Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade January 2002

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ROME For over 250 years the Romans were ruled by kings. By 509 B.C they decided it was way too dangerous for one man to hold all the power. After this was decided, they became a republic. The rulers were chosen by the people themselves in an election, which is a democracy. The consuls and the Senate did the most important jobs. The two consuls led the country and the army. There were as many as six hundred senators who gave advice to the consuls and they had a lot of power.

Roman music, like today, was played at many different kinds of gatherings. This included private parties, sports events, and public, military, and religious ceremonies. There is evidence that great varieties of music were played. The double pipes accompanied prayers and sacrifices. The quieter musical instruments were heard in the background of banquets, poetry readings, and plays.(Guittard, 1992) Other arts of the Romans included frescoes.

To make these paintings last the test of time; walls were covered with three layers of coarse plaster, and three layers of special coating. The colors were applied while the topcoat was still wet. Large paintings of battle scenes were displayed on walls.

Then, of course, clothing, jewelry and hairstyles was an important part of Roman life. Togas were worn on formal occasions. They were cut from large semi-circle pieces of fabric. It was very heavy and a little uncomfortable. For coats, Romans wore short dark coverings called lacernae. These were worn over togas, and were hooded and attached over the shoulder. Roman women enjoyed wearing large decorative pendants on their chests. They wore buckles to attach clothing, and these were made from precious gems. They also wore crowns for their hair. Hairstyles were a very important part of Roman women's appearance. Hairstyles involved elaborate constructions build with curls. These were very complicated.

If you went to dine in the towns and cities, the streets would be crowded, and people would shout across the streets for prices on carts. There would be market gardens and vineyards within the city wealthy people grew fruit trees and herbs in their gardens. Popular herbs at this time included mint, lovage, and rue. The Romans usually ate three times a day; Breakfast was served early, and was simple with bread and cheese. Then they had lunch at noon. It was informal with maybe some chicken and eggs. Dinner was the most important meal of the day. It was served in the late evening, after the master of the house had finished bathing. "Some very wealthy emperors stayed at the table from noon until midnight eating until they were sick!" ( Steele, 1994, 17) Then, of course there were the Roman gods. This included Jupiter, who was the head of the gods; Juno who was the patron goddess of all women; Minerva, the goddess of war; and Mercury, the messenger of all the gods. As a result of having these gods, Romans built statues to represent them. Priests prayed to the statues and covered them with perfumes. Sometimes people brought offerings to the statues called lectisterne. The Romans prayed silently with their arms stretched out toward the rising sun with a veil over their heads. They also kissed the statues. Sacrificed animals were also an important part of religion. "These animals had to be free of defects, and couldn't make an attempt to escape." ( Guittard, 1992, 16) They were killed with an ax or mallet, and the blood would run over the altar.

There are many interesting things about ancient Rome. Their lifestyles back then were very different from ours now. Rome is interesting, because I like to see all different kinds of lifestyles. I would really like to go to Rome. It seems like a very beautiful, and fun place to visit.