THE EARLY ROMAN ART.
OUR sketch and illustrations of Etruscan art must serve to give some idea of the surroundings and culture with which the Romans were in contact in early days. The great power and wealth of the Greek states of Italy must not be overlooked in the matter of influence, nor the fact that during nearly five hundred years of Roman history ( 750-275 B. C.) they were of much greater importance in Italian history than Rome itself; but they were not geographically or otherwise in direct relations with this state, and their influence must be conceived rather as indirect through the Etruscans and the Samnites,* as explained for these peoples.
The main apparent fact in early Roman character is its practical, honest, and logical nature; averse to luxury, and antagonistic in its strictly political and military tendencies to the more artistic and highly developed peoples of the peninsula. Roman art was mainly conspicuous by its absence in early centuries of the monarchy and republic, if we conceive the word "art" as relating to the decorative and luxurious sides of domestic or of national life. Statues and temples of the gods there were, arms and weapons for the soldier, implements and tools for the farmer, houses and clothes and utensils for rich and poor; and most of these things, according to the practice of all ancient nations, must have had some fitting artistic____________________