The times the size of theirpredecessors with public
The Roman Empire, founded byAugustus Caesar in 27 B.C. and lasting in Western Europefor 500 years, reorganized for world politics and economics.Almost the entirety of the civilized world became a singlecentralized state. In place of Greek democracy, piety, andindependence came Roman authoritarianism and practicality.Vast prosperity resulted.
Europe and the Mediterraneanbloomed with trading cities ten times the size of theirpredecessors with public amenities previously unheard ofcourts, theaters, circuses, and public baths. And these werenow large permanent masonry buildings as were thehabitations, tall apartment houses covering whole cityblocks. This architectural revolution brought about by theRomans required two innovations: the invention of a newbuilding method called concrete vaulting and the organizationof labor and capital on a large scale so that huge projectscould be executed quickly after the plans of a single masterarchitect. Roman concrete was a fluid mixture of lime andsmall stones poured into the hollow centers of walls facedwith brick or stone and over curved wooden molds, orforms, to span spaces as vaults. The Mediterranean is anactive volcanic region, and a spongy, light, tightly adheringstone called pozzolana was used to produce a concrete thatwas both light and extremely strong.
The Romans haddeveloped potsalana concrete about 100 B.C. but at firstused it only for terrace walls and foundations. It apparentlywas emperor Nero who first used the material on a grandscale to rebuild a region of the city of Rome around hispalace, the expansive Domus Aurea, after the great fire ofAD 64 which he said to have set. Here broad streets,regular blocks of masonry apartment houses, and continuouscolonnaded porticoes were erected according to a singleplan and partially at state expense. The Domus Aurea itselfwas a labyrinth of concrete vaulted rooms, many in complexgeometric forms. An extensive garden with a lake and forestspread around it.
The architect Severus seems to have beenin charge of this great project. Emperors and emperors’architects succeeding Nero and Severus continued andexpanded their work of rebuilding and regularizing Rome.Vespasian (emperor AD 63-79) began the Colosseum.
Which I have a model bad of. Built by prisoners from theJewish wars the 50,000 Colosseum is one of the mostintresting architectural feets of Rome. At its opening in 80A.D. the Colosseum was flooded by diverting the Tiber riverabout 10 kilometers to renact a naval battel with over 3,000participants.
Domitian (81-96) rebuilt the Palatine Hill as ahuge palace of vaulted concrete designed by his architectRabirius. Trajan (97-117) erected the expansive forum thatbears his name (designed by his architect Apollodorus) anda huge public bath. Hadrian (117-138) who served as hisown architect, built the Pantheon as well as a villa the size ofa small city for himself at Tivoli.
Later Caracalla (211-217)and Diocletian (284-305) erected two mammoth baths thatbear their names, and Maxentius (306-312) built a hugevaulted basilica, now called the Basilica of Constantine. TheBaths of Caracalla have long been accepted as a summationof Roman culture and engineering. It is a vast building, 360by 702 feet (110 by 214 meters), set in 50 acres (20hectares) of gardens. It was one of a dozen establishmentsof similar size in ancient Rome devoted to recreation andbathing.
There were a 60- by 120-foot (18- by 36-meter)swimming pool, hot and cold baths, gymnasia, a library, andgame rooms. These rooms were of various geometricshapes. The walls were thick, with recesses, corridors, andstaircases cut into them. The building was entirelyconstructed of concrete with barrel, groined, and domicalvaults spanning as far as 60 feet (18 meters) in many places.Inside, all the walls were covered with thin slabs of coloredmarble or with painted stucco. The decorative forms of thiscoating were derived from Greek The rebuilding of Romeset a pattern copied all over the empire.
Nearby, the ruins ofOstia, Rome’s port (principally constructed in the 2nd and3rd centuries AD), reflect that model. Farther away itreappears at Trier in northwestern Germany, at Autun incentral France, at Antioch in Syria, and at Timgad andLeptis Magna in North Africa. When political disintegrationand barbarian invasions disrupted the western part of theRoman Empire in the 4th century AD, new cities werefounded and built in concrete during short constructioncampaigns: Ravenna, the capital of the Western Empire from492-539, and Constantinople in Turkey, where the seat ofthe empire was moved by Constantine in 330 and whichcontinued thereafter to be the capital of the Eastern, orByzantine, Empire.
Christian Rome. One important thing hadchanged by the time of the founding of Ravenna andConstantinople; after 313 this was the Christian RomanEmpire. The principal challenge to the imperial architectswas now the construction of churches. These churches werelarge vaulted enclosures of interior space, unlike the templesof the Greeks and the pagan Romans that were merestatue-chambers set in open precincts. The earliest imperialchurches in Rome, like the first church of St.
Peter’s erectedby Constantine from 333, were vast barns with woodenroofs supported on lines of columns. They resembledbasilicas, which had carried on the Hellenistic style ofcolumnar architecture. Roman concrete vaulted constructionwas used in certain cases, for example, in the tomb church inRome of Constantine’s daughter, Santa Costanza, of about350. In the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, erected in526-547, this was expanded to the scale of a middle-sizedchurch. Here a domed octagon 60 feet (18 meters) across issurrounded by a corridor, or aisle, and balcony 30 feet (9meters) deep.
On each side a semicircular projection fromthe central space pushes outward to blend these spacestogether.