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Ancient Rome Cultural Analysis

The culture of ancient Rome had evolved during the entire history of the Roman Empire that spanned about 1200 years. The Roman Empire during its peak covered a vast area from Morocco to the Euphrates and from Scotland to North Africa (Staneart, Chuck, et al, 1992). Ancient Rome had a varied cultural life that revolved around the main city of ancient Rome, its famous seven hills, and the landmark monuments that were spread throughout the city. Rome was the biggest megalopolis during that period with a population above one million. The streets of the city were constantly alive with the clatter of chariots and the humdrum of people moving around the city. The city had a rich cultural heritage and was self-sufficient with all the supplies that a modern city of today could be proud of. Supplies from far and wide of several varieties of products were available in the city including fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, oil and wine as also unique products from Africa and Hispania. Trade and commerce flourished during the time with Rome being the epicenter of all commercial activities. Regarding Roman architecture, many of its monuments were of Greek models. The family was the center of the social structure, which had a legal basis in having a designated head of the family with full authority over the wife, children as also the wives of his children, nephews, and slaves. It is noteworthy that during this time slavery was widely practiced and the city was characterized by slave markets whereby slaves were given the status of movable property. However, cruelty against slaves was not permitted. Roman citizens were expected to vote for members of the two assemblies in the Empire and the system was indeed elaborate and the legacy of this political system was left behind for the British and other empires to follow later (Tom Holland, 2004).

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The daily lifestyles of the people revolved around the central business districts where people went shopping, marketing, banking, and trading. This forum was also used for orators to express their opinion about the happenings in the empire. There were a variety of outdoor activities for the people that were available free and included the watching of Gladiators at the Colosseum, where combat between men, and between men and animals were very popular means of entertainment. There was chariot racing also, which further contributed to enlivening the cultural atmosphere. Life in the countryside was comparatively slow but very lively in having colorful festivals regularly in the bright sunshine and natural environment. The attire they wore distinguished the people in Rome. While the common people such as slaves and shepherds wore tunics made of dark and coarse cloth, patricians wore tunics made of fine linen and wool. Drinking wine was quite widespread and popular amongst all classes of people (Florence Dupont, 1994).

Education in the Empire was given considerable importance and schooling began from the age of six and in seven years children were able to read and write as also were able to do the counting. By age of twelve, they were taught Greek, Latin, literature, and grammar including public speaking since oratory skills were considered to be a big asset. Literature in Rome was highly influenced by the Greek authors, which bears testimony to the military expeditions of the Empire, while later there were literary accounts of history, comedy, and poetry ( The painting style in early Rome was Etruscan and many homes in Rome were having paintings showing landscapes by artists from Greece. Music was an important activity in the daily routine and almost all public and private gatherings had some amount of music to enliven the show. Sports were given importance and the ancient city had provision for fields and playgrounds, which were initially for soldiers but later became a venue for sporting events for all. The Roman Empire had strong religious beliefs, which were evident from 500 BC whereby Greek practices on religion were adopted (Edward Gibbon 1993).


  1. Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1993 Everyman’s Library
  2. Florence Dupont, Daily Life in Ancient Rome, 1994, Wiley-Blackwell
  3. Staneart, Chuck; Baral, Wanda, Romans: A Simulation of the History and Culture of Ancient Rome. 1992, Interaction Publishers
  4. Tom Holland, The Last Years of the Roman Republic, 2004, Doubleday

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