The Roman civilization flourished from about 700 B.C.E. to about 476 C.E. It began in the ancient city of Rome. Rome is located in Italy which includes a peninsula and islands in southern Europe. The Italian peninsula is shaped a lot like a boot and reaches into the Mediterranean Sea with its toe pointed toward the island of Sicily.
Influence of Etruscan Sports
Long ago the story explains a princess gave birth to twin sons Romulus and Remus. The boys father was Mars, the Roman god of war. The princess's uncle—the king—was afraid the boys would grow up to take his throne so he ordered his men to drown them in the Tiber River. Before the twins drowned a wolf rescued them. When Romulus and Remus grew up they decided to construct a town on the banks of the Tiber River where the wolf had found and saved them. In a quarrel over who would rule the new settlement Romulus killed his brother. He became king of the city, which he named Rome.
Influence of Greek Architecture
Etruscan arches rested on two pillars which supported a half circle of wedge shaped stones. A keystone in the center held the other stones of the arch tightly in place. A cuniculus was a long underground trench connected by vertical shafts to the ground above. Etruscans used these trenches to irrigate land to drain swamps and to distribute water to their cities. They used arches to build huge public works including bridges stadiums and aqueducts to carry water over long distances.
Influence of Greek Art, Relgion, and Writing
The first was slave fighting. The Etruscan custom was to stage slave fights during funerals. Two slaves of the dead master fought to the death with swords and small shields. After being congratulated the winner was executed. Etruscan spectators also enjoyed watching chariot races. The charioteers or drivers were strapped to their chariots. If a chariot overturned they could be dragged under the chariot's wheels or trampled by the horses. These fierce competitions usaully resulted in injury or death. These Etruscan sports gained popularity in Rome. In Roman stadiums thousands of slaves died fighting as gladiators professionally trained fighters who battled either each other or wild animals. Romans also flocked to see charioteers risk their lives racing four-horse teams.
The Romans borrowed and adapted ideas from the Greeks as well as the Etruscans. Greek architecture was one important influence on the Romans. The Greeks constructed marble temples as homes for their gods. Temples like the Parthenon had stately columns that added to their beauty. The Romans used Greek designs in their own public buildings. Eventually they learned to use concrete to create even larger structures such as the Pantheon in Rome. The Romans also used concrete to build huge stadiums like the Colosseum where gladiators fought.
The Greeks carved important documents such as laws and treaties into bronze or stone plaques some of which were displayed in the public squares. Greek potters created large clay vessels for storing food water and wine. The Greeks worshipped a number of gods and goddesses who governed every part of Greek life. The Greeks performed rituals and sacrifices to gain the gods favor for everything from a good harvest to curing the sick.