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An overview of the unique style of roman architecture

Consequently, Roman forms of art and architecture emerged largely from the adoption and reshaping of Greek models. In terms of architecture, this entailed the adoption of the three orders basic styles of Greek temples see Classical Orders.

  • Accompanying the magistrate would be an image of the Emperor, the source of the law;
  • Analysis of this early second century building complex demonstrates how the organization of the space and the disposition of the buildings create almost a symbolic map of Roman power;
  • By far the most popular idiom, however, was the Corinthian order;
  • Romans were able to live in large cities because they knew how to transport water for drinking, public baths and sewerage systems.

In one respect, however, Roman architecture stands clearly apart from its Greek predecessors. The Romans were the first civilization to fully exploit arched construction, in which a roof is supported by arches as opposed to post-and-beam construction, in which a roof sits directly on columns.

Among older cultures, arched construction was either relatively simple e. Mesopotamia or virtually absent e.

  1. Find out about what life was like as a Roman gladiator in the docu-drama Colosseum.
  2. In the middle of the entire complex stood an open yard, known as the atrium. A flattened engaged column is called a pilaster.
  3. The largest of these was the Forum of Trajan.
  4. A grid of groin vaults could enclose an unlimited area with a minimum of vertical supports. Light is admitted to the building solely through a great a 28-foot oculus left open to the sky at the top.
  5. Napoleon decided to build a Temple of Glory to his Army. A grid of groin vaults could enclose an unlimited area with a minimum of vertical supports.

In architecture, vertical supports are often referred to as "posts" or "pillars". A circular support is known as a column, while a square or rectangular support is often called a pier. Prior to the age of steel framing, the interior space of a post-and-beam structure was necessarily crowded with columns.

8 Innovations of Roman Architecture

Arches, on the other hand, could redirect a building's weight over long distances to thick posts, allowing for vast, relatively unobstructed rooms see Tension and Compression. Though concrete dates to the earliest civilizations, the Romans were the first to build with it extensively.

Concrete walls were often coated in facings of stone or brick.

How Roman architecture influenced modern architecture

Larger cities might feature multiple forums. Vaults come in various forms; the simplest is the tunnel vault aka barrel vaultwhich can be described as a "continuous arch". The weight of such a vault demanded thick supportive walls with limited gaps.

Moreover, since the height of a tunnel vault must increase along with its width, there was a practical limit on its size. One was the dome, which can cover a large circular area. The other was the groin vault: A grid of groin vaults could enclose an unlimited area with a minimum of vertical supports. A triumphal arch often features sculpture relevant to the event in question, such as narrative reliefs or crowning statues. A popular cousin of the triumphal arch was the triumphal column.

Strategic partners

The surface of a triumphal column is ideal for illustrating long stories, as it can be wrapped in a continuous, spiralling series of narrative reliefs. By far the most famous example is Trajan's Column, Rome. Roads and Aqueducts As the Roman state expanded, so did its networks of roads and aqueducts. Many modern European roads from city streets to highways lie atop Roman originals. Many refurbished Roman buildings, for that matter, are still used today.

Roman aqueducts, which provided gravity-fed streams of water for drinking supplies and baths, were essentially narrow stone channels supported by continuous pier-and-arch construction. Roman territory was limited to Italy during the Early Republic ca. Roman power and architectural activity peaked during the Pax Romana ca.

  • They thus gave clear testament to the great military power of Rome;
  • It best exemplifies the importance of space in Roman architecture;
  • The choice of marble was deliberate to echo the authority of Greek and Roman formal architecture.

While the building types covered in the remainder of this article generally date to the Republic, it was during the Empire period that the most extraordinary specimens of each type were constructed.

Roman temples can be divided into two categories: Post-and-beam Roman temples are distinguished from their Greek predecessors in various ways.

Typically, the three-stepped floor was replaced with a tall platform, and the columns along the sides of the temple were converted to engaged columns.

An engaged column "attached column"the decorative version of a true column, has the appearance of being partly embedded in a wall.

A flattened engaged column is called a pilaster. The decorative version of an arch is a blind arch: The Pantheonperhaps the most celebrated of all Roman buildings, is certainly the most famous vaulted Roman temple.

  • The so-called Basilica Ulpia constructed by the Emperor Trajan at the beginning of the second century AD can be used to exemplify this category of building;
  • Conqueror of Gaul and Carthage, of Greece and Egypt, mistress of the Western world through six centuries, capital of the mighty Caesars, unchallenged home of grandeur, spectacle, and magnificence, splendid with the art plundered from a hundred enslaved peoples, giver of laws and morals and military science to all the West;
  • This church was built under Constantine, the first Christian emperor.

It features a vast dome the world's largest until the Renaissance, with the construction of Brunelleschi's dome pierced with a circular skylight. The Pantheon is often upheld as the masterpiece of the Corinthian order; as such, it may be considered the final piece of the classical "set", along with the Parthenon the Doric masterpiece and Erechtheum the Ionic masterpiece.

The ancient Greeks constructed performance areas e. Using vaulted construction, the Romans could build free-standing venue seating, allowing Greek-style theatres and racetracks to be erected anywhere. The layout of the modern stadium, which allows the efficient flow of thousands of spectators, was established by this building.

The exterior of the Colosseum features the popular classical motif of superimposed orders in which orders are arranged vertically, from simplest at the bottom to most elaborate at the topwhich dates to the Hellenistic era. E18,G146 Late Empire Architecture ca. Unsurprisingly, the masterpieces of Roman architecture date chiefly from this period.

Nonetheless, the Late Roman Empire ca.

The most ambitious construction project of the Late Empire was the Baths of Caracalla. While baths were a standard feature of Roman cities, the Baths of Caracalla were exceptionally large and luxurious see model.

In addition to actual baths hot, lukewarm, and coldthe complex included exercise rooms, swimming pools, lecture halls, and libraries. The interior was richly decorated with murals, sculptures, mosaics, and stucco.

It was also the first age of Christian art and architecture; consequently, this period is also known as the Early Christian age ca. Though Jesus lived in the early first century, it took decades for Christianity to emerge as a distinct religion, and further decades for Christian-themed art to develop. In the field of architecture, the most important adaptation was the embrace of the Roman basilica as the standard design for the Christian church see Church Anatomy.

The best-preserved Early Christian church may be Santa Sabina Romewhose fifth-century appearance remains little changed today. G173 Santa Sabina is a "basilica church"; that is, it features the same layout as a Roman basilica.

From the Early Christian period onward, the basilica layout remained a popular choice for churches throughout Europe. Yet the most prevalent church layouts became the Latin cross church in Western Europe and central plan church in Eastern Europeboth of which evolved during the Early Christian period from the basilica church.

The Latin cross design essentially adds two lateral extensions "transepts" to the basilica layout, while the central plan design essentially compresses the basilica layout into a square atop which a great dome is placed.

This church was built under Constantine, the first Christian emperor. The building site is traditionally considered the burial place of Saint Peter who is considered the first pope. G172,31 Along with churches, the Early Christian period featured a variety of other Christian buildings, including the chapel small churchbaptistry baptism chambershrine a building that honours a holy person or place, and often contains relicsand mausoleum above-ground tomb.

These structures may be referred to collectively as minor Christian buildings. Like Eastern European churches, minor Christian buildings typically feature central plan layouts.

Roman Architecture

It should be noted that Christian architecture blossomed later than other forms of Christian art e. Christian architecture only began to flourish after 313, when persecution of Christians was greatly alleviated by Constantine's proclamation of official tolerance. Prior to this edictChristian meetings and worship were usually conducted secretly, in homes of the faithful. Ancient Greek", Encyclopedia Britannica.