Monday and Wednesday, September 18 and 20:


Reading: Architecture, chapter three, pp. 116--152.
Suggested: Norberg-Schulz, Chapter 3

Roman Republic (4th c. to 27 BC) Originally small republican city state, chiefly of free landowners. Expansion into entire Mediterranean basin [ 115 map of Roman world] with corresponding growth of commerical and financial power; world trade. Decline of small landowners, growth of landed aristocracy, wealthy commercial class, slave labor. Absorption of Greek culture.

Roman Empire (27 BC 476 AD) Empire established by Augustus. Conquests in Central Europe and north to England during first two centuries. Centralized and orderly world-wide organization around old and newly founded urban centers. Creation of overall administrative and legal framework comparable to modern. Extensive public works, imperial patronage of the arts.

Late Empire (from 3rd c. AD): Increasing pressure from barbarians at frontiers (soldier emperors). Shrinking economic prosperity. Gradual decline of landed aristocracy and wealthy commerical class, replaced by court aristocracy. Steady growth of proletariat and slave class, mercenary army. Disappearance of middle class. Emperor more and more despotic on pattern of oriental rulers, with complicated court ceremonial. Imperial policy frequently determined by demands of proletarial and by popular religious movements (such as Mithraism and Christianity). Christianity recognized in 313 (Edict of Milan); state religion in 380.

Roman Architecture: Elements derived from both Greek and Etruscan traditions. An architecture of wall and enclosed tactile space. Individual column with entablature no longer the basic architectural unity. Orders used to articulate the wall, to clarify and dramatize the organization of interior and exterior by a framework of vertical and horizontal divsions: engaged columns, pilasters, arch order, superposed orders both free-standing and applied (engaged), painted architectural membering. Use of truss roof in trabeated construction, and extensive use of vaulted construction for large uninterrupted spaces. Vaults originally used only for purely utilitarian structures, gradually adopted in monumental public architecture.

New materials: concrete with brick and stone facing, marble veneers. Sculptural decoration usually free standing statues in niches. Walls painted in illusionistic fresco. Buildings axially organized, with logical relations of main and subordinate axes, from single units to large scale city plans. Spatially, Roman architecture shows a development from closed, simple space units and regular articulation to more complex spatial relations, more fluid interpenetration of spaces, more rhythmic organization of space and mass.

Key works:

1. Nimes, France: Pont du Gard, 1st c. BC [views: 198, 045]
2. Temple of Jupiter (called the Maison Carre'e), Nimes, France: 1st c. BC [ 199 view; 046 side elevation]; fig. 167.
3. Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, Palestrina (ancient Praeneste), near Rome): c. 80 BC [ 061 reconstructed view; 052 reconstructed section]; figs. 174--176.
4. Pompeii: Vettii house, ca. 70 A.D. [ 212 plan; 211 view of peristyle today; 071, 072 room decorations]; see fig. 207 as comparable work.
5. Vitruvius, Ten Books on Architecture, written about 29 BC.
6. Colosseum (=Flavian amphitheater), Rome: c. 72-80 AD [ 043 view today; 035 cutaway diagram]; figs. 155--158.
7. Forum of Trajan, including Basilica Ulpia (following entry), Rome, c. 111-117, attributed to Apollodorus of Damascus [ 210 plan as originally conceived and built; 034 reconstructed model, with Basilica Ulpia the cross-axial building in centerground; 033 view of groin vaults in market today]; figs. 196--201.
8. Basilica Ulpia [ 039 plan; 040 reconstructed interior view]
9. Pantheon, Rome, c. 118 AD [ 062 plan; 031 reconstruction with forecourt; 204 reconstructed elevation; 205 reconstructed section; 036 section today; 203 aerial view today; 202 full view in eighteenth century; 201 interior today; 200 interior of dome]; figs. 177--182.
10. Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, Rome, 307-312 AD [ 037 reconstructed plan; 334 reconstructed cutaway view; 041 reconstructed interior view; 206 and 038 exterior/interior views today]; figs. 188, 189.

Works in context:

  • Rome: Round temple in the Forum Boarium (Temple by the Tiber), c. 120 BC
  • Tivoli, nr. Rome: round temple of the Sibyl (so-called) [ 044] 1st c. BC
  • Domus Aurea (Golden House) of Nero, Rome, 64 AD
  • Baths of Diocletian, Rome, 398-306 AD
  • Split, Palace of Diocletian, c. 300 AD
  • Terms:

  • illusionism
  • dome
  • barrel vault
  • grain vault
  • pilaster
  • basilica
  • nave
  • arch or vault (arcuated system) [ 004 building an arch over wooden formwork]
  • post-and-lintel (trabeated system) [ 013 Deir-el Bahari colonnade]