CULTURE OF ANCIENT ROME

Ancient Rome Theatre:
Ancient Roman theatre was heavily influenced by the Greek tradition, and as with many other literary genres Roman dramatists tended to adapt and translate from the Greek. For example, Seneca's Phaedra was based on that of Euripides, and many of the comedies of Plautus were direct translations of works by Menander. When comparing and contrasting ancient Roman theatre to that of Greek theatre it can easily be said that Roman theatre was less influenced by religion. Also, Roman theatre was more for aesthetic appeal. In Roman theatre war was a more common thing to appear on stage as opposed to the Greek theatre where wars were more commonly spoken about in Greek plays. This was no doubt a reflection of Roman culture and habits. The audience was often loud and rude, rarely applauding the actors, but always shouting insults and booing. Because the audience was so loud, much of the plays were mimed and repetitive. The actors developed a kind of code that would tell the audience about the characters just by looking at them. A black wig meant the character was a young man.
A gray wig meant the character was an old man.
A red wig meant the character was a slave.
A white robe meant the character was an old man.
A purple robe meant the character was a young man.
A yellow robe meant the character was a woman. (Needed in early Roman theatre, as originally female characters were played by men, however as the Roman theatre progressed, women slaves took the roles of women in plays.)
A yellow tassel meant the character was a god.
Roman costumes mirrored traditional Greek garments.
Actors commonly wore a long robe, called a Chiton.
Chitons were often colored to denote character and rank.
Plays lasted for two hours, and were usually comedies.
Most comedies involved mistaken identity (such as gods disguised as humans).

Cuisine Of Ancient Rome:
Roman cuisine changed over the long duration (over a thousand years) of their ancient civilization. These habits were affected by the influence of Greek culture, the political changes from kingdom to republic to empire, and the enormous expansion of the empire which brought many new culinary habits and cooking techniques from the provinces. In the beginning the differences between social classes were not very great, but disparity grew with the empire. Traditionally in the morning a breakfast was served, the lentaculum, at noon a small lunch, and in the evening the main meal of the day, the cena. Due to the influence of Greek habits and also the increased import of and consumption of foreign foods, the cena increased in size and diversity and was consumed in the afternoon, the vesperna was abandoned, and a second breakfast was introduced around noon, the prandium. In the lower strata of society the old routine was preserved, because it corresponded more closely with the daily rhythm of manual labor. Originally flat, round loaves made of emmer (a cereal grain closely related to wheat) with a bit of salt were eaten; in the higher classes also eggs, cheese and honey, along with milk and fruit. In the imperial period, around the beginning of the Common Era, bread made of wheat was introduced and with time more and more baked products began to replace this emmer bread. The bread was sometimes dipped in wine and eaten with olives, cheese, crackers, and grapes. This lunch was richer and mostly consisted of the leftovers of the previous day's cena. Among members of the upper classes, who did not engage in manual labor, it became customary to schedule all business obligations in the morning. After the prandium the last responsibilities would be discharged and then a visit would be made to the baths. Around 3 o'clock, the cena would begin. This meal could last until late in the night, especially if guests were invited, and would often be followed by a comissatio (a round of drinks). Especially in the period of the kings and the early republic, but also in later periods (for the working classes), the cena essentially consisted of a kind of porridge, the puls. The simplest kind would be made from emmer, water, salt and fat. The more sophisticated kind was made with olive oil, with an accompaniment of assorted vegetables whenever possible. The richer classes ate their puls with eggs, cheese and honey, and (only occasionally) meat or fish. Over the course of the Republican period, the Breakfast developed into two courses, a main course and a dessert with fruit and seafood (e.g. mollusks, shrimp). By the end of the Republic, it was usual for the meal to be served in three parts: first course (gustatio), main course (primae mensae), and dessert (secundae mensae). From 300 BC, Greek customs started to influence the culture of higher class Romans. Growing wealth led to ever larger and more sophisticated meals. Nutritional value was not regarded as important: on the contrary, the gourmets preferred food with low food energy and nutrients. Easily digestible foods and diuretic stimulants were highly regarded.[citation needed] At the table loose and easy clothing was worn (the vestis cenatoria), and the dinner was consumed in a special dining room, which later was to be called triclinium. Here one would lie down on a specially designed couch, the lectus triclinaris. Around the round table, the mensa, three of these lecti were arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, so that slaves could easily serve, and a maximum of three diners would recline at each lectus. During the kingdom and early republic, the only people allowed a place on a lectus were men. By the late republic and imperial times, and especially among the aristocracy, women were permitted to recline during meals. Traditionally, women would dine sitting upright across from their husbands or fathers in chairs. More tables for the beverages stood beside the couches. All heads were oriented towards the central table, with left elbows propped on a cushion and feet at the outside of the dinner-couch. In this fashion at most nine people could dine together at one table. Further guests had to sit on chairs. Slaves normally had to stand. Feet and hands were washed before the cena. The food would be taken with the fingertips and two kinds of spoons, the larger ligula and the smaller cochlear with a needle thin grip, which was used as prong when eating snails and molluscs, in practice substituting for the modern fork. At the table, larger pieces would be cut up to be served on smaller plates. After each course the fingers were washed again and napkins (mappae) were customary to wipe one's mouth. Guests could also bring their own mappae to take home the leftovers from the meal or small gifts (the apophoreta). Everything that could not be eaten (e.g. bones and shells) was thrown onto the floor, from where it was swept away by a slave. In summer, it was popular to eat outside. Many houses in Pompeii had stone couches at a particularly beautiful spot in the garden for just that purpose. People lay down to eat only on formal occasions. If the meal was routine, they ate while seated or even standing.

Clothing in ancient Rome:
Women wore very simple stolae and usually followed the fashions of their Greek contemporaries. These stoles were usually comprised of two rectangular segments of cloth joined at the side by safety pins, brooches and, finally, buttons in a manner that allowed the garment to drape freely over the front of the wearer. Over the stole the palla was usually worn; a sort of shawl made of an oblong piece of material that could be worn as a coat, with or without hood, or slung over the left shoulder, under the right arm and then draped over the left arm. The Romans also wore undergarments, often a simple rectangle sewn into a tubular shape and pinned around the shoulders like a chiton. The strophium or breast cloth, was another form of undergarment. The Latin word for underpants, subligaria was revealed by the Vindolanda tablets. The dress code of the day was complex and had to accurately reflect one's position in the social order, one's sex and one's language. The variations of clothing worn in Rome were similar to the clothing worn in Greece at the same time, with the exception of the traditionally Roman toga. Until the 5th century B.C., the toga was unisex and bore no distinction of rank - after that, a female wearing a toga was marked out as a prostitute. The differentiation between rich and poor was made through the quality of the material; the upper-classes wore thin, naturally colored, wool togas while the lower-classes wore coarse material or thin felt. They also differentiated by colours used:
the toga praetextata, with a purple border, worn by male children, and magistrates during official ceremonies. the toga picta or toga palmata, toga with a gold border used by generals in their triumphs. trabea' - toga entirely in purple, worn by statues of gods and emperors. saffron toga - worn by augurs, white with a purple band, also worn by consuls on public festivals and equites during a transvectio. A typical Roman sandal (calceus or calceolus for the women) consisted of a leather sole with a long lace that was wound up the wearer's leg. The lacing of a typical Roman shoe would always leave a part of the foot exposed. Numerous variations of these two models have been found. The majority of Roman shoes took inspiration from their Greek counterparts. It is assumed that the quality of women's shoes was judged on how thin and light the leather was. The Romans also invented socks for those soldiers required to fight on the northern frontiers, sometimes worn in sandals. baxa - a light sandal worn by intellectuals
carbatina - a shoe made by peasants from a single piece of leather
caliga - soldier's sandals (cf Caligula)
cothurnus and crepida - used by the actors.
pero - boot for agricultural workers
sandalium - or obstrigilium - women's sandals
phaecasium - white shoe of eastern priests
sculponaeae - clogs
socccus - slippers without upperwork for indoor wear by both sexes
solea - slipper with upperwork.

Wine Of Ancient Rome:
Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences of viticulture on the Italian peninsula can be traced to Ancient Greeks and Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw an increase in technology and awareness of winemaking which spread to all parts of the empire. The influence of the Romans has had a profound effect of the histories of today's major winemaking regions of France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In the hands of the Romans, wine became "democratic" and available to all, from the lowly slave to the simple peasant to the aristocrat. The Romans' belief that wine was a daily necessity of life promoted its widespread availability among all classes. This led to the desire to spread viticulture and wine production to every part of the Roman empire, to ensure steady supplies for Roman soldiers and colonists. Economics also came into play, as Roman merchants saw opportunities for trade with native tribes such as those from Gaul and Germania, bringing Roman influences to these regions before the arrival of the Roman military . The works of Roman writers- most notably Cato, Columella, Horace, Palladius, Pliny, Varro and Virgil- give insights on the role of wine in Roman culture and contemporary understanding of winemaking and viticultural practices. Many of the techniques and principles first developed in Roman times can be found in modern winemaking.

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Music Of Ancient Rome:
Very little survives about the music of the Romans. There are various reasons for this, one of which is that early fathers of the Christian church were aghast at the music of theatre, festivals, and pagan religion and suppressed it once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire. The Romans are not said to have been particularly creative or original when it came to music. They did not attach any spiritual ethos to music, as did the Greeks. Yet, if the Romans admired Greek music as much as they admired everything else about Greek culture, it is safe to say that Roman music was mostly monophonic (that is, single melodies with no harmony) and that the melodies were based on an elaborate system of scales (called 'modes'). The rhythm of vocal music may have followed the natural metre of the lyrics. There were also other, non-Greek, influences on Roman culture from the Etruscans, for example, and, with imperial expansion, from the Middle Eastern and African sections of the empire. Thus there were, no doubt, elements of Roman music that were native Latian as well as non-European; the exact nature of these elements is unclear.

Art Of Ancient Rome:
Roman art is the sculpture, pottery, painting, and other art produced in Ancient Rome or in territories under its rule from the founding of Rome in the middle of the 8th century BC, through the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, and Roman Empire periods, until the decline of the Roman Empire by the 5th century AD. Ancient Roman art was heavily influenced by the art of the Etruscans, ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world, and later by the art forms of countries it subsumed within its empire (especially Ancient Egypt) or of civilizations which its empire bordered (eg the Sassanid Empire). Major forms of Roman art include architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work. Metal-work, coin-die and gem engraving, ivory carvings, figurine glass and pottery, and book illustrations are considered to be 'minor' forms of Roman artwork


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