Roman Architecture | What is it? Temples and Characteristics

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romanic architecture


Its history is the history of the city as an urban entity and the history of the states and institutions of which it has been the capital or seat over time. It can be divided into prehistory, ancient Rome, medieval Rome, modern and contemporary Rome; or ancient Rome, papal Rome and contemporary Italian Rome.

 

The most productive stage of Rome's history in political, economic, social and cultural terms was its development in Antiquity. It became the head of a great imperial state and the seat of a nation established on three continents.

 

At its peak, the empire created by Rome reached 3.5 million square kilometers and some 70 million inhabitants, including citizens and non-citizens. Rome was, and will remain, one of the most important cities in history.

 

It has been called the "Eternal City". Rome, along with Greece, has been the cultural mother of modern Western nationalities.

 

The Roman architectural style continued to influence the construction of the ancient empire for many centuries, and the style used in Western Europe from the year 1000 onward is called Romanesque architecture to reflect this dependence on basic Roman forms.

 

Roman architecture did not begin to achieve significant originality until the beginning of the imperial period, having combined aspects of its original Etruscan architecture with others borrowed from Greece, including most of the elements of the style we now know as classical architecture. Cylindrical or cruciform pillar It is composed of a pillar to which is attached a column or several columns, on the outside it is reinforced by buttresses.

 

What is Roman Architecture?

Today's Roman architecture is a logical continuation of the civilization of ancient Rome. This architectural order developed in the Roman Republic and even more so under the Empire where the vast majority of its buildings were constructed. For the construction of these buildings new materials were used, especially concrete, and new technologies, such as the arch and the dome, which were typically strong and well designed.

 

Their architecture continued the legacy left by the early architects of the Greek world, and the Romans' appreciation of this tradition and their particular reverence for established architectural orders, especially the Corinthian, is evident in many of their great public buildings.

 

The architecture of the Roman Empire was unlike anything that had gone before. The Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Etruscans had fascinating architecture. But the grandeur of their buildings was largely external in character.

 

The design of Roman architectural buildings was impressive when viewed from the outside because all their architects had to rely on a post and lintel system, which meant that they used two vertical posts as columns with a horizontal block known as a lintel, placed horizontally along the top. A good example of this is this ancient Greek temple at Paestum, Italy.

 

To support the heavy arches, vaults and domes, columns were no longer usable, so Roman architects replaced them with massive walls and pilasters, and the columns acquired a merely decorative value. Although sometimes, as in the porticoes leading to the building, the use of this material is still used in the same way in Greece.

 

However, the Romans were also great innovators and quickly adopted new construction techniques, used new materials and uniquely combined existing techniques with creative design to produce a whole range of new architectural structures such as the basilica, the triumphal arch, the monumental aqueduct, the amphitheater, the granary building and the residential tenement building.

 

Much of these indispensable innovations in Roman architecture were a response to the changing practical needs of Roman society, and all of these projects were supported by a state apparatus that financed, organized and disseminated them throughout the Roman world, ensuring their permanence so that many of these great buildings survive to this day.

 

Ancient Roman architecture used the external language of classical Greek architecture for the purposes of the ancient Romans, however, it was different from Greek buildings, so it became a new architectural style. Both styles are often considered as a single body of classical architecture.

 

The Romans created massive public buildings and civil engineering works, and were responsible for important developments in housing and hygiene in general, such as their public and private baths and latrines, underfloor heating in the form of hypocausts, mica glazing, and piped hot and cold water.

 

Origins of Roman Architecture

Borrowing heavily from preceding Etruscan architecture, such as the use of hydraulics and arch construction, Roman prestige architecture remained firmly under the spell of ancient Greek architecture and the classical orders.

 

The influence is manifested in many ways, for example, in the introduction and use of the triclinium in Roman villas as a place and manner of dining. In many respects, Roman builders employed the Greeks, especially in the great building boom in the early years of the Empire.

 

Ancient Roman Architecture

In the Roman forum, the most brilliant period in the history of Roman architecture begins with Augustus' seizure of power over the republic and continues until the death of Emperor Hadrian, i.e., until 138 AD. (Pantheon, Palatine Hill, Mausoleum of Augustus, Colosseum, Theatre of Marcellus)

 

Rome was adorned with a triumphal gate commemorating the victories of Titus over the Jews and the devastation of Jerusalem a structure that was curious, especially because it was the first time we saw a fully defined structure, a characteristic type of Roman triumphal arches that have been built before, but not with so much proportionality of parts and with less decoration, and because the semi-columns adorning these gates represent the first known example of composite style capitals.

 

In the last period of the history of Roman architecture (from 138 to 300 years), each emperor tries to leave a memory of a significant structure. Antonin the Pious builds the temple of Antonin and Faustina in Rome; Marcus Aurelius a column of his name on the model of Traianova Septimius North - heavy, loaded with architectural decorations and sculptural triumphal gates in imitation of the arch of Titus, as well as a small, but harmonious in its proportions and noble and beautiful in its details temple of Vesta at Tivoli.

 

Characteristics of Roman Architecture

The Romans were so interested in Greek culture that it became the basis of Roman civilization. As a consequence, Roman forms of art and architecture were largely born out of the adoption and remodeling of Greek models. In terms of Roman architecture, this involved the adoption of the three architectural orders of Greek temples.

 

In Roman 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.

 

However, Roman architecture is clearly distinguishable from its Greek predecessors. The Romans constitute an early civilization that took full advantage of arched construction, in which the roof is supported by arches. Among the older cultures, arched construction was relatively simple or practically absent, as for example in Greece.

 

Before the steel structure existed, the interior space of a post-and-beam structure was necessarily filled with columns. Arches, in turn, could redirect the weight of a building over long distances to thick posts, thus allowing for spacious and relatively uncluttered rooms.

 

In ancient Rome, the main building materials were stone and concrete. Although concrete dates to the earliest civilizations, the Romans were the first to build with it extensively. Concrete walls were often covered with stone or brick cladding.

 

Orders of Roman Architecture

As for the Romanesque style of columns, the Romans did not invent anything of their own in this part have taken ready-made Greek styles and only modified them to their liking. Thus, four orders were formed:

 

  1. Roman Doric
  2. Roman Ionic
  3. Roman Corinthian
  4. Roman Composite

 

In addition, the Romans invented an even more magnificent architectural style, combining the Roman art of Corinthian and Ionic capital details in the capitals of their columns, specifically by placing the latter above the acanthus leaves of the first horizontal volute. Thus, the architectural style of ancient Rome is attributed the name "Roman" or "composite".

 

In the period between the mid-second century and the fall of Republican rule, Roman art was characterized by the appearance of the first marble temples in Rome. The temples began to resemble more closely the Greek basilicas and temples, although they had some differences with them.

 

The Roman temple of this and later periods, like that of ancient Greek architecture, generally consisted of an elongated, quadrangular ensemble, standing on a high foundation, to which a stairway led from a single, short front part.

 

Along with similar sanctuaries of the Greek type, the Romans built round temples in honor of some deities, creating their own invention, however, introducing many Greek elements into them.

 

Ancient Roman Temples and Buildings

The main Roman constructions were erected on a substructure 1 to 4 m high with an open staircase between the walls (podium temple). While in Greek temples columns played an important role as structural elements supporting the weight-bearing parts, in Roman temples the wall had priority as a shell of a room.

 

The Podiumstempel had columns only on the front and thus an exhibition side. On the long sides, the half-columns were simply faded at the front and shared the supporting function with the wall. Initially, Etruscan-Tuscan and Corinthian-Greek columns were preferred. Later, an independent Roman composite order was developed.

 

There were also round temples with a widespread simply circulating column room. The largest ancient dome was the Roman Pantheon. This had been possible with the use of cast masonry. As part of the Roman architectural materials used in the construction were mainly marble, only the roof and stairs were made of granite. A grand staircase leading to the interior of the temple is the characteristic of every Roman temple.

 

Throughout the history of Roman architecture, ancient Roman monuments in honor of great generals and emperors used to be erected in the form of triumphal arches. These arches belong to representative architecture. The triumphal vault was a simple gateway with one or three passages and often crowned with large groups of sculptures. Triumphal arches were designed in the Roman Empire period in a more elaborate form and provided with relief panels.

 

In the vicinity of the Roman Colosseum architecture is one of the best preserved triumphal arches, the Arch of Constantine. Corinthian columns were used for decoration. It was built in 312 AD by the Roman Senate in memory of CONSTANTINE'S victory over MAXENTIUS in the battle of Ponte Milvio.

 

Elements of Romanesque Architecture and Their Function

This Romanesque architecture is made with ashlar stone that would be used both in the walls and in the vaults, replacing the ancient wooden coffered ceilings, thus avoiding the possibility of their destruction by fire.

 

Among the most characteristic elements of Romanesque art we find the following:


The arch and the vault: The Roman did not invent, but he did master both the arch and the vault, bringing a new dimension to his buildings that the Greeks did not have.

 

Domes: Domes use similar principles of circular geometry to cover large areas without internal support. The oldest surviving dome in Rome is found in the Golden House of Emperor Nero, built around 64 A.D. It was 13 meters in diameter.

 

Domes became an important and prestigious feature of public buildings, especially baths. In the 2nd century, the Pantheon was completed under Emperor Hadrian, it remains the largest unsupported concrete dome in the world.

 

Concrete: The Romans, in addition to mastering and refining the geometric learning of ancient Greece, had their own wonder material. Concrete freed the Romans from the task of building only with hewn stone or wood.

 

Roman concrete was behind the Roman Architectural Revolution of the late Republic, the first time in history that buildings were constructed with respect to more than just the practicality of enclosing space and supporting a roof over it. Buildings can become beautiful in both structure and decoration.

 

This Roman material is very similar to the Portland cement we use today. A dry aggregate was mixed with a mortar that absorbed water and hardened. The Romans perfected a range of concretes for different purposes, including building underwater.

 

It was then, early in the imperial period, that the Romans acquired significant architectural originality, having adopted aspects of their original Etruscan architecture with others from Greece, including most of the elements of the style we now call classical architecture.

 

They moved from constructions, mostly based on columns and lintels, to one based on massive walls, interrupted by later arches and domes, which developed strongly during Roman times. Classical orders were now decorative rather than structural, except for colonnades.

 

Among the stylistic developments of Roman architecture are the Tuscan and Composite orders; the former is an abbreviated and simplified variant of the Doric order and the Composite is a grand order with Corinthian floral decoration and Ionic scrolls.

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