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ROME---ARTS AND LEARNING

memorials were spared to the merciful barbarians. As soon as a new emperor was

installed in his place he began to be flattered by art. His busts and statues

were set up in all the public places, not only in Rome but also in the provincial

cities. Whatever marble and bronze could effect to glorify his name was done with

vainglory and profusion. But these works, as already indicated, were generally

visited with the angry hammer of some iconoclast.

It was the fashion of the. Empire to honor its public men with statues. The

provincial cities frequently voted this honor to their benefactors. The rich

owners of private villas generally had busts of themselves and their families set

in conspicuous places about their halls. It was common for literary men, actors,

charioteers, gladiators, teachers, and, indeed all public characters, to be

honored in like manner by their patrons and admirers.

It should be confessed, as it respects this vast profusion of plastic art, that

the Romans were moved rather by the spirit of ostentation than by the native

impulses of artistic genius. It should also be observed, as in the necessities of

the case, that the art of Rome rose not- could not rise - above the excellence of

its original. The artists of the Empire could but copy what had already been done

in perfection by the Greeks. If the critic should search for true originality

among the works of Roman chisels the search would be in vain. Roman art, with the

exception already noted in the case of architecture, was in the nature of an

imitation, a reproduction, a modification, perhaps, of the art of Hellas. The

quantity was vastly in excess of the quality, and the quality was by no means to

be despised. It has been said by Marcellin us that in the fourth century of our

era, Rome had two populations: one of living men and the other in marble and

bronze. The time was already at hand when the living population was no longer

able to protect the people in marble from the ferocity of barbarism. With the

coming of the Northern hordes the beautiful things of the Imperial City were

knocked from their pedestals, broken into fragments, and kicked into dust and

oblivion by the infuriated Goths.

The Roman mind was one of large activities but small imagination. It had the

power to act with unusual energy, but little power to create. Excitement came

rather with the expenditure of physical force than with the indulgence of

reverie. There was a boundless adaptation to business, but little aptitude for

speculative thought. Mental tasks as such were borne impatiently by an intellect

which yearned for the freedom of the conflict, the struggle of opposing forces.

It is in this constitutional ineptness of the Romans for imaginative flights and

subjective speculation that we must seek and find their want of originality in

literature as well as in art. It may be truthfully said that, judged by the

standard of original invention, Rome produced nothing in the domain of letters.

If, however, we content ourselves with that kind of literary work which follows

and imitates what has been done by another, we shall find in the Roman stores an

exhaustless abundance. It was here again that originality came from the Greeks.

They gave to Rome her letters and her models, and no great Roman author ever rose

or flourished who had not, as the beginning and source of his achievements, the

bottomless fountain of Greek culture.

When civilization began in Latium, the influence of the Hellenes was already

diffused through Southern Italy. It was from contact with these Graeco-Pelasgic

cities of OEnotria that the Romans received their first literary impressions. The

force of this association, however, was not sufficient to stimulate the race of

Romulus into mental activity. The Alban Fathers were first farmers and then

soldiers.

In his intellectual disposition the primitive Roman was a kind of cross between

Arcadian and Theban. He had the rusticity of the one combined with the blunt,

warlike habits of the other. Centuries elapsed after the founding of the city,

and a second and direct contact with Greece was required before the Roman mind

emerged sufficiently from its