Mosaics are among the most enduring of Roman decorative arts, and are found on the surfaces of floors and other architectural features such as walls, vaulted ceilings, and columns. The most common form is the tessellated mosaic, formed from uniform pieces (tesserae) of materials such as stone and glass. Mosaics were usually crafted on site, but sometimes assembled and shipped as ready-made panels. A mosaic workshop was led by the master artist (pictor) who worked with two grades of assistants.
Figurative mosaics share many themes with painting, and in some cases portray subject matter in almost identical compositions. Although geometric patterns and mythological scenes occur throughout the Empire, regional preferences also find expression. In North Africa, a particularly rich source of mosaics, homeowners often chose scenes of life on their estates, hunting, agriculture, and local wildlife. Plentiful and major examples of Roman mosaics come also from present-day Turkey, Italy, southern France, Spain, and Portugal. More than 300 Antioch mosaics from the 3rd century are known.
Opus sectile is a related technique in which flat stone, usually coloured marble, is cut precisely into shapes from which geometric or figurative patterns are formed. This more difficult technique was highly prized, and became especially popular for luxury surfaces in the 4th century, an abundant example of which is the Basilica of Junius Bassus.
Several states claimed to be the Roman Empire's successors after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire, an attempt to resurrect the Empire in the West, was established in 800 when Pope Leo III crowned Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, though the empire and the imperial office did not become formalized for some decades. After the fall of Constantinople, the Russian Tsardom, as inheritor of the Byzantine Empire's Orthodox Christian tradition, counted itself the Third Rome (Constantinople having been the second). These concepts are known as Translatio imperii.
When the Ottomans, who based their state on the Byzantine model, took Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II established his capital there and claimed to sit on the throne of the Roman Empire. He even went so far as to launch an invasion of Italy with the purpose of re-uniting the Empire and invited European artists to his capital, including Gentile Bellini.
In the medieval West, "Roman" came to mean the church and the Pope of Rome. The Greek form Romaioi remained attached to the Greek-speaking Christian population of the Eastern Roman Empire, and is still used by Greeks in addition to their common appellation.
The Roman Empire's territorial legacy of controlling the Italian peninsula would influence Italian nationalism and the unification of Italy (Risorgimento) in 1861.
In the United States, the founders were educated in the classical tradition, and used classical models for landmarks and buildings in Washington, D.C., to avoid the feudal and religious connotations of European architecture such as castles and cathedrals. In forming their theory of the mixed constitution, the founders looked to Athenian democracy and Roman republicanism for models, but regarded the Roman emperor as a figure of tyranny. They nonetheless adopted Roman Imperial forms such as the dome, as represented by the US Capitol and numerous state capitol buildings, to express classical ideals through architecture. Thomas Jefferson saw the Empire as a negative political lesson, but was a chief proponent of its architectural models. Jefferson's design for the Virginia State Capitol, for instance, is modelled directly from the Maison Carre, a Gallo-Roman temple built under Augustus. The renovations of the National Mall at the beginning of the 20th century have been viewed as expressing a more overt imperialist kinship with Rome.