Monday, October 3, 2011
"Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery"
As I was commenting on Meredith's post, I came to realize that the Romans certainly lived up to this cliche. The Romans were notorious for copying elements of culture, art, and architecture from previous civilizations such as the Greeks, Etruscans, and other groups of the Mediterranean. However, I think it is important to note that the Romans not only copied ideas and works of other cultures, but they improved these works. For example, the Romans were the first to use concrete. They used concrete in the columns of the Colosseum which previously would have been made of marble. Moreover, in the Roman appreciation of other cultures, they have preserved many elements of Greek culture for scholars today to study. For example, many of the sculptures of the Hellenic and Hellenistic period that we have been studying only exist today through Roman marble copies. Without these copies, we may not even be aware of these pieces except through ancient texts which were also preserved in Roman libraries. The Romans tendency to imitate and improve elements of past civilizations certainly helped evolve sculpture and architecture and preserve other ancient cultures for our study today.