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Roman Architectural Traditions Essay

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Updated: Feb 3rd, 2022

The Roman Empire had a great influence on the history and culture of many European countries. The Romans were highly innovative in all aspects of culture including architecture. Historians underline the fact that the majority of Roman cultural achievements were based on the culture of Ancient Greece. However, there are some examples of unique Roman architecture, which were preserved until nowadays. The Roman architectural traditions have influenced greatly European and world architecture (Kleiner 179). We will analyze five of the most famous examples of Roman Architecture: Amphitheatre, Roman Aqueduct, Roman Baths (Thermae), Roman Temple, and Triumphal Arch.

The Colosseum is one of the famous examples of Roman architecture and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Originally, its name was the Flavian Amphitheatre it was the biggest place for entertainment in the Roman Empire and hosted gladiatorial shows. It was constructed of travertine stones fixed with the help of iron clamps instead of mortar. The outer walls were decorated with arches and columns. The seats had tiered arrangements as in a classic roman theatre. At the north and south ends of the arena, there were special boxes for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins.

The Roman Aqueducts had the most innovative structure. The Romans were the first in history who use concrete for building. It was much more convenient in work and quickly substituted marble in construction. The aqueducts also had a tiered structure: wide arches held by large pillars. Aqueducts were built in the City of Rome and in different parts of the Empire. They were used to supply water from the sources to big cities. Water in aqueducts was driven only by gravitation.

The ‘Thermae’ were the public baths, though some wealthy citizens could afford to have their own ones. The Baths of Diocletian were unique in their size they were the largest in the Empire. They were furnished in an exquisite and luxurious style. There were bath chambers, swimming pools, and libraries. They had vaulted ceilings and large columns inside. The outer walls were covered with stucco, which produced the impression of stonework.

A unique example of a Roman temple is the Pantheon. It was built in the City of Rome to honor all Ancient Gods. The most peculiar feature of this building is its concrete dome, which remains the biggest in the world. It was the first time when such construction of the roof was used. The Pantheon’s dome has the form of a perfect hemisphere, which is supported by classical Corinthian granite columns. The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved buildings of Ancient Times.

The Triumphal Arches are huge monumental gateways, which were built in the honor of big victories. The Romans did not invent arches but only in the roman Empire, they were constructed across the roads. The Triumphal Arches became the symbols of Imperial power. The majority of them were single-arched, but there were also triple and square arches. The Triumphal Arch of Orange is the oldest Roman triumphal arch remaining in the world.

Roman architecture has greatly influenced the modern one. There are many buildings constructed in the same style or with the help of similar techniques. We can see the Roman influence in the structure of a number of buildings around the world. For instance, domes are used in many government buildings, arches and columns decorate theaters and opera houses. By the way, the erection of the Triumphal Arches did not stop after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The most famous are ‘Arc de Triomphe’ in Paris and the ‘Arch of Triumph’ in Pyongyang, the Democratic Republic of Korea, which is the largest in the world.

References

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Trough the Ages: A Global History. 14th ed. 2012. Belmont, USA: Wadsworth Publishing. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Roman Architectural Traditions." February 3, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/roman-architectural-traditions/.

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