To put this into context, Roman culture was driven by pragmatism and functionality: Learn and apply. Even the fundamentals of their unparalleled engineering were initially absorbed and learned from others before being extended and developed at a grander scale. An example of this is the basic knowledge of their hydraulics which was taken from Etruscans and used to build Rome’s Cloaca Maxima (the Great Drains) and lead on to the building and development of the great acqueducts.
Another example of the Roman ability to absorb foreign influence is their encounter with the Egyptian culture. The Egyptians were regarded as great masters of the sciences such as astronomy and a permanent example is the Egyptian obelisk. The obelisk was used in a variety of ways: as monument, as a clock and perhaps most importantly as a symbol of wisdom and many can still be found throughout Rome.
A special mention is owed to a further example: Pottery of the Augustan age, with relief figurines has been excavated as far away as India and indeed an Indian ivory statuette has been found during excavations at Pompeii.
In short, the Romans and their influence traveled far and wide and whatever was brought from abroad stood a good chance as being viewed positively and of being assimilated. Even foods were considered to be all the more delicious if they came from distant and exotic lands.
However, Greek art and culture proved to be a revolution for the Roman mind….
Art in ancient Rome: | Art in Ancient Rome – Introduction | The decadence of classical art | Foreign influence | The Greek revolution | Ancient Roman Paintings | Painting Styles | Drawing | Ancient Roman Mosaics | ancient roman jewelry | Sculpture | roman statues | Architecture | Literature and Theatre |Ancient Rome Literature | poems about Rome | roman music | roman pottery |