The process was completed in 27 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus annexed the rest of Greece and constituted it as the senatorial province of Achaea .  Despite their military superiority, the Romans admired and became heavily influenced by the achievements of Greek culture, hence Horace 's famous statement: Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit ("Greece, although captured, took its wild conqueror captive").  The epics of Homer inspired the Aeneid of Virgil , and authors such as Seneca the younger wrote using Greek styles. Roman heroes such as Scipio Africanus , tended to study philosophy and regarded Greek culture and science as an example to be followed. Similarly, most Roman emperors maintained an admiration for things Greek in nature. The Roman Emperor Nero visited Greece in AD 66, and performed at the Ancient Olympic Games , despite the rules against non-Greek participation. Hadrian was also particularly fond of the Greeks. Before becoming emperor, he served as an eponymous archon of Athens.
The word “renaissance” (rebirth) refers not only to the sudden and widespread flourishing of literature and the arts in fifteenth-century Italy but also to the revival of antique culture as a vital force at that time. Long the subject of antiquarian curiosity, ancient artifacts now became sources of potent creativity, firing artists with inspiration and a desire to emulate the achievements of the past. In the remains of ancient Rome, Renaissance artists found stimulating images and ideas that spurred fresh invention. Few Greek or Roman paintings had yet come to light, but an array of more durable three-dimensional objects—such as coins, medals, statuary, and gems—furnished a vast lexicon of classical forms and motifs for direct quotation or imaginative adaptation. These artifacts also assisted artists in piecing together plausible reconstructions of ancient Rome. Drawing on their own fertile imaginations to fill gaps in the fragmentary record of antiquity, artists developed inventive interpolations of ancient artifacts and literary texts, which in turn spawned entirely new modes of painting and sculpture. Ultimately, the achievements of Renaissance artists rivaled, rather than reproduced, the accomplishments of the ancient past, adding a brilliant modern chapter to the history of the classical tradition.