Without doubt they created the most influential and fascinating city in history. They made a plastic, pictorial, and structural art that every man could understand, and a city that every citizen could use. The free masses were poor, but in some measure they owned much of the wealth of Rome: they ate the corn of the state, they sat at almost no cost in the theaters, the circuses, the amphitheaters, and the stadiums; they exercised, refreshed, amused, and educated themselves in the baths, they enjoyed the shade of a hundred colonnades, and walked under decorated porticoes that covered many miles of street and three miles in the Field of Mars alone. Never had the world seen such a metropolis. At its center a tumultuous Forum busy with business, resounding with oratory, alive with empire-shaking debates; then a ring of majestic temples, basilicas, palaces, theaters, and baths, in a profusion without parallel; then a ring of humming shops and teeming tenements; still another ring of homes and gardens, again with temples and public baths; and last of all, a circle of villas and estates pushing the city into the countryside and binding the mountains with the sea: this was the Rome of the Caesars- proud, powerful, brilliant, materialistic, cruel, iniquitous, chaotic, and sublime.
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