Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Art Online. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 April 2021

Rome, ancientlocked

  • Diane Favro,
  • David W. J. Gill,
  • Eugene Dwyer,
  • Martin Henig,
  • William L. MacDonald,
  • F. B. Sear,
  • T. F. C. Blagg,
  • Susan Walker,
  • Jeffrey Hilton,
  • Joyce Reynolds,
  • C. K. Williams II,
  • S. Cormack,
  • J. M. C. Bowsher,
  • Janet Delaine,
  • E. C. Stenton,
  • Richard Brilliant,
  • Eve D'Ambra,
  • A. Claridge,
  • C. Landwehr,
  • Elizabeth Bartman,
  • Peter J. Holliday,
  • N. Hannestad,
  • Ann Kuttner,
  • Ann Thomas Wilkins,
  • Henning Wrede,
  • C. M. Antonaccio,
  • Marianne Bergmann,
  • Alix Barbet,
  • Hélène Eristov,
  • Katherine M. D. Dunbabin,
  • Nicole Blanc,
  • David Whitehouse,
  • Jennifer Price,
  • Catherine Johns,
  • Andrew Oliver,
  • W. H. Manning,
  • Simon James,
  • Andrew Burnett,
  • Michael Vickers,
  • Reynold Higgins,
  • Donald M. Bailey,
  • Hugh Chapman,
  • J. W. Hayes,
  • Jaimee Uhlenbrock,
  • Hero Granger-Taylor
  •  and Alexandra Bounia


Civilization that flourished first in Rome itself (from the 7th century bc) and eventually in the far-flung regions of the Empire. Its art, language and institutions have had an incalculable influence on the West. This survey ends with the official recognition of Christianity by Constantine the Great in the Edict of Milan (ad 313); for art after that date see Early Christian and Byzantine art.

For the city of Rome itself, both ancient and modern, see Rome.

Diane Favro

‘You Romans, keep your mind on ruling other peoples. These will be your arts,’ wrote Virgil in the 1st century bc (Aeneid VI.851–2). Indeed, the Romans became masters in the art of conquest, extending their power through the entire Mediterranean and beyond (see fig. ). The locus of Roman power began modestly. A cluster of independent Neolithic villages first occupied the future site of Rome, inland east of the River Tiber in central Italy. At this advantageous location, hills gave protection from attacks and floods; intervening valleys and the river provided easy communication; and an island facilitated river crossing. According to tradition, ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

G. Wissowa, W. Kroll and K. Mittelhaus, eds: Paulys Realencyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 10 vols and suppls (Stuttgart, 1894–1978)
Enciclopedia dell’arte antica, classica e orientale, 7 vols and suppls (Rome, 1958–73)