Materialism, the belief that matter is a primary constituent of reality, is a constant feature of ancient Greek and Roman thought, and also one of its most contested and productive ideas: matter was a never-ending source of fascination and ambivalence in antiquity, while modernity inherited these same obsessions. Homer is an intuitive materialist. Later philosophers were divided over the definition and value of matter. Because a “pure” definition of matter proved so difficult to maintain in any coherent fashion, cross-overs between materialism and immaterialism, mostly unacknowledged, were the rule in antiquity. Immaterialism gradually gained the upper hand, thanks to the offices of Platonism, then of Christianity, and, from the advent of the secular age, of classicism. But not even immaterialism could rid itself of the lures of matter. Only now are the attractions and complexities of matter and materialism in ancient thought and experience being appreciated once again.The belief in matter as a constituent of experience and reality was strongly rooted in Greek and Roman thought, but it was also highly contested. Matter was explicitly named for the first time by the earliest Greek philosophers, the so-called .
A marble monument commissioned by the Roman Senate consisting of a sculpted precinct wall and a stepped altar, the Ara Pacis was consecrated to the political and military peace established by Augustus following his recent, successful diplomatic campaigns in the western provinces. Originally located on the Via Flaminia to serve as one component of a grand Augustan topographical program in the northern Campus Martius, the monument’s Carrara precinct walls and the surfaces of the altar proper are carved with an interconnected thematic display of mythological panels, architectural motifs, historical friezes, and allegorical reliefs. The sculptures decorating the Ara Pacis are famous examples of the preponderance of the classicized style in Augustan art.The Ara Pacis (Ara Pacis Augustae) is a monumental marble altar (11.6 × 10.6 m) originally located on the western side of the via Flaminia in the northern Campus Martius region of Rome and decreed by the senate (.
Asianism is a modern coinage referring to the rhetorical practice of certain Greek and Latin orators whose styles were designated by ancient critics as Asian (Asianus, Asiaticus, Ἀσιανός)—the “Asia” in question being the Republican Roman province. Asian eloquence was often contrasted unfavorably to a corresponding Attic style (Atticus, Ἀττικός), which was modelled on the prose of classical Athenian writers (a practice now known as Atticism). This opposition between Asian and Attic styles is first attested in Roman oratorical circles during the mid-1st century bce and was subsequently adopted by Greek critics in Augustan Rome, but seems to have fallen out of fashion by the reign of Tiberius. While Attic remains a general stylistic ideal in the more broadly conceived classicism of Imperial Greek literature, the term Asian disappears as a stylistic label. In a related, but separate development, from the late 1st century ce onwards, Greek literary writers increasingly adhered to a linguistic, rather than stylistic, variety of Atticism, which concentrated on reproducing the ancient Attic dialect used by Athenian authors of the 5th and 4th centuries bce.