For millions years back since the beginning of time, humanities have been part of human existence. Even cave men who are commonly known as the early man, were known to use wall paintings inside their caves either to communicate or keep records. Be it art, music, painting, sculpture, literature, drama/theatre, dance, architecture or religion, they have either in one way or the other played a big role in influencing the lifestyle of particular people (Ernst 20).
The magnitude to which humanities affect the culture and rituals of particular communities around the world is tremendous and quite interesting. For example, the way Indians observe death is not the same way that West Africans observe death and therefore insinuating that humanities assist in giving people around the world some sort of identity that differentiates them from the others.
Definitely, were it not for interaction between different communities and civilizations that come from different parts of the world, then it would have been impossible for the entire society to enjoy the benefits that have arisen from elements of humanities.
Literature from the Bible and other religious books have changed the way people think and behave and has therefore changed the lives of billions of people by influencing both morality and how legislation is made within these regions (Ernst 27). Consequently, it is therefore true to conclude that human culture and values are molded by these dimensions of humanity.
Elements of humanities in one way or another directly or indirectly contribute to the way a society behaves. Sometimes it is even possible to find a link between the way architecture and sculptures within a given society are particularly related and the way they go ahead to define the way people leave. Because the Greeks were known to construct quite tuff buildings that were considerably tall and well anchored them simply used the same methods to build big and tuff statues and sculptures that represent their gods (Jones & Sidwell 44).
Ancient Egyptians are remembered for their linguistic skills and literature, called the hieroglyphics, which was among the first most complicated writings in the world that made Egyptians have the ability to keep very accurate records of various occurrences within the society with a high degree of precision.
Just imagine the high level of ambiguity that archeologists and linguistic experts would face today if the Egyptian societies did not use their linguistic skills and literature to make carvings inside the walls of the pyramids or even use the same on scrolls that have been recovered through time by archeologists (Ernst 62). It is in the same way that Egyptians were able to develop a scholarly society and even make sculptures, paintings and develop architectural designs that were very successful in ancient Egypt.
Therefore, the role of humanities in developing and impacting there society cannot be ignored and therefore this is why the impact that the Romans have made to today’s modern society cannot be ignored. Although the Romans were the world’s super powers long ago it is very important to take a look at how they have impacted the society and contributed to today’s environment.
Roman Architecture and its effects on the world:
Back in the BC period, the Roman Empire was known to be a very advanced and sophisticated society, which had a particular way of doing things and carrying out business. There existed unique individuals within this society who came up with the revolutionary pieces of inventions that the rest of the world enjoys today without which the society as we know today may not be the same (Brown 113).
Roman inventions, such as the road tremendously improved life and living standards of people all over the world by allowing us to have motor vehicles moving more efficiently today because when other cultures interacted with Romans they were able to imitate their way of doing things.
Whenever the Romans pursued their ambitions of conquering the world they did not only fight wars to win them but they also took these as an opportunity to learn what the other communities were doing, and therefore borrowed any kind of material that they considered useful to them and went ahead to study and improve such material.
When the Romans took over the Greeks and Etruscans, they gained one strong material, cement, which changed the livelihood of Romans completely by enabling them to improve how construction of structures used to take place. Cement is now being used in each and every country as a key pillar and cornerstone of modern architecture and construction (Evans).
It was therefore through the curiosity and learning nature of the Romans that they were able to pick up pieces of culture and other desirable artifacts from other civilizations and therefore consequently improve on them and apply them in a much larger scale.
Back then what had seemed somehow impossible to build was now discovered to be very possible, buildings had previously been small and made out of unsuitable material.
The element of beauty and sophistication also lacked in the structure of Roman buildings but when war ensued between the Greek and the Romans and the Romans crushed them they got a marvelous opportunity to carry back to Rome specimen that could be studied for future replications (Perkins 113). The Greek were further coerced to reveal their secrets that were behind their marvelous structures and also how they were able to make such amazing flawless sculptures. Therefore, architecture was instantly revolutionized.
It had previously been hard for Romans to build very large temples and storied buildings and therefore they were limited to build smaller buildings fearing collapse, because materials which they used before somehow appeared to be weak and could not hold the weight that was usually caused by heavy materials that were as a result of the materials used.
Consequently, after discovering cement from the Greeks now the Romans were able to sit down brainstorm and apply principles of geometrics and shapes and assimilate them into buildings. For the first time in the world, Romans introduced arches and vaults, which made it possible to design huge buildings with very huge roofs, and therefore it was no longer necessary to use vertical supports in these rooms. It also became possible to build better long lasting roads and even bridges.
This architectural breakthrough was therefore made it possible to construct the mega structures that we see even today furthermore the way of living within the Roman Empire drastically changed and the whole society took a new turn
Religion and Arts
It therefore became much easier for religious temples to be made. For example, the Basilica of Maxentius, which was made in the first century BC and consequent temples built were able to accommodate more worshipers than they could before, and therefore in some big way architecture was able to influence Religious activity and the same is still evident even today in many parts of the world.
It is therefore more true to conclude that the introduction of cement and stronger buildings such as temples in turn led to certain advancements in the Religious sphere, because temples could now hold more people than they could hold before. Therefore it became more possible to hold much larger religious festivals that could accommodate more people.
It is therefore true to conclude that the societies way of gathering tom worship and carry out religious religion took a turn simply because the Architectural discoveries of the Romans now made it possible for much larger domed temples exist. By assuming that the architectural would never have changed then the way of worship would have remained quite same throughout the Roman Empire.
Furthermore the discovery of cement and Roman Architectural designs now went that storey buildings could now be made more easily and therefore facilitated the building of flats in densely populated areas and therefore since densely populated areas always need social amenities the Romans came up with the first plans of today’s sewers and extensive waterlines. The Romans successfully came up with a network pipes that made it able supply the public with water more conveniently.
Just a look at the Colosseum, which was built between 70-72 AD, it is evident that the level of complexity of Roman architecture and engineering with its tall walls and a sitting capacity of almost 50,000 people which is even more than many modern day stadiums. Besides the use of cement and other materials this work of architecture has contributed a lot in promoting performance arts, theatre and dance, music as many Romans met there to witness gladiators fight and see the Caesar (Hingley 168).
The Colosseum was also used by the Roman elite leadership to organize festivals that were to please them and even sometimes captives who were captured from far lands were executed there in order to honor the Gods. Events that occurred in the Colosseum went ahead to define the culture and values of the Roman system and even to date to many people they symbolize war, gladiators which are mainly remembered as historic events that took place in the coliseum.
Therefore, in some way their architecture went ahead to influence social life in Rome by making Roman citizens like theatrics, dance and songs together with sculpture that were made by cement and in turn these sculptures were assimilated into their religion, because some Kings made sculptures of themselves and declared themselves Gods and their loyal subjects worshiped them (Perkins 15).
The Romans took entertainment very seriously and sometimes the kind of entertainment that occurred in the colosseum was also considered as part of religious ceremonies that were dedicated to the Caesar or the king or the gods as the Romans were a polytheist society. It is therefore clear and evident the Colosseum a genius piece of invention that was made possible by superb architectural techniques and the discovery of cement now made it possible for the roman people to come together and enforce their cultural desires.
Therefore, performance arts that had both an entertainment and religious perspective could now be more freely and easily displayed to the masses, even during the times of war and drought or plagues the Roman elite, which included the senate in Rome and other cities could perform their rituals in other smaller stadiums resembling the colosseum.
The Gladiators and captives were required to fight to the death hoping that their blood offered as a willing sacrifice of war would appease the gods to deliver the Roman Empire from any impending form of trouble or even distress. Meanwhile, the citizens of Rome would chant war songs and other songs to encourage the Gladiators and appease the Gods.
Such events and rituals were very common and were conducted often in the Roman society. The Roman form of entertainment was not only limited to the colosseum, but the Roman society embraced drama between 270-240 BC although Romans started their drama by heavily borrowing from the Greeks, though they later composed their original works (Huskinson 155).
The Romans used to gather in public places or designated theatres to either have some epic poetry, tragedy, drama, comedy or even satire which was a favorite among the citizens. By embracing these forms of art and drama, the Roman society attended these events to entertain themselves, apart from entertainment some of these dramatizations and plays performed by the Roman actors were meant to educate the public and also earn the actors themselves a living.
The elite also used such drama events to welcome and honor their guests by instructing the actors to dramatize whatever was suitable for their guests and win over their hearts before asking any favors of them. Even at some instances when the Roman citizens, in the lower classes got angry with the elite the elite would go forward and organize events that the masses would watch in order to please that and calm any civil unrest that had existed before.
Apart from the beautiful structures that were constructed as a result of the discovery of cement by the Romans when they took over Greece, then Romans were still baffled by the way the Greek could make such fine and exquisite sculptures out of stone and marble.
The Romans learned and imitated the Greek sculptures and made sculpture of their gods, goddesses, deities, emperors, elites and other exceptional members of the society and even soldiers (Huskinson 35). Some of these sculptures were simply made for beauty and used marble as the raw materials. While on the other hand, some of these sculptures were considered as a part of roman religion and were used as Devine pieces that were to be worshipped (Goldhill 122).
Consequently, the Roman Empire temples were further fitted with sculptures inside so that people could see them and worship them and perform religious rituals that would better and enhance religion within the roman society.
It therefore becomes apparent how sculptor knowledge that was obtained from the Greeks went ahead to improve and impact the Roman society by popularizing the concept of freedom of worship and the polytheist culture that existed in the Roman society. There were also many cults within the Roman society which in turn went forth to adopt and use these forms of sculptures in worship.
This is the reason why Rome is among the first civilizations to embrace the fact that many people from various backgrounds could live together and embrace each other’s cultures and continue existing in peace. Simply because Romans had slaves and captured people from different lands though later these captives were given freedom and assimilated into the society to become citizens of Rome (Huskinson 155).
Human beings are social creatures who exhibit certain patterns of culture and values that make them somehow unique and different from others. For example, the Roman architecture is some way defined and influenced the way that the Romans carried out their religious functions and rituals.
Other societies that lacked the ability to build huge temples and structures, such as the Colosseum, would have been otherwise confined to carry out religious rituals at much smaller scales. The Roman way of life and the type of humanities that were incorporated into their culture were able to change their lives and influence the kind of direction that the Roman Empire took.
When Romans were spreading their empire to other cultures, other cultures learned from them and changed their societies and had a ripple effect on other societies too. A look at other societies’ art, music, painting, sculpture, literature, drama/theatre, dance, architecture and religion, it is possible to tell the degree of interrelation and how these humanities have impacted the society. Therefore, activities of humanities can greatly impact on the way communities and their neighbors live.
Brown, Frank. “Roman Architecture.” College Art Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2 (winter, 1958), pp. 105-114. Print.
Ernst, Cassirer. The logic of Humanities. New Haven: Yale University Press.1961. Print.
Evans, John. The Collapse and Recovery of the Roman Empire. findarticles.com. 2010. Web. 14-02-2011.
Goldhill, Simon. Being Greek under Rome: Cultural Identity, the Second Sophistic and the development of the Empire. Cambridge: The press syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 2007. Print.
Hingley, Richard. Globalizing Roman culture: unity, diversity and empire. New York: Francis and Taylor publishing group, 2005. Print.
Huskinson, Janet. Experiencing Rome: culture, identity and power in the Roman Empire. New York: Francis and Taylor publishing group, 2000. Print.
Jones, Peter & Sidwell, Keith. The world of Rome: an introduction to Roman culture. Cambridge: the press syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1997.print.
Perkins, Ward. “From Republic to Empire: Reflections on the Early Provincial Architecture of the Roman West.” The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 60, (1970), pp. 1-19. Print.