What are some of the ways that the Romans adopted and adapted Greek art and artistic principles? (i need 4 different ways)

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Latin poet Horace famously said "Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit ("Captive Greece captured her crude conqueror"). This line is intended to reflect the reality that although Rome was a great military power and managed to conquer Greece. Culturally, however, Greek ideas and models dominated Rome. The famous rhetorician Quintilian talks about how upper-class Romans had Greek slaves raising their children and says that these children actually spoke Greek better than Latin. Immediately after the conquest, the Romans looted Greece and brought back numerous artistic works as well as slaves. 

In theater, the great Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence were actually adaptations of Greek New Comedy, and Roman theaters were built on Greek models. Although the Romans were architecturally innovative, especially in their uses of arches and vaults, their temples and public buildings borrowed many Greek elements, especially their style of columns. Many Roman statues were imitations of Greek originals, copying poses and other techniques. Sometimes the Romans would actually make molds of an original Greek sculpture to produce a copy. Wall paintings and mosaics were also common to both cultures.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Romans conquered many lands and usually when they did they let the conquered land keep their own culture. When they conquered Greece they found that they really liked many aspects of Greek art and culture.

The Romans really liked Greek sculpture. Romans sculptures are amazing but the Romans built upon Greek sculpture. The Romans made sculptures more detailed and they could make more of them, quicker.

They also adopted some of the principles from Greek theater. The Greeks focused on more classical themes showcased in arenas while the Romans held theater events in arenas as well but showcased gladiator games and executions.

eliblee | Student

There are very early examples of the art of fresco, or painting on walls plastered in white lime, from the Aegean period of Greece. Fresco painting remained popular and flourished in Rome, where large wall murals were painted in a style similar to the Greek style, though on a grander scale.  


In 146 BC, when Rome conquered Greece in the Battle of Corinth marking the beginning of Rome’s domination, the city of Corinth was plundered and important Greek art was carried from the city back to Rome. This same pattern of removing art from cities happened throughout Greece, with the unintended consequence of heavily influencing Rome’s taste in art and artistic principles. 


Rome was already remarkable in the engineering feats that it had developed in architecture, but the addition of Greek style columns (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) made its buildings even more beautiful: Doric, Ionic. Roman architects were especially fond of the Corinthian column, which became even more decorative under Roman influence. 


Rome loved the grand marble statues of Greece, the vast majority of which depicted gods and goddesses. Roman sculptors made the art their own by often depicting human subjects such as political figures with more realistic proportions. 


Another area that Greek art shows a strong influence in Roman art is in creation of floor mosaics. Hellenistic Greece is known for its mosaics made of small pebbles, again, usually depicting gods and goddesses. Rome took mosaic making to great artistic heights, by making mosaics of tiny cut tesserae, or small squares of material, made of stone, marble, and pottery. The subject matter of Roman mosaics was sometimes quite commonplace, showing foods that were eaten and daily rituals, instead of focusing entirely on gods as the Greeks had done.