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The ROMAN CIVILIZATION

IMAGES OF THE ROMAN CIVILIZATION

 

THE Latin Alphabet

ETRUSCAN ORIGINS

The earliest known inscriptions in the Latin alphabet date from the 6th century BC. The Romans used just 23 letters to write Latin; including the Greek letters “Y” and “Z” to the alphabet they inherited from the Etruscans. There were no lowercase letters . For phonetic reasons, the symbols “J”, “U” and “W” were added to our alphabet during the Middle Ages. The Latin language used an “I” symbol where we use a “J”, a “V” symbol where we use a “U”. “The “w” consonant did not exist in Latin. Think of the famous text “SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS…” (“The senate and people of Rome…”)

 

caesarprincipislettering

The Roman Square Capitalis

Roman square capitals, also called capitalis monumentalis, inscriptional capitals, elegant capitals and capitalis quadrata, are an ancient Roman form of writing, and the basis for modern capital letters.

Square capitals were used to write inscriptions, and less often to supplement everyday handwriting. When written in documents this style is known as Latin book hand. For everyday writing the Romans used a current cursive hand known as Latin cursive. Notable examples of square capitals used for inscriptions are found on the Roman Pantheon, Trajan's Column, and the Arch of Titus, all in Rome. Square capitals are characterized by sharp, straight lines, supple curves, thick and thin strokes, angled stressing and incised serifs.

Before the 4th century, square capitals were used to write de luxe copies of the works of authors categorized as "pagan" by Christians, especially those of Virgil; the only three surviving manuscripts using this letter, among them the Vergilius Agusteus, contain works by Virgil. After the 5th century the square capitals fell out of use, except as a display lettering for titles and chapter headings in conjunction with various script hands for body text: for example, uncials.

Old Roman cursive

Old Roman cursive, also called majuscule cursive and capitalis cursive, was the everyday form of handwriting used for writing letters, by merchants writing business accounts, by schoolchildren learning the Latin alphabet, and even by emperors issuing commands. A more formal style of writing was based on Roman square capitals, but cursive was used for quicker, informal writing. It was most commonly used from about the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, but it probably existed earlier than that.

 

Evolution of Language

The Latin was the language of the Romans from the earliest known period. Writing under the first Roman emperor Augustus, Virgil emphasizes that Latin was a source of Roman unity and tradition.The Etruscans, who ruled early Rome, adopted the Cumaean Greek alphabet, which was modified over time to become the Etruscan alphabet, which was in turn adopted and further modified by the Romans to produce the Latin alphabet.

The birth certificates and wills of Roman citizens had to be written in Latin until the time of Alexander Severus (reigned 222–235). lliterate Roman subjects would have someone such as a government scribe (scriba) read or write their official documents for them. Laws and edicts were posted in writing as well as read out.Public art and religious ceremonies were ways to communicate imperial ideology regardless of language spoken or ability to read. An early form of story ballet (pantomimus) was brought to Rome by Greek performers and became popular throughout the multilingual Empire in part because it relied on gesture rather than verbal expression.After the decentralization of political power in late antiquity, Latin developed locally in the Western provinces into branches that became the Romance languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian. Latin became the language of conquered areas because local people started speaking it, and not because the population was displaced by Latin-speakers.

 

 

SEVERANARCH

The dedicatory inscription on the arch reads:

Arch of Septimius Severus

IMP · CAES · LVCIO · SEPTIMIO · M · FIL · SEVERO · PIO · PERTINACI · AVG · PATRI PATRIAE PARTHICO · ARABICO · ET PARTHICO · ADIABENICO · PONTIFIC · MAXIMO · TRIBUNIC · POTEST · XI · IMP · XI · COS · III · PROCOS · ET IMP · CAES · M · AVRELIO · L · FIL · ANTONINO · AVG · PIO · FELICI · TRIBUNIC · POTEST · VI · COS · PROCOS · (P · P · OPTIMIS · FORTISSIMISQVE · PRINCIPIBUS) OB · REM · PVBLICAM · RESTITVTAM · IMPERIVMQVE · POPVLI · ROMANI · PROPAGATVM · INSIGNIBVS · VIRTVTIBVS · EORVM · DOMI · FORISQVE · S · P · Q · R

which means

To the emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus Parthicus Arabicus Parthicus Adiabenicus, son of Marcus, father of his country, Pontifex Maximus, in the eleventh year of his tribunician power, in the eleventh year of his rule, consul thrice, and proconsul, and to the emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus Pius Felix, son of Lucius, in the sixth year of his tribunician power, consul, and proconsul (fathers of their country, the best and bravest emperors), on account of the restored republic and the rule of the Roman people spread by their outstanding virtues at home and abroad, the Senate and the People of Rome (SPQR)

Septimius Severus was ruling jointly as emperor with his son Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus) when the arch was dedicated.

every day objects of rome

Mérida amphitheatre-K

cursive scripts on tablets

Wax tablet is made of wood and covered with a layer of wax, often linked loosely to a cover as a "double-leaved" diptych.

zodaic

roman zodiac.

Roman era, based on concepts inherited by Hellenistic astronomy from Babylonian astronomy

Relief of gladiators Mérida, Spain

copy of sundial 1st - 2 nd AD

The Romans adopted the Greek sundials, and the first record of a sundial in Rome is 293 BC according to Pliny

 

The dedicatory inscription on the arch reads:

Arch of CONSTANINE

IMP · imp(eratori) · caes(ari) · fl(avio) · constantino · maximo · p(io) · f(elici) · avgusto · s(enatus) · p(opulus) · q(ue) · r(omanus) · qvod · instinctv · divinitatis · mentis · magnitvdine · cvm · exercitv · svo · tam · de · tyranno · qvam · de · omni · eivs · factione · vno · tempore · ivstis · rempvblicam · vltvs · est · armis · arcvm · trivmphis · insignem · dicavit To the Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantinus

which means

To the greatest, pious, and blessed Augustus: because he, inspired by the divine, and by the greatness of his mind, has delivered the state from the tyrant and all of his followers at the same time, with his army and just force of arms, the Senate and People of Rome have dedicated this arch, decorated with triumphs

The words instinctu divinitatis ("inspired by the divine") have been greatly commented on

 

 

Law on the power of Vespasian

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LEX DE IMPERIO VESPASIANI

Law on the power of Vespasian

(CIL, VI 930; ILS 244) )

…. and he shall be permitted to stipulate treaties with whomever he wishes, as was permitted to the divine Augustus, to Tiberius Julius Casar Augustus and to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

He shall be permitted to convoke the Senate, submit a motion, adjourn the assembly, have a Senate decision made through the submission of a motion and a vote by division lof the senators], as was permitted to th Augustus, to Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus, to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.

If the Senate has been convoked by his will or authority, order or mandate or in his presence, the fullness of the law shall be maintained and preserved as if convoked and met according to the law.

Persons aspiring to be appointed to a magistrature, a power, a command or any function chom he has recommended to the Senate and the people and to uhom has given and promised his support, shall be so appointed regardless of any official list in any assembly.

He shall be permitted to move and advance the boundaries of the pomerium whenever he shall deem it expedient for the State, as was permitted to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

He shall have the right and the power to do any act or thing he deems expedient for ahas the State and for the greatuess of things divine, human. public and private, as had the divine Augustus. Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus and Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

The emperor Caesar Vespasian shall not be bound by the laws and plebiscites which it was written that the divine Augustus or Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus and Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus were not bound by, and the emperor Caesar Vespasian shall be permitted to do all that, based on any law or motion, the divine Augustus, or Tiberius

sanction

It anyone, acting pursuant to this law, has done or shall does anything contrary to laws, motions plebiscites or decisions of the Senate, or, pursuant to this law, has not done what he should have according to a law, motion, plebiscite or decision of the Senate, he shall not suffer damage, and no one shall be held accountable to the people for such facts, no one shall be accused of or sued for such facts, one shall allow a trial to be held against him for such facts

This legal document is enormously important for the study of the Roman Empire’s institutions. The first sentence is incomplete, indicating that there once existed at least one other bronze plaque of the same size. The inscription attests to Vespasian’s total control over the political, administrative and religious life of the empire. The text was written between December of 69 and January of 70 A.D.

 

 

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