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The Roman Architectural Revolution

Greek Impact on Interior Decoration and Ornament

Orders of Greek architecture

Detail of a Corinthian Capital

Vocabulary of Greek and Roman Architecture
The lowest part of the entablature, consisting of a horizontal course of stonework directly supported by the columns. Cornice • The uppermost part of the entablature, consisting of an outward-projecting decorated horizontal band. Entablature • The horizontal course of a Greek or Roman temple between the columns and the pediment. The entablature is divided horizontally, from top to bottom, into cornice, frieze, and architrave.

• The middle band of the entablature, which was often decorated in relief sculpture.

In Greek and Roman architecture, the triangular gable above the entablature. In Roman painting, the pediment is often broken at the top, bottom, or both in order to admit a more distant architectural or scenic view.”


Reconstruction of Frons Scaenae from Greek architecture / A. W. Lawrence.

why? .From Greek to Roman: After Roman Methods Make Certain Greek Elements Unnecessary – Why Keep them? Is their ornamental value eternal? If so.

Rome.Trajan’s Market. 100-110 CE .


Pantheon. Rome ca. 126 CE (rebuilt while Hadrian in power) Greek: “To Every God” .



” Rome 64-68 CE Section of the octagonal chamber . “The Golden House.Domus Aurea.

Reconstruction of the Octagonal Room .


Domus Aurea ceiling detail .

Fourth Style Painting in Domus Aurea .

CE Using Greek architectural elements to paint second style Frescoes – creates dimension . Pompeii.Villa of the Mysteries. First Century.

House of the Vettii. Pompeii. first Century CE (Fourth Style Painting) . Ixion Room.

4330BC. .Boscoreale fresco.

Bath-Gymnasium at Sardis. 211 CE . ca.

Tivoli. 125-134 CE .Hadrian’s Villa.

Hadrian’s Villa .


Painted reproduction of pebble mosaic from the Villa of Good Fortune at Olynthus. 420-410 B.C. detail of Thetis greeting Achilles.E .

Geometric designs surrounding a personification of abundance . second half of Second Century CE. Roman Villa in Ancient City of Antioch.Antioch Mosaic. Present Day Turkey This would have covered the floor in a Roman villa.

Reconstruction of a Roman Bath First half of second century CE mosaics on floor of a bath in Porta Guelpha. Bevagna .

The (Eternal?) Appeal of Greek Architectural Elements .

Roman Influences .

the Romans borrowed heavily from two cultures that they conquered – the Etruscans and the Greeks.Origins of Roman Architecture • As with sculpture. Model of an Etruscan Temple .

Origins of Roman Architecture • Elements of Roman architecture show very significant Greek influence. • However. • The Romans were less attached to “ideal” forms and extended Greek ideas to make them more functional. Roman functional needs sometimes differed. resulting in interesting innovations. .

• Their solution was to extend the walls outward.Origins of Roman Architecture The Maison Caree @ Nimes • Romans needed interior space for worship. creating engaged columns. whereas the Greeks worshipped outside. . while maintaining the same basic shape.

Origins of Roman Architecture The Maison Caree @ Nimes .

the Romans added two: – The Tuscan order.Roman Innovation • To the original Greek orders. – The Compostite order. .

Roman Innovation • Tuscan Order: – Like the Doric. . except this one has a base.

• It appears to be Corinthian acanthus leaves. supplemented with volutes.Roman Innovation • The Composite order combined elements of both the Ionic and Corinthian. .

Roman Innovation • The Romans were the great engineers of the ancient world. Ruins of the Basilica of Constantine . were often massive in scale. particularly of public works. • Their structures.

Roman Innovation • The Roman ability to build massively was largely determined by their discovery of slow-drying concrete. • The result was strong structures that could be formed in any desirable shape. • This allowed not only bases. but also walls to be constructed of mainly concrete or concrete and rubble. made with pozzolana sand. . • Facings could be made of more expensive stone or inexpensive brick.

. made possible by concrete construction.Roman Innovation – Massive Building – the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia • The Temple of Fortuna Primigenia was a massive structure.

Roman Innovation – Massive Building – Baths of Caracalla • Roman baths were the recreation centers of Roman cities. • They could serve hundreds or thousands at a time. . exercise facilities and even libraries. incorporating pools.

within buildings. .Roman Innovation – The Arcuated Arch • Romans did not invent this form. and to allow aqueducts to span rivers and gorges. but they used it well in bridges.

Roman Innovation – Composite Walls • Note the use of a brick outer facing and a fill of concrete and rubble. .

Roman Public Water Supply Pont de Garde Aqueduct. Nimes .

Roman Public Water Supply • The Romans transported water from far away to cities via aquaducts. providing private water for the rich and for baths and communal supplies for poorer neighbourhoods. • Cities themselves were plumbed. .

Roman Innovation Entertainment – the Roman Colosseum .

• Theatres and arenas were built to hold multiple thousands of people and were engineered so as to allow quick and effective entry and exit.Roman Innovation .Public Entertainment • Public spectacles – be they gladiatorial combat or theatrical – were given public venues. .

Roman Innovation Entertainment – Ampitheater at Nimes .

Roman Innovation Worship – The Pantheon .

. – Placing an occulus to allow light to enter.Roman Innovation Worship – The Pantheon • The magnificent interior space of the Pantheon was achieved by: – Employing a dome over a drum. – Coffering the dome to reduce weight.

Insulae • Large apartment buildings housed most of the population of a Roman city. .Roman Innovation Housing .

.Roman Innovation Road Building • The need to move legions and trade goods in all weather led to the development of the best roads in the world (to the 19th century).

Roman Innovation Road Building .

Roman Roads Spanned the Empire .

this kind of building was adapted to Christian worship. .Public Buildings – Basilica • Basilica were first built to house audience facilities for government officials. • When Christianity became the state religion.

Basilica • A large nave is flanked by side aisles behind a row of supporting piers. • An Apse draws attention in the direction of the altar.Public Buildings -. .