Analysis of Roman Architecture

Analysis of Roman Architecture

Ancient Rome is well recognised for its potential to produce large dense and complex network of infrastructure ranging from roads aqueducts bridges baths and temples The Romans were impressive builders and some of the structures built by the Romans that still stand up to this day exhibit this Large infrastructure was one of the fundamental aspects that allowed the Roman Empire to maintain its expansive territory roads allowing the free movement of goods information and troops the sewers and freshwater systems enabling the growth of large populations Thus with these benefits the Roman empire began to flourish and sparked a golden age of technological advancement and architectural development

Under the Roman empire city development followed the grid plan based framework adopted from late Greek cities of the Hellenistic period Roman cities had two major roads the Cardo Maximus the main street running through the northsouth and the Decumanus running eastwest serving as a secondary street emphasised in the ancient Roman city of Timgad figure 1 which was a common aspect of Roman cities In essence the Cardo Maximus and Decumanus played an integral part of city planning but also served as a central hub for economic life and business





Figure 1 The city of Timgad in Algeria Marten Kuilman 2010


Furthermore the Roman gridbased city plan transitioned towards an urban plan by the first century BCE However it was not planned entirely in advance during the development of Rome On the other hand by superseding gridbased plan an urban plan was a more flexible solution resulting in a more elaborate and organic plan that allowed Rome to expand improve and grow in splendour Evans 2017 p245

Thus theatres public buildings basilicas temples libraries and amphitheatres were sprinkled all across the urban fabric of the city so that every building was surrounded by a public structure Kostof 1991 p214

Albeit Rome did suffer from urban issues most of which was the gap between the wealthy and poor The vast majority of Roman citizens were poor and lived in multistorey flats or apartments known as Insulae figure 2 which were simplistic buildings that only provided at best a maximum of 2 rooms with no indoor plumbing therefore the poor had to commute to public baths to get a supply of water





Figure 2 Remains of a insula in the Capitol hill in Rome II century a C Peter Collony and Hazel dodge 1998


On the other hand the rich lived in single storey private houses called Domus consisting of multiple rooms lavishly laid out walls gardens and courtyards surrounding the atrium figure 3 which was the large central hall of the Domus





Figure 3 A Pompeian Interior oil on panel Dahesh Museum of Art Luigi Bazzani 1882


The Roman forum was an oblong space adapted from the Greek agora located near the intersection of the Cardo Maximus and Decumanus whereas the theatre and amphitheatre were located at the perimeter of the city wrapped around by fortified city walls The forum was mainly composed of public buildings such as baths temples of worship civic centres and administrative buildings enclosed by colonnades and either a town hall or a basilica This was because of the Roman propensity to enclose public buildings for example the classical Greek theatres evolution that initially began as an open structure figure 4 however it was improved upon by the Romans into an enclosed theatre figure 5 through the combination of the auditorium and stage Wheeler 1964 pp1112







Figure 4 Greek theatre Twinningblog 2008

Figure 5 Greek theatre Twinningblog 2008


Public buildings were adorned with sculptures paintings and fountains that were used as a source of civic pride for the Roman public As a result the forum became the focal point of business social existence and the centre of political debate amongst the people of the empire and politicians

Roman temples such as the Maison Carre Nimes 16 BCE figure 6 were consid

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