Rome and the Roots of Western Civilization
Rome borrowed cultural elements from many places—
especially the Greek and Hellenistic cultures.
This mixture of culture is called Greco-Roman culture. It is
also called classical civilization.
Romans did not simply copy Greek art, writing, and
philosophy, but adapted it and made a style of their own.
Romans learned sculpture from the Greeks—but theirs was
more realistic and practical.
They developed a new type of sculpture called bas-relief—
images projected from a flat background.
Romans were skilled at mosaics—pictures created by
setting small pieces of stone, glass, or tile onto a surface.
Most Roman houses had at least one colored mosaic.
The Romans were accomplished painters. Many wealthy
Romans had brightly colored murals, or frescoes, painted
on their walls.
The most famous philosophy of the Romans was
stoicism—it encouraged virtue, duty, moderation, and
Most famous Roman poet was Virgil who wrote the Aeneid-
modeled after Homer.
Latin remained the language of learning in the West long
after the fall of the empire and was the official language of
the Roman Catholic Church into the 20th century.
Latin developed into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese,
and Romanian—the Romance languages.
They had extensive architectural achievements—the arch,
the dome, and concrete. They built the Colosseum.
They built aqueducts to move water into cities and towns.
The US Capitol building is designed in the style of Roman
One of the most important contributions of the Romans
was their legal system.