Characteristics contemporary dating
Except in one direction, that of monumental architecture and structural engineering, Rome produced very little distinctive creative art.
The Romans cut off rather than absorbed the one significant development on Italian soil, the Etruscan, and turned to import decadent Greek sculptors, decorators, and painters to give a Hellenistic surfacing to their culture.
Hellenic moderation and reasonableness became Roman practicality and Roman swagger.
A glance around the main forum in Rome (1st century BCE - 3rd Century CE) would have given any observer a birds-eye view of the city's architecture: old temples, increasingly complex and graceful and adorned, but with something of Greek simplicity and harmony persisting, set among palaces, basilicas, memorial columns, and arcades; on every side magnificent arched construction, grand vistas, and banks of columns crowned by rich Corinthian capitals; on every side a profusion of vulgarized Greek ornament, interspersed with new panels of Roman relief sculpture: in all, a wonderful display of grandeur and exhibitionism.
Later there are the palaces, triumphal arches, and ceremonial gateways.
But the desire to impress by profusion and boastful display led, more often than not, to the decoration of those same works with misused scraps and veneers of Greek architecture and weak imitations of Greek ornamental sculpture.They also learned from Egyptian pyramid architecture and stonework.Architecture is Ancient Rome's unique contribution to the history of art and to the culture of Europe.The Romans relied heavily on the dome for much of their architecture, such as Hadrian's Pantheon, the Baths of Diocletian and the Baths of Caracalla.Characteristic of Roman architectural design was the construction of complex forms of domes to suit multilobed ground plans.