Romans developed a natural affinity with the Hellenistic rhetorical tradition. The anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium, written in Latin in the first century bCE, clearly enumerates the five tasks of the orator: invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery. Cicero, himself the greatest orator of all speakers of Latin, composed seven treatises on rhetorical matters. Tacitus, perhaps the most reliable of the Roman historians, also wrote an insightful and perceptive Dialogus de oratoribus ('Dialogue on oratory'). It is therefore not by chance that it was a Latin writer, Quintilian (c.35-95/6 ce), who by his voluminous compendium with the title Institutio oratoria ('Education of the orator') created the canonical handbook of rhetoric for centuries to come.

Art and architecture The first and second century ce also saw the acme of Roman art and architecture52 which had developed through a blending of Etruscan and Italian with Greek and Hellenistic elements and which then was diffused from the capital through the cities of the empire where it interacted with local traditions. The Julio-Claudian age specifically is characterised by a new classicism,53 i.e. an emphasis on the great Greek models.

In sculpture, the Romans showed a specific interest in the portraiture of living personalities, creating canonical models from which copies were to be made, as, e.g. for the representation of the reigning emperor.54 The magnificence of Roman painting is revealed by extant murals in Nero's domus aurea ('golden house') in Rome, in the Villa of the Mysteries on the outskirts of Pompeii, and that at Boscoreale next to Pompeii. Often mosaics on floors and walls recreate paintings that are otherwise lost, but also present on their own an art form brought to perfection. This also holds true for the emblematic reliefs on sarcophagi with scenes from mythology, agriculture and the life of the dead.

At Rome, Augustus began a widespread building programme which was continued by his successors. One of his most inspired creations is the ara pacis

51 For Hellenistic and Roman times, see the selection of articles in Porter, Handbook of Classical rhetoric.

52 See Pollitt in Boardman, Oxford history of classical art, 217-95.

54 See Zanker, Power of images, 79-100.

0 0

Post a comment