REFERENCES: Dill, 196-250; Reid, 436-522; Abbott, Society and Politics, 3-21; Abbott, The Common People, 145-204; Mau-Kelsey, 485-508; Friedländer, Town Life; Abbott and Johnson, 56-68, 138-151, 197-231.
461. Public Buildings. In its baths, theater, and amphitheater, fora, basilicas, paved streets, bridges, aqueducts, arches, and statues, each town was modeled upon Rome. Domestic architecture varied. The Roman houses in Britain and Africa are not of the type that we find at Pompeii (§ 186). But in public buildings and public works the towns were Romanas can be easily seen wherever their remains are found. Some of the most striking examples are in Africa, where in the Imperial Age the Romans maintained thriving towns in regions that are desert now (§ 435). The strong civic pride of each town and the keen rivalry between neighboring towns expressed itself particularly in handsome buildings and in public works. It has often been said that at no other time in the world were there so many beautiful towns as there were in the Roman Empire during the third century of our era. Yet this does not mean that municipal taxation was heavy or that the revenues from lands and other city property paid for all these works. Much was expected from the generosity of the official class, and much was received (§§ 456-457). Others, women as well as men, gave liberally. The amphitheater at Pompeii (§ 353) was given by two men who had held high office in the city. A very lively and distinguished old lady, Ummidia Quadratilla, gave a temple and amphitheater at Casinum. Among the gifts of Pliny the Younger to his native town was a library with funds for its maintenance (§ 402). The dedication of such a building was often celebrated by the donor with a feast for the community, where the citizens shared according to their rank (§ 456). Inscriptions regularly commemorated such gifts. Sometimes in appreciation of his generosity the cūria voted a citizen a statue of honor; sometimes he paid for the statue, too!
462. Schools. But the municipalities did not show the large and elaborate school buildings conspicuous in our towns now (§ 120), nor were there likely to be school taxes. Until a very late period education remained generally a private matter. There were occasional endowments from the wealthy for educational purposes, as, more often, for other charitable foundations. Elementary schools must have been established in the Italian towns and throughout the provinces generally with the spread of Roman influence. The more advanced schools would naturally be found only in the larger towns and cities. At the beginning of the second century of our era Pliny the Younger tells of contributing largely to a fund to open a school in his native town of Comum, that the boys might not have to go to Mediolanum (Milan). The arguments he uses for the education of the boys at home are very much like those used for the establishment of junior colleges in many of our towns at present. Some boys were sent to Rome for the sake of better schools and more famous teachers than the country and provincial towns afforded. Agricola found the establishment of schools in Britain a useful aid in strengthening the Roman hold on the conquered territory.