Glossary of Roman Art Terms

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Please enter in a definition, plus say how each term relates to the art work it is listed under (an example has been done for you). Put your name in brackets after your work to get credit.

Patrician Carrying Busts
Patrician: Someone from a noble family in Rome. The Patrician Carrying Busts features a Roman noble and his relatives.
Plebeian: The general body of Roman citizens (Tori)
Hellenistic: Is a greek sculpting technique that influenced the style of the Patrician Carry Busts statue. (Emma)
Verism: Shows the figure as they actually were. The Patrician Carrying Busts has sunken cheeks and a receding hair line. (Nick)

Bust of Commodus
Antonine Emperors: A dynasty of seven consecutive roman emperors, who ruled over the roman empire from 96 to 192. These Emperors are Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus. The first five rulers - from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius are also seen as representing a line of virtuous and just rule, being dubbed the "Five Good Emperors". (Georgia).
Antonine Baroque:Highely decorated popular with the antonine dynasty
Amazon: Amazons were a race of female warriors who participated in the battle of Troy, and are also linked to many historical people in Roman history. It is said that they had their right breast cut or burnt off so that they could use their bow and throw a spear more efficiently. (Margaret)
Cornucopia: A "horn of plenty", it represents prosperity. There are two cornucopia holding up the bust of Commodus. (Tori)
Gorgon's Head: A vicious monster so powerful it could turn people to stone with a glance. In Greek mythology there were three, the most famous of which is Medusa (the only non-immortal gorgon, with hair of living snakes), she was killed by Perseus with the aid of Athena and her head was placed onto Athena's shield. The myth was passed along to the Romans and Commodus (who liked to claim affiliation with heroic figures) used Medusa's image on his shield/stand, implying that it is Athena's shield that holds up his bust (he is literally supported by the gods).
Gorgons were so feared that their image was often carved onto objects to protect them. (Tori)

A test on terms down to this point:

Arch of Titus:
Forum: A marketplace which the Romans used for political and social purposes, which included temples and law courts. The remains of the Forum lies behind the Arch of Titus. (Erin)
Inscription: An inscribed message/dedication written usually on a hard surface. There is an inscription on the Arch of Titus which reads (when translated into English) "The Senate and People of Rome (dedicate this) to the divine Titus, son of the divine Vespasian". (Christian)
Vault: It is a roof in the form of an arch or a series of arches. In the center of the vault, there is a panel depicting an eagle taking Titus ascending to heaven, as he had been deified ( his Apotheosis ). (Jennifer)
Piers:support the entablature and attic.
Engaged Columns: Those which are embedded/contained in a wall rather than standing on their own. Eight of these surround the Arch of Titus. (Kelsey)
Attic:tTop part of the arch which consists the inscription
Entablature: The structure consisting of the part of a classical temple above the columns between a capital and the roof. The entablatures break forward over the columns and the wide central arch, and the profile of the column shafts transforms to square. (GiAre)
Triumph: A ceremonial performed in honor of a victor. ( Kyu Hyun)
Menorah: A seven-branched candlestick which has been a symbol of Judaism for almost 3000 years and is the emblem of Israel. Used in the Ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem, it was taken to Rome after the captivity of Babylon by the emperor Vespasian and Titus. The Menorah is depicted on the South Panel of the Arch of Titus. (Alysha)
Apotheosis: The glorification of a dead emperor to a divine status; deification. This is shown on the vault of the arch where Titus is being flown to heaven on the back of an eagle (symbol of Jupiter). Also relates to the inscription on the arch - "divine Titus". (Jacinda)

Ara Pacis
Ara Pacis Augustae: translates to "Altar of Augustan Peace". It was dedicated to Augustus by the senate and people of Rome to celebrate his return from Hispania and Gaul. (Tori)
Campus Martius: the "Field of Mars" located in Rome. (Margaret)
Sacrifice: Animals killed in honor of the Gods. It was the function of the Ara Pacis and the inside relief had craved bull heads to represent this.
Acanthus: One of the most common ornaments used to depict foliage, they are found on the frieze. Acanthus ornaments are used for the interior of a building on the crown molding.(Georgia)
Mars: God of War pictured in a relief in the Ara Pacis watching over the infant Romulus and Remus as they nurse from a wolf. Symbolic as it connects to the founding of Rome. As well as connecting Augustus to Mars, the relief also connects Romans as a whole to the gods since Mars is pictured. (Erin)
Romulus:The mythological founder of Rome. He and his brother were sons of Mars and were raised by a shewolf. They founded Rome together, but after a fight Romulus killed his brother. The twin boys are depicted on the Ara Pacis to show even more devine heritage to Augustus and Rome. (Tori)
Aeneas: A famous Trojan, who lead an expedition to the founding site of Rome after Troy was destroyed by the Greeks. Symbolic because he is seen as one of the most important people in the founding of Rome. Rome's purpose was to bring peace to the known world, therefore someone as important as Aeneas the True belongs on a symbol of peace such as the Ara Pacis. (Graeme)
Tellus: The Roman personification of Mother Earth. She can be found on the west side of the Ara Pacis, looking fertile in a peice of Roman propaganda. It shows her, along with the wind and water surrounded by food and animals (Rome is fertile and prosperous). (Tori)
Piety: To honor the Gods wills. Aeneas has great piety, he carries his father to safty, refuses to touch the idols with blood soaked hands, sacrifices to the gods. Augustus wants people to identify him with his heroic ancestor as well as being portrayed as a good emperor. He is shown leading a procession to sacrifice to the gods.on the side of the Ara Pacis. (Tori)
Prosperity: To thrive. Have enough food, be fertle, at peace and be able to carry on supporting a healthy lifestyle for generations to come. (Tori)

Trajan's Column
Trajans Forum: Holds the libraries,basilica,market,temple of Trajan,archway and coloumn,near the Quirinal hill used for political and business matters.
Dacians: People of Dacia (present day Romania). Trajan's column is a continuous frieze, with the reliefs portraying Trajan's two victorious campaigns against the Dacians. (Jacinda)
Danube: A Dacian river pictured on level one of Trajan's column which the Roman army cross as the God of the Danube river watches on. (Kelsey)
Basilica: The Latin word basilica was originally used to describe a Roman public building ,usually located in the forum of a Roman town (Georgia)
Continuous Narrative:Narrative sculpture without seperations.

Arch of Constantine
Free-standing Columns: Columns standing or operating independently of anything else.Shown by the 8 Free-standing Corinthian columns on the Arch of Constantine. (Alysha)
Milvian Bridge: Built by Marcus Aemilius Scaurus in 109 BC over the Tiber near Rome as part of the Flaminian Way. By defeating Maxentius here in AD 312, Constantine became the unchallenged ruler of the West. It was here that Constantine saw the cross in the sky. (Georgia)
Maxentius:Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius (278-312ad)
was Western Roman Emperor from 306 to 312, and rival of Constantine. He was defeated at the Milvian Bridge in 312 and drowned in battle. (Tori)
The 'Five Good Emperors': The "Five Good Emperors" were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. They were named this due to the fact that during each of their independant rule, that is when Rome was seen to be most prosperous and under a wise and virtuous rule. In total this rule lasted from 96 - 180 AD. (Margaret)
Donatio: Donatio is the act of giving or 'donating' money to people. This is depicted in the donatio relief where it shows Constantine giving money to the Romans, portraying Constantine to be a generous Emperor. (Emma)
Oratio:Old Roman virtue of being able to project voice ,used for leadership.
Spandrels:reliefs over the arch which show victories, seasons and river gods.

Maison Carree
Marcus Agrippa: was a spider-like creature that would "grip" onto the ceiling of the Maison Carree. Actually he was the "patron" of the Maison Carree keeping an eye on the construction of the building. ( Margaret :D )
Pseudo-Peripteral: "Fake" (Pseudo) columns lining the outside building. They were fake as they were inset into the walls to create a semi-column, having no structural integrity. (Graeme)
Cornice, Frieze, Architrave:
Hexastyle: Having six columns at the front on the portico. The Maison Carree has a hexastyle porch of six Corinthian columns. (Jacinda)
Etruscan:Old civilisation north of Rome , in Italy
Italic Hellenic: meaning the revival of the greek features of the design. The Maison Carree is partly Hellenic through the engaged columns that are surrounding the cella, the columns are corinthian and the Maison Carree has a deep porch which is also a Hellenic feature. (Emma)
Coffers: A sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling, soffit or vault. Used for decoration or to reduce weight, as in the roof of the Pantheon. (Georgia).
Porch:Infront of temple, space before doorway to temple.
Cella:the interior chamber of the temple (shelley)

Oculus:The 'Eye'of the rotunda.It lets light into the pantheon and is 9m wide.
Hadrianic Architecture:The emperor Hadrians archietectural style.Often circular.
Octastyle: Having eight frontal columns in the portico, commonly a Greek feature. The Pantheon has an octastyle porch of eight Corinthian Columns. (Alysha)
Niches:there is two inside and they contain statues of Augustus and Agrippa.
Rotunda:Round back bit of temple.

Temple of Bacchus
Baalbek: A town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. The town towers 1170 meters above sea level and is well known for its temples built by the Romans, back when the town was called Heliopolis. (Tori)
Assimilation: To absorb one culture into another. i.e The Romans built the temple of Bacchus to subtly convert the locals to Roman religion, making absorbing them into the empire easier. (Tori)
Adyton: A shrine within a shrine in the cella of the Temple of Bacchus. An adyton is a Greek feature. (Erin)
Peripteral: A Greek feature that means to have a building flanked on all sides by a row or columns. (Tori)
Multi-level cella: Where the main room of the temple has a raised area(s). The temple of Bacchus had levels leading up toward the adyton. This is an Eastern feature. (Tori)

Theatre at Leptis Magna
Scaena: The stage buliding that held costumes and props, it also served as a multi-leveled stage when Gods were used in the play (they would stand on a higher level then the mortals).
Pulpitum: The name given to the stage area
Proscaenium: Is the very front area of the stage. It has niches that once would have held statues
Cavea: The steating area of the theater. The seats were devided into wedges to utilize traffic flow.
Vomitoria:The exits of passage ways that people poured out of to get to their seats ('if you need help remembering that just think of it vomiting out the people into the theater')
Ambulatories: The name given to the passage ways/walking area, that divided the seats in the cavea. These helped to create levels and separate the different classes of seating.
Tribunalia:The VIP box that had its own flight of stairs to aviod mixing with the public. The Tribunalia are at the very front (right next to the stage) to make sure they get the best view. Important politicians and visitors used the box
Ceres-Augusta: At the back center of the theater was a small temple to Ceres-Augusta. Ceres was the Roman Goddess of agriculture, and Augusta refers to Augustus the emperor. This temple indicates that the people of Leptis Magna should feel grateful to Augustus for the local crops, because it is his divinity that makes them grow.
Hercules and Dionysus: Were the patrons of the town Leptis Magna. Dionysus; the Greek god of wine and theater, Hercules; the demi-god and world famous hero. Their statues stood on the proscenium, on oppersite sides of the stage.
Annobal Rufus: A wealthy Carthaginian merchant who funded the bulding of the theater. He had both a Carthaginian name (Annobal) as well as a Roman one (Rufus) as was the fashion at the time.

Flavian Amphitheatre: The original name given to the colosseum. The Flavians (Vespasian, Titus and Domitian) were responsable for its construction. Vespasian commissioned and started construction, Titus finished it once his father died, and Domitian added the fourth floor.
Colossus: A 37m high bronze statue of Nero that was sitting in the area next to the colosseum. Vespasian renamed the statue Colossus Solis after the sun god. After the death of Commodus the statues physical appearance was changed to resemble Sol Invictus (another sun god)
Domus Aurea: The name of the "villa" Nero built after the great fire of Rome. The lake was drained in order to build the colosseum
Doric Column: The most basic greek column. It has cone shaped echinus and abacus at the top that gives it a sort of cap. They are on the bottom layer of the colosseum.
Ionic Column: Stand on a base and the capital sports scrolling volutes. It is slimmer then the doric and has 24 flutes down the shaft. They can be found on the second floor of the colosseum.
Corinthian: The most decrotive of the Greek columns, it was actually seldom used by the Greeks. The capital sports scrolls and leaves. They can be found on the third and fourth floor of the colosseum.
Hypogeum: The name of the inner workings of the floor. Under the wooden, sand covered stage there were corridors and cages for moving and keeping animals. The animals (or gladiators) could suddenly spring out of the floor by using a series of gangways and pullies.
Velarium: The canvis roof of the colosseum. The sails could be put out and adjusted by sailors who were kept to run this operation smoothly.

Hadrian's Baths at Leptis Magna
Imperial Baths:A place where public can bath,built under instruction od the imperial leaders of Rome(shelley)
Frigidarium: A large cold pool the Romans used after enjoying a hot bath. (Erin)
Tepidarium: The warm "bathroom' in the baths, heated by a hypocaust (underground heating system). (Erin)
Caldarium: A room with a hot plunge bath, used in the Hadrian's Baths complex. Hottest bathing room, also heated by a hypocaust. (Erin)
Hypocaust: Literally means "heat from below" - an ancient Roman heating system used to heat Hadrian's Baths. (Erin)
Apodyteria: The primary entrance area to Hadrian's Baths, consisting of a changing room where citizens could put their clothes and other belongings while bathing. (Erin).
Natatio: = swimming pool in the baths. (Erin)
Palaestra: The exercise area by the pool where the citizens of Leptis Magna exercised - Greek. (Erin)
Laconica: were hot, dry sweat rooms, much like saunas. (Erin)
Latrina: Most simply, the toilets of Hadrian's Baths which the citizens used - very public. (Erin)

Pont du Gard
Aqueduct: The Pont du Gard is an aqueduct 21km from Nimes. Literally means "bridge of the Gard (river)" (Erin)
Conduit: where the water flowed through - located in the top level. (Erin)
Gradient: The 'slope' of the Pont du Gard. = 1:3000 (Erin)
Voussoirs:Stones used to make the arch around the keystone.Trapezoidal in shape
Keystone:Stone at the highest point in the arch.Often decorated.
Marcus Agrippa:

Hadrian's Villa
Tivoli: Where the villa is located, approximately 30km outside of Rome. Known as Tibur in Hadrian's time. (Erin)
Canopus: Pool named after an Egyptian town in the Nile Delta - the long pool may have been inspired by the Nile River. (Erin)
Serapeum: semi-circular dining area named after a temple in Alexandria where the god Serapus (invented by Ptelomy) was worshiped with a half-'pumpkin' dome and a water feature called the nymphaceum.
Piazza D'Oro:
Maritime Theatre:
Antinoos: Hadrian's young lover. (Erin)

Mosaics from Hadrian's Villa
Greek Wall Painting:

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