The Roman Empire: This photo is courtesy of Jani Niemenmaa(C)
Rome has always been a place of fascination dating back to my history classes when I was but 7 years old. I did study European history past high school focusing on the rise and fall of colonial powers like the Roman Empire, England etc. Rome's conquests were vast spreading into Africa. In it's regional restlessness and the varying history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands undefeated and a monument to scale and stability. At the peak of it's might, the Roman empire stretched from Syria to Scotland and much of the western world, and for 700 years or more, she ruled vast dominions. With this influence came a history that we now seek in our travels and find but ruins on the ground. Two things take my fancy when I travel to Europe besides the landscape; art and architecture. The architecture and art of Rome and its empire, which at its peak in might did go as far as the the Caspian Sea. The end of Roman art and the beginning of medieval art is said to have taken place during the conversion of the emperor Constantine to Christianity, and during the time when the capital of the Roman empire was moved from Rome to Constantinople. When I first visited Rome in 1998, my main focus was to visit the seat of my faith (I was born Catholic), Vatican City. St. Peter;s Basilica is an art of it's own with architectural style that is in it's own category.
With time, as the Roman Empire expanded throughout Italy and the Mediterranean exposing the Romans to other artistic cultures especially that of the Greece, Roman art shook off its dependence on Etruscan art. Because of the extraordinary geographical extent of the Roman Empire coupled with the diversity of the population within it's boundaries, the art and architecture of the Romans is characterized by varying styles from differing regional tastes and the diverse preferences of a wide range of patrons.
This blog will include two categories, the first focusing on art and the peoples while the second will focus on the architecture and it's influence on greater Europe as well as other parts that were directly under the influence of the Roman empire.