Honors Bachelor of Arts

Document Type


Faculty Advisor

Thesis Director: Dr. Shannon Hogue; Thesis Reader: Ms. Kelly Blank; Thesis Reader: Ms. Suzanne Chouteau; HAB Course Director: Dr. Thomas Strunk




Although changes in mosaics in ancient Rome can be attributed to various factors such as available resources, skills of the mosaicists, and room aesthetics with wall paintings, the changes in the relationship amongst social classes is a factor that is rarely examined, but strongly impacted these development in mosaic styles. First, an analysis of various mosaics from the 2nd century BC-2nd century AD will be given so that there is an understanding of the changes that occurred. From there, reasons for the adaptations of polychrome into black and white will be assessed; focusing the argument on analysis of the effects of sumptuary laws and Augustus’ influence on society during the founding of the Principate. Chapter 3 will examine the spread of black and white mosaics that happened at the end of the 1st century BC and into the first two centuries AD. To argue for this expansion of mosaics, inspecting the commercialization that was occurring within cities such as Rome, Ostia, and Pompeii will prove critical. While the elite had control over cities during the 2nd century BC, it was due to the changes to social classes brought on by sumptuary laws, Augustus’ authority at the beginning of the Empire, and the commercialization occurring within cities that influenced the shift from polychrome mosaics into black and white mosaics and the stylistic spread to insulae of the working class.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



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