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Egyptian Influence on Rome
Transcript of Egyptian Influence on Rome
Like in many other aspects of their culture, the Romans had plenty of influences with regards to architecture. While most of their knowledge came from the Greeks, the Egyptians influenced structurally as well as aesthetically.
Citizens of Roman Egypt still followed the same mixture of ancient Egyptian mythology along with the Greek mythology that was incorporated while under Ptolomaic rule. Under Roman rule, naturally the incorporation of Roman mythology began. In reverse, the Egyptian gods became a fascination with the Romans as well, as a large following grew to form the cult of Isis and worshiped the "mother goddess".
The Relationship Between Rome and Egypt
Even while under Roman rule, the culture in Egypt remained relatively the same. Egypt was annexed in 30 BCE when Augustus became "the successor to the pharaohs" after the death of Cleopatra VII. Egypt now followed under Roman laws and politics. They were a great asset to Rome, as they provided the city with its grain supply, along with bringing in other goods such as papyrus and glass. They also supplied a variety of minerals and stone used for statues and various architecture. Alexandria specifically became the main hub for the exportation of commodities and cultural influences that were brought into Rome.
While mummification had been practiced for thousands of years, in the Roman era a style of encaustic painting became popular for burials. This practice was popular with the Romans for around 200 years beginning in the mid 1st century CE. The mummy was fixed with a wooden panel portraying a wax pigmented portrait of the deceased. Rather than the idealized and fixed image popular with Egyptians, these portrait panels represented a more lifelike persona common with Greek and Roman paintings. Details, such as hair styles, types of clothing, and jewelry typically varied between Egyptian and Greco-Roman style.
Egyptian Influence on Rome
Emperor Augustus (27 BCE to 14 CE) was portrayed as an Egyptian pharaoh at the temple of Dendur. A good rapport was needed between Rome and the newly annexed Egypt at the beginning of the reign of Augustus. He established a temple that belonged to the cult of Isis, which was popular in Rome as well as Egypt.
The Egyptians influenced the architecture made popular by the Romans. Arches used thousands of years earlier in tombs and utilitarian buildings gave way to a more mainstream usage in Rome with its popularity in public buildings. The Romans perfected it with the addition of sturdier building materials.
As artistic interest grew, wall paintings became popular in homes and villas. Designs continued to change from the Republican period over to the Imperial period and is generally broken down into four categorical styles.
The first style of wall paintings was believed to have originated in Alexandria during the third century BCE. Marble, which was used in public buildings and temples, was too expensive for most. The walls were therefore painted in marble-esque designs.
The second style came into popularity until the end of the first century BCE. This style incorporated lifelike architectural designs. The concept was more about creating a lifelike space rather than copying the design of materials.
The third style, which lasted until around 50 CE, added intricate details and images. Architectural designs became more stylized and small vignettes portrayed luxurious images of views of the countryside and exotic lands. Egyptian specific themes of the land along the Nile and mythological characters became increasingly popular.
The fourth style incorporated and expanded on all three previous styles. Images became more natural and central pictures were larger and generally figures or landscapes.
Four Styles of Roman Wall Paintings
Ambler, Jessica. "Roman Wall Painting Styles." Art of the Ancient Mediterranean. Khan Academy, 2015. web. <http://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/roman/wall-painting/a/roman-wall-painting-styles>
Davies, Penelope J.E. et al. Janson's History of Art: The Western Tradition. 7th edition. New Jersey:Pearson Education Inc, 2007. Print.
Department of Egyptian Art. "Roman Egypt". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. web. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/regy/hd_regy.html>
"Egypt Under Roman Rule." Ancient Egypt Online, 2015. web. <http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/romans.html>
Potter, David. Ancient Rome: A New History. 2nd edition. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2014. Print.
Architecture Picture Citations
Wall Art Picture Citations
Serapis was originally an invented god in Egypt during the beginning of the Ptolomaic period to meld the Greek and Egyptian mythologies. During Roman rule, the popularity of Serapis extended beyond Egypt and he became a popular god not only in Rome but throughout the trade routes of the Mediterranean.
The Egyptian mother goddess Isis became highly popular in Rome. She, along with the goddess Hathor, showed qualities similar to that of the Roman Juno and Venus. Isis and Hathor often represented fertility, marriage, and childbirth. An immense following of Isis formed that extended all the way to Rome itself.
Egyptian culture, wealth, and deities were a constant fascination with the Romans and that interest is depicted in the different styles of statuary, art, and architecture created. Not only the Roman villa walls had exotic depictions of the land of Egypt, but marks can be seen on tile floors as well. The Egyptian scenes can be seen amongst the Roman geometric patterns.
"A double-wound chain from which hangs a small golden figure that appears to be Greco-Roman rather than pharaonic Egyptian in style....A date for this panel in the mid-first century A.D. is indicated by the sitter's hairstyle—modeled on that of the Emperor Nero's mother, Agrippina"
Burials Picture Citations
"Power in a mummy portrait." youtube.com. web.
"Bust of Serapis [Roman; said to be from Egypt]" (1991.127) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. web. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1991.127>
"Terracotta Figure of Isis-Aphrodite [Egyptian]" (1991.76) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. web. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1991.76>
Wall backgrounds were flat in color yet had intricate designs, both Roman and Egyptian in design.
Apollo, the patron god of Augustus, was sometimes symbolized as swans. These represented typical Roman themes.
Egyptian motifs were incorporated into the more Roman like paintings.
Emperor Claudius (41 to 54 CE) portrayed as an Egyptian Pharaoh and worshiping the Egyptian gods at the temple of Isis at Shanhur. The cult of Isis encouraged the positive image of the emperors with carvings portraying the emperor participating in Egyptian cultural events while wearing the garb of the pharaohs.
Differing Religions Picture Citations
Panel portraits were made of the deceased using a thin piece of wood that was curved over the head of the mummified body. Encaustic paintings were created with pigments mixed with beeswax to create a paint similar to oil paintings.
By: Meghan Prince