Daniel Kwak Wednesday 3:30-4:40

Imitation to Production: Ancient Rome and Giza
Cultural production is a consequence of mimesis, or in a more simpler term, imitation. Through the observation of ancient structures and their mimetic characteristics, we can guess much about their development in architecture, and cultural values. This paper will focus on two very different architectural structures from very different eras. The first is Khufu's Pyramid, and the second is the Roman Empire. The structural shape of pyramids we are so familiar with today was actually heavily influenced by past Egyptian burial structures. Architects and historians today widely accept that one of the earliest and most obvious influences on the pyramid was the mastaba. Based on the Arabic meaning of the word mastaba being “bench”, we can infer that such structures are resting places for the soul. The sides of mastabas are slightly sloped outwards and could almost look like the bottom layers of pyramids without the tip. During the 27th century BCE, Pharaoh Zoser decided to make his eternal resting place grander than the traditional mastabas by stacking six of them on top of each other to create a step pyramid(proto-pyramid). This was one of the earliest large scale cut stone construction in Egypt until Khufu ordered the establishment of his own grand tomb. Khufu's Pyramid was built in 2600 BCE and stood as tallest structure well into the 19th century. Zoser's Pyramid had a clear influence on Khufu's own pyramid as the general shape is identical, just on a greater scale. The external of Khufu's Pyramid was covered in polished limestone, an expensive stone at the time, to amplify the structure's magnificence. However, “the pyramid wasn't just a symbol of regal power, but a visible link between earth and heaven.”(1) As such, the link had to be as big and grand as possible so the pharaoh's soul could more easily commute between the realm of the living and the dead. The mastaba also served this purpose, just not as grand as the pyramids would. Perhaps pyramids can simply be seen as highly decorated mastabas since pyramids were derived from mastabas. As grand as Khufu's Pyramid is, it does not tell historians and architects much about the Egyptians' cultural values compared to the structures surrounding the Pyramid itself. Right next to the Pyramid is a mortuary temple with a causeway, thought to be a ritualistic path. There is also an athletic arena at the burial site thought to have been used by the pharaoh when he came of age to demonstrate his health and strength. The fact that an arena was created at the burial site implies that the pharaoh

Sculptures of Roman Emperors were sculpted in the likeness of Greek sculptures. on the inside of these arches. The Pantheon (Rome. development and improvement is not . The Roman Empire(27 BCE-337 CE) was a particularly systematic one. Much of the Greek statues archaeologists find today are actually copies that the Romans made since the originals were either destroyed or plundered. These depictions of the Emperors was most likely one of the many consequences of the Roman Emperors being deified starting from Augustus. The current pharaoh. One the Roman Empire's greatest architectural marvels is the arch shape so prominent in structures today. the purpose of the Pantheon was actually for all the gods of Ancient Rome.”(2) The Romans believed that deceased family members should be enshrined in the house instead of at a separate site. Without adopting certain characteristics of existing ideas. “In the Augustan period there was an attempt to combine realism with the Greek feeling for idealization and abstract harmony of forms. Therefore. Although the structure itself looks to be a Greek temple. Roman culture strongly revolved around making the rest of world aware of their pride and mourning.”(2) The deification of the Roman Emperors in the sculptures was not just to respect but for the “Roman conception of art to become allied with the political ideal of service to the state. The arches the Romans made may be a physical manifestation of the Greeks' knowledge of physics and mathematics. The reason why the arch was such a breakthrough in architecture is because the weight of the concrete near the top gets distributed so that the structure would not collapse on itself. 118-126 CE) demonstrates the mix between Greek style and Roman style of architecture. The burial of an Egyptian pharaoh was continuous ritual until the death of the present pharaoh. the death masks and sculptures of the dead can be seen as a part of the house instead of a piece of decoration or furniture. The reason for this was probably because the Greek statues had “perfect” mathematical proportions and depicted the ideal human rather than individuals. Also. but a great amount of Roman structures demonstrate using this technique. had to go to his father's burial site every year and conduct a ritual to please his father and his ancestors so that calamities would not strike Egypt the coming year. usually the son. the Romans carved parts of the concrete out to create designs and reduce even more weight from the structures. The Greek influence of mathematics may have had a part of this technological advancement.would need it even after death. A lot of what they built and how they conducted themselves seems to have been heavily influenced by the Greeks. Even the Roman infrastructure and religion were heavily influenced by the Greeks and even went as far as to export them out westwards. The front of the Pantheon has the striking appearance of a Greek temple leading into a dome building that is not so Greek.

.likely to happen. If the Romans never adopted the Greek culture. For the Egyptians. they took the mastaba. For the Romans. and used it as their foundation for the development of the pyramids we see today in Egypt. There must be a collaboration of already existing knowledge and culture. they improved using Greek art and knowledge as their foundation for their cultural development. their ancient way of burial. Cultural development is not possible alone. it is unlikely the Pantheon and many other technological developments in their architecture such as concrete and arches would have emerged. unlike the Egyptians who used their own existing architecture and knowledge rather than others'.

<http://www.unmuseum. Web.edu/arth6a/ .arthistory. 08 July 2012. 2010. Lee..Bibliography (1)Krystek." Seven Wonder of the Ancient World: Khufu's Great Pyramid. 2007. 08 July 2012. General Knowledge Bibliography(Outside 6F) Art History 6A: http://www. (2)Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia.ucsb." Infoplease. Web.org/kpyramid. "Roman Art: Sculpture. "Seven Wonder of the Ancient World: Khufu's Great Pyramid.html>.p. <http://www.htm>. N.infoplease. Infoplease.com/ce6/ent/A0860779.

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