The Arts

Painting and Sculpture

Roman painting styles show Greek influences, and surviving examples are primarily frescoes used to adorn the walls and ceilings of country villas, though Roman literature includes mentions of paintings on wood, ivory, and other materials. Several examples of Roman painting have been found at Pompeii, and from these art historians divide the history of Roman painting into four periods. The first style of Roman painting was practiced from the early 2nd century BCE to the early- or mid-1st century BCE. It was mainly composed of imitations of marble and masonry, though sometimes including depictions of mythological characters.

The second style of Roman painting began during the early 1st century BCE, and attempted to depict realistically three-dimensional architectural features and landscapes. The third style occurred during the reign of Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE), and rejected the realism of the second style in favor of simple ornamentation. A small architectural scene, landscape, or abstract design was placed in the center with a monochrome background. The fourth style, which began in the 1st century CE, depicted scenes from mythology, while retaining architectural details and abstract patterns.

Portrait sculpture during the period 1st century BCE utilized youthful and classical proportions, evolving later into a mixture of realism and idealism. During the Antonine and Severan periods, ornate hair and bearding, with deep cutting and drilling, became popular. Advancements were also made in relief sculptures, usually depicting Roman victories.

The graffiti, brothels, paintings, and sculptures found in Pompeii and Herculaneum suggest that the Romans had a sex-saturated culture.

Literature

 Latin literature was, from its start, influenced heavily by Greek authors. Some of the earliest extant works are of historical epics telling the early military history of Rome. As the Republic expanded, authors began to produce poetry, comedy, history, and tragedy.  

Music

Roman music was largely based on Greek music, and played an important part in many aspects of Roman life. In the Roman military, musical instruments such as the tuba (a long trumpet) or the cornu (similar to a French horn) were used to give various commands, while the bucina (possibly a trumpet or horn) and the lituus (probably an elongated J-shaped instrument), were used in ceremonial capacities. Music was used in the amphitheaters between fights and in the odea, and in these settings is known to have featured the cornu and the hydraulis (a type of water organ). 

Most religious rituals featured musical performances, with tibiae (double pipes) at sacrifices, cymbals and Tambourines at orgiastic cults, and rattles and hymns across the spectrum. Some music historians believe that music was used at almost all public ceremonies. Music historians are not certain if Roman musicians made a significant contribution to the theory or practice of music.