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Forum of Trajan and Roman City Building Techniques Essay

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The Forum of Trajan building architecture forms the structure of Roman city building construction/

The Forum of Trajan in Rome, built at the commencement of the second century AD, is one of the most remarkable existing models of Roman majestic architectural planning and patronage and formed a fraction of a much larger scheme of imperial building work adjacent to the historic Forum Romanum.

The forum was built on the order of Emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia. The project of the Forum was completely attributed to the architect Apollodorus of Damascus,[1] who also accompanied Emperor Trajan in the Dacian campaign.

During the time of the construction, several other projects took place: The Markets of Trajan were constructed,[1] Caesar’s Forum (where the Basilica Argentaria was built), and the Temple of Venus Genetrix were renovated.

Structure

The Forum was built from a vast stoa-lined piazza measuring 660 by 390 feet (200 x 120 m) with exedra on two sides. The focal access to the forum is on the southern side, a triumphal archway surmounted by a sculpture of Trajan in a six-horse chariot. The Basilica Ulpia lies at the north end of the piazza, which was paved with rectangular chunks of white marble and ornamented by a huge equestrian statue of Trajan. On each side of the piazza are marketplaces. In contemporary times only a segment of the markets and the column of Trajan remain.

Among Trajan’s public works, the most important were in Italy: roads, principally the Via Traiana in the south; great enhancement to Claudius’s artificial harbor at Ostia; and predominantly the colossal forum in Rome, surrounded by halls, libraries, and shops and centering on the most renowned of all Trajan’s works, the grand column celebrating his Dacian victories.

Among the further great public construction ventures of the Romans, the most significant is the network of bridges and roads that smooth the progress of travel throughout the empire, and the canal that brought water to the towns from mountain sources (Pont du Gard, 19 bc, near Nîmes).

Building Materials and Methods

Quarried stone, used in conjunction with timber beams and terracotta tiles and plaques, was the essential Roman building material from Republican times on. Marbles lent splendor to the Romans’ buildings. But it was a material invented by the Romans—concrete—that revolutionized the history of architecture and permitted the Romans to put up buildings that were impossible to construct with the traditional stone post-and-lintel system of earlier architecture.

Although Roman concrete could be faced with a variety of materials, the most popular during the empire was brick. Indeed, during the first two centuries after Christ, brick first came to be appreciated as a building facing in its own right; brick-faced concrete quickly became the favored material for large buildings such as apartment houses, baths, and horrea, or warehouses (for example, the horrea of Epagathius, ad 145–150, at Ostia).

A clear picture of Roman architecture can be drawn from the impressive remains of ancient Roman public and private buildings.

Roman City Planning

The archetypal Roman city of the later Republic and empire had a rectangular plan and bore a resemblance to a Roman military camp with two central streets—the cardo (north-south) and the documents (east-west)—a network of smaller streets separating the town into blocks, and a wall circuit with gateways. The central spot of the city was its forum, by and large, positioned at the heart of the city at the crossroads of the cardo and the documents.

The forum, an open area surrounded by colonnades with shops, was purposed as the principal convention place of the town. It was also the spot of the city’s primary sacred and municipal buildings, among them the Senate house, records office, and BASILICA. The basilica was a roofed hall with a wide innermost area—the nave—flanked by side passageways, and it often had two or more stories. In Roman times basilicas were the location of trade transactions and lawful proceedings.

In conclusion, Roman monuments were designed to serve the needs of their patrons rather than to express the artistic temperaments of their makers.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Forum of Trajan and Roman City Building Techniques." September 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/forum-of-trajan-and-roman-city-building-techniques/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Forum of Trajan and Roman City Building Techniques'. 5 September.

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