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Posted by / 21-Jun-2017 20:02

Although Rome was founded as far back as 750 BCE, it led a precarious existence for several centuries.

Initially, it was ruled by Etruscan kings who commissioned a variety of Etruscan art (murals, sculptures and metalwork) for their tombs as well as their palaces, and to celebrate their military victories.

Their ultra-pragmatic response was to recycle Greek sculpture at every opportunity.

The reason for Rome's cultural inferiority complex remains unclear.

Paradoxically, one reason for the ultimate fall of Rome was because it became too attached to the propagandist value of its art, and squandered huge resources on grandiose building projects purely to impress the people.

Construction of the Baths of Diocletian (298-306), for instance, monopolised the entire brick industry of Rome, for several years.

Even then, the absence of an independent cultural tradition of its own meant that most ancient art of Rome imitated Greek works.

Rome was unique among the powers of the ancient world in developing only a limited artistic language of its own.

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Thus when commemorating a battle, for example, the artwork used would be executed in a realistic - almost "documentary" style.

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