Art at the time of Rome. Particularly attentive to practical matters, the ancient Romans were not indifferent to the charm of art, as demonstrated by the many copies of Greek statues with which the wealthiest families wanted to decorate houses, gardens and fountains. But what the Romans stood out in was, without doubt, the construction of public monuments: arches, altars, imperial portraits and honorary columns assumed a clear celebratory function in favor of the empire. The excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum there instead, give a splendid testimony of the fresco technique, to which the wealthiest citizens used to embellish their homes with murals.
Rome and Apulia. The attempt to consolidate its presence in the rest of the region led Rome to clash in 282 BC. with the Greek colony of Taranto, with which he initially signed a treaty that established precise areas of influence. Although the Taranto people had sought the protection of Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, after suffering heavy defeats the Romans prevailed: the episode gave rise to the expression “ it was a victory of Pyrrhus ”, used to indicate an illusory triumph. With the defeat of Taranto, Roman hegemony in Puglia became unchallenged, at least until the attempt of the Carthaginian general Hannibal to conquer the south of Italy.
The Roman Taranto. It is no coincidence that the main testimonies of Roman civilization in Taranto are all after 209 BC, the year in which the Roman general Quinto Fabio Massimo besieges the city, guilty of having favored Hannibal himself. From that moment, the Roman presence in the city became predominant. The mosaic floors and decorative sculptures preserved in the National Archaeological Museum represent a precious testimony of the public and private buildings of the Roman Taranto.