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Encyclopedia > Roman architecture
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

The Architecture of Ancient Rome adopted the external language of classical Greek architecture for their own purposes, which were so different from Greek buildings as to create a new architectural style. The two styles are often considered one body of classical architecture. Sometimes that approach is productive, and sometimes it hinders understanding by causing us to judge Roman buildings by Greek standards, particularly when we take a point of view limited to external appearance alone. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 470 pixelsFull resolution (4827 × 2833 pixel, file size: 3. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 470 pixelsFull resolution (4827 × 2833 pixel, file size: 3. ... The Colosseum by night: exterior view of the best-preserved section. ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... Greek architecture is an important part of the culture of Greece, playing a part in defining the natural landscape and collective identity of the people throughout the ages. ... Section of the dome of Florence Cathedral. ... From the point of view of modern times, the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean sometimes seem to blend smoothly into one melange we call the Classical. ...

Certainly, the Romans absorbed Greek influence in many aspects closely related to architecture, for example in the introduction and use of the Triclinium in Roman villas as a place and manner of dining. But at this point so too should we note Roman indebtedness to their Etruscan neighbours and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for their future architectural solutions, for example in terms of hydraulics and in the construction of arches.

Adopting this broader view of architecture we can see that social elements such as wealth and high population densities in cities forced the ancient Romans to discover new (architectural) solutions of their own. For example, the use of vaults and arches together with a sound knowledge of building materials enabled them to achieve unprecedented successes in the construction of imposing structures for public use. Examples include the aqueducts, the Pantheon (largest single span dome for well over a millennium), the basilicas and perhaps most famously of all, the Colosseum.

Political propaganda demanded that these buildings should be made to impress as well as perform a public function. The Romans didn't feel restricted by Greek aesthetic axioms alone in order to achieve these objectives. The Pantheon is a supreme example of this, particularly in the version rebuilt by Hadrian and which still stands in its celestial glory as a prototype of several other great buildings of Western architecture.

The Roman use of arches together with their improvements in the use of concrete and construction of vaulted ceilings also enabled huge (covered) public spaces such as the public baths and basilicas.

Art historians such as Gottfried Richter in the 20's identified THE Roman architectural innovation as being the Triumphal Arch and it is poignant to see how this symbol of power on earth was transformed and utilised within the Christian basilicas when the Roman Empire of the West was on its last legs: The arch was set before the altar to symbolize the triumph of Christ and the after life.

On a less visible level for the modern observer, ancient Roman developments in housing and public hygiene are far more impressive, especially given their day and age. Clear examples are baths and latrines which could be either public or private, not to mention developments in under-floor heating, double glazing (examples in Ostia) and piped water (examples in Pompeii).

Possibly most impressive from an urban planning point of view were the multi-storey apartment blocks built to cater for a wide range of situations. These buildings solely intended as large scale accommodation could reach several floors in height. Although they were often dangerous, unhealthy and prone to fires there are examples in cities such as the Roman port town of Ostia which date back to the reign of Trajan and point to solutions which catered for a variety of needs and markets.

As an example of this we have the housing on Via della Foce: large scale real estate development made to cater for up-and-coming middle class entrepreneurs. Rather like modern semi-detached housing these had repeated floor plans intended to be easily and economically built in a repetitive fashion. Internal spaces were designed to be relatively low-cost yet functional and with decorative elements reminiscent of the detached houses and villas to which the buyers might aspire in their later years. Each apartment had its own terrace and private entrance. External walls were in Opus Reticulatum whilst interiors in Opus Incertum which would then be plastered and possibly painted. Some existing examples show alternate red and yellow painted panels to have been a relatively popular choice of interior decor.



Innovation started in the first century BC, with the invention of concrete, a strong and readily available substitute for stone. Tile-covered concrete quickly supplanted marble as the primary building material and more daring buildings soon followed, with great pillars supporting broad arches and domes rather than dense lines of columns suspending flat architraves.The freedom of concrete also inspired the colonnade screen, a row of purely decorative columns in front of a load-bearing wall. In smaller-scale architecture, concrete's strength freed the floor plan from rectangular cells to a more free-flowing environment. (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) The 1st century BC started on January 1, 100 BC and ended on December 31, 1 BC. An alternative name for this century is the last century BC. The AD/BC notation does not use a year zero. ... Concrete being poured, raked and vibrated into place in residential construction in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... This balancing rock, Steamboat Rock stands in Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, CO The rocky side of a mountain creek near Orosí, Costa Rica. ... Venus de Milo, front. ... Deconstructing a Roman pillar. ... The architrave is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. ... Enormous colonnade of the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg. ... Floor plan (floorplan, floor-plan) in its original meaning is an architecture term, a diagram of a room, a building, or a level (floor) of a building as if seen from the above (i. ... In geometry, a rectangle is defined as a quadrilateral where all four of its angles are right angles. ...

Although concrete had been used on a minor scale in Mesopotamia, Roman architects perfected it and used it in buildings where it could stand on its own and support a great deal of weight. The first use of concrete by the Romans was in the town of Cosa sometime after 273 BC. Ancient Roman concrete (opus cementicium) was a mixture of lime mortar, sand, water, and stones. The ancient builders placed these ingredients in wooden frames where it hardened and bonded to a facing of stones or (more frequently) bricks. When the framework was removed, the new wall was very strong with a rough surface of bricks or stones. This surface could be smoothed and faced with an attractive stucco or thin panels of marble or other coloured stones called revetment. Concrete construction proved to be more flexible and less costly than building solid stone buildings. The materials were readily available and not difficult to transport. The wooden frames could be used more than once, allowing builders to work quickly and efficiently. Mesopotamia refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, and parts of eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and southwest Iran. ...

On return from campaigns in Greece, the general Sulla returned with what is probably the most well-known element of the early imperial period: the mosaic, a decoration of colourful chips of stone inset into cement. This tiling method took the empire by storm in the late first century and the second century and in the Roman home joined the well known mural in decorating floors, walls, and grottoes in geometric and pictorial designs. Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (Latin: L·CORNELIVS·L·F·P·N·SVLLA·FELIX)[1] (ca. ... Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... Mosaic is the art of decoration with small pieces of colored glass, stone or other material. ... The 2nd century is the period from 101 - 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... Salle des illustres, ceiling painting, by Jean André Rixens. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Calabi-Yau manifold Geometry (Greek γεωμετρία; geo = earth, metria = measure) is a part of mathematics concerned with questions of size, shape, and relative position of figures and with properties of space. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into image (disambiguation). ...

Though most would consider concrete the Roman contribution most relevant to the modern world, the Empire's style of architecture, though no longer used with any great frequency, can still be seen throughout Europe and North America in the arches and domes of many governmental and religious buildings. World map showing the location of Europe. ... North America North America is a continent [1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... A government is a body that has the power to make, and the authority to enforce rules and laws within a civil, corporabgd, religious, academic, or other organization or group. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual...

Buildings, features and types of buildings

The Alyscamps, Arles, France The Alyscamps is a large Roman necropolis a short distance outside the walls of the old town of Arles, France. ... For the record label, see Necropolis Records. ... Coordinates Administration Country France Region Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur Department Bouches-du-Rhône (Subprefecture) Arrondissement Arles Canton Chief town of 2 cantons: Arles-Est and Arles-Ouest Intercommunality Agglomeration community of Arles-Crau-Camargue-Montagnette Mayor Hervé Schiavetti  (PS) (2001-2008) Statistics Altitude 0 m–57 m... The Colosseum in Rome, Italy. ... The remains of some 75 amphitheatres have been located in widely scattered areas of the Roman Empire. ... The Antonine Wall, looking east, from Barr Hill between Twechar and Croy The Antonine Wall, remains of Roman fortlet, Barr Hill, near Twechar Location of Hadrians Wall and the Antonine Wall in Scotland and Northern England. ... Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic) Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic and Scots1 Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Monarch Queen Elizabeth II... Pont du Gard, France, a Roman era aqueduct circa 19 BC. It is one of Frances top tourist attractions at over 1. ... St. ... A procession in the catacomb of Callistus. ... The Colosseum by night: exterior view of the best-preserved section. ... For other uses, see Circus Maximus (disambiguation). ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... Found all over the Roman Empire, a circus is a building for public entertainment, including chariot racing. ... The Curia, inside the Forum The Curia Hostilia (Latin, Hostilian Court) was the favorite meeting place of the Roman Senate in the Forum Romanum at the foot of the Capitoline Hill, near the well of the Comitia. ... A domus was the form of house that wealthy families owned in ancient Rome and almost all the major cities of the Empire. ... The Domus Aurea (Latin for Golden House) was a large landscaped portico villa, designed to take advantage of artificially created landscapes, rather than a monumental palace,[1] built in the heart of Ancient Rome by the Roman emperor Nero after Great fire of Rome, which devastated Rome in 64 AD... The Forum of Jerash, in Jordan. ... Ruins of the hypocaust under the floor of a Roman villa. ... Remains of the top floors of an insula near the Capitolium and the Aracoeli in Rome. ... The Maison Carrée at Nimes, France, is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire. ... Nîmes is a city and commune of southern France, préfecture (capital) of the Gard département. ... Facade of the Pantheon The Pantheon (Latin Pantheon[1], from Greek Πάνθεον Pantheon, meaning Temple of all the Gods) is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome. ... A Roman bridge in Vaison la Romaine, France Roman bridges, built by ancient Romans, were the first large and lasting bridges built. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... For the one-off TV Drama, see Roman Road (TV Drama) A Roman road in Pompeii. ... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ... The Roman Empire contained many kinds of villas. ... // Hadrians Wall (Latin: Vallum Hadriani) is a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of Great Britain. ... The numbers and architecture of Roman temples reflect the citys receptivity to all the religions of the world. ... Roman public baths in Bath, England. ... Trajans Column is a monument in Rome raised by Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Senate. ... A triumphal arch is a structure in the shape of a monumental archway, usually built to celebrate a victory in war. ... Tropaeum Traiani Tropaeum Traiani is a monument in Adamclisi, Romania. ...

See also

This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Architectural style is a way of classifying architecture largely by morphological characteristics - in terms of form, techniques, materials, etc. ... The impluvium is the sunken part of the atrium in a Greek or Roman house. ... Look up Opus in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This is a tentative list of topics regarding Roman culture. ... South transept of Tournai Cathedral, Belgium, 12th century. ... Germany pavilion at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne in Paris, 1937. ...

External links

  • Traianus - Technical investigation of Roman public works
  • Housing and apartments in Rome - A look at various aspects of housing in ancient Rome, apartments and villas.

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