What have the Romans ever done for us?
The legacy of the Romans is extremely important. Many things that form part of everyday life were introduced or improved by the Romans. Over the centuries since the collapse of the Roman Empire, Romans ideas, literature, art and architecture have influenced many people around the world.
The question 'what have the Romans ever done for us' was made famous by the film the Life of Brian. Even though the film was a comedy, the sketch from the film is extremely useful to us. It makes us appreciate how much the Romans did actually do!
Some examples of things that Romans introduced to Britain that are still in use today:
Roman authors followed the famous Greek authors, often developing and building upon Greek writing. Most surviving literature is written for or by the rich. Writers were supported by the rich. Many writers have been influenced by the Romans including Shakespeare (Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra), Robert Graves (I Claudius), Milton (Paradise Lost), Dante (Inferno) and James Joyce (Ulysses).
Many Roman buildings still stand - just this is evidence of how good Roman architecture was. Roman architecture has many connections with Greek architecture through the use of pillars and arches. Since the Renaissance, this style has been popular around the world.
Roman art has influenced many people. Just as with architecture, the Renaissance saw a rebirth in interest in classical art. The use of pictures of Emperors on coins and sculptures introduced powerful images to society.
English is a mixture of many different languages, but it contains very many references to Latin. Some Latin words are used directly, whereas others have been adapted - yet the influence of the Romans in our language can easily be seen - you can learn more in the quiz.