National Geographic : 1997 Jul
Roman audiencefeel at home. In the early days of the empire, Greek drama enjoyed wide popularity, symbolized by the masks of tragedy and comedy on a second centuryA.D. mosaic (left). But in creasinglyRomans turned to the broader styles of farce and pantomime. Theaters grew largerand less in timate, and as a result dialoguegave way to short bursts of song. Soloists became the new stars. Sensationalism also sold, with nudity and live acts of violence steamingup the stage.