It was an art of shaping space around ritual, it sought identity and fulfillment in the performance and creation, it was their way of reducing chaos, it was used to show their newly developed building skills, it was to “romanize” their country and set it apart from others. What was the reasoning for making such extraordinary structures? From the beginning of the use of “the arch” to the construction of huge public places such as the Roman arena. There’s a reason why thousands of people visit these places every year, something so amazing that keep’s our attention.
It’s the beauty, or the concept of building these, or maybe the idea of designing such complex structures. The detail is tremendously in depth also, they truly cared about what they were doing. We here the quote said by John Heywood when being lectured about hard work, “Rome was not built in a day. ”7 And it’s so very true. We today are amazed in how and why they would do it. The effects on today are tremendous. If you were to look down your street you would see so many uses of Roman Architecture. Columns? So simple but still so elegant. Domes? Such an amazing architectural design. Arches?
Gave a whole new meaning to an open-looking building. Before Roman style came we had other styles including; Prehistoric which did not inspire much besides stone circles and Ancient Egypt which gave us the beautiful pyramids. Besides that, the Romans were the first to really break through. Which is what they wanted, wanting to be known by all. Roman Architecture effected the future’s idea on structure, design and the ability to obtain power by it’s beauty, it’s structure, and it’s uses. So what was the reasoning of making these structures? To show all the power they had, to show what they could do themselves.
The English author Goethe once said, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men. ”2 Proving that they were the ones that were smart enough to come up with this. Not only did they make them to show everyone, they used them. They were used daily and stayed intact. They’re still intact today! 4 So many designs that helped the future come up with more and more complex ideas. Producing such massive, creative, and beautiful designs made people come and sit in ah. The year is 2009 and guess who is still coming and sitting in ah, we are.
The poet Friedrich von Schelling once said, “Architecture in general is rozen music. ”1 And music in general is a beautiful thing. Beauty is a big factor in attracting attention. If something is that beautiful, people will take the effort to take a double look. Romans took this into account and used it to their advantage. Take the Pantheon for example, simply amazing. It’s thought by many to be almost perfect in interior design. The light pours through the aperture in the coffered dome, and creates a mystical atmosphere in the windowless building. From afar you see the massive dome, the octastyle porch and a rectangular feature connecting the two.
There are also eight granite columns, six of them being original. 4 The two replacement columns were made of a reddish granite, almost identical. The inside is what is really amazing, you first walk up to the porch which is made of all marble and granite. The two stones were arranged in a pattern of circles and rectangles. You then enter the “entranceway” where you see that it is framed by pilasters of white marble. To get into the rotunda you enter through huge doors made of bronze that are connected by wooden planks, attached again by bronze nails.
When first stepping into the rotunda your eye goes directly to “the eye”. “The eye”, or the all-powerful eye, is a round piece of glass on the direct top of the dome. It gives off a fair amount of light and in the Roman’s perspective, keeps an eye on all visitors. 7 Thomas Fuller a British author once said “Light, God’s eldest daughter, is a principal beauty in a building. ”2 The Rotunda also has an unbelievable amount of statues, columns, and detailed stoned etchings. The ground their is also arranged with alternating circles and squares of colored marbles and granites.
What’s amazing is the craftsmanship that was put into every piece of art the Roman’s produced, and the time it took to make them. William Sutton once said, “Success in any endeavor requires single-minded attention to detail and total concentration. ”9 Like the Colosseum’s hundreds of beautiful arches and the detail involved in each square. Or the beautiful rounded look they created for their theaters. Or the amazing etchings in the Monumental Arch. And who could forget about the baths! The creative, soothing paintings and the marble lined utilities were enough to ease the mind.
Beauty, if used wisely, can lead to power. Power is what the Romans craved for and power is what was perceived from the outsider, they won. The structure of every building they ever erected was just amazing. Without their help the idea of theatre seating may not have even happened. The theatre has always meant so much throughout history, Oscar Wilde once said, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what is is to be a human being. ”3 Take the Theatre of Marcellus for example.
The theatre is 111 m. n diameter and could originally hold 11,000 spectators. 2 The theatre was built mainly of tuff and concrete faced with stones in the pattern known as opus reticulatum, then completely plastered in white travertine. 5 It also consisted of three levels supported by columns. Each level had a different architectural style: the first level had arches supported by columns in the Doric Order, the second featured arches with Ionic columns and the third one consisted of a wall with pilasters in the Corinthian Order. 8 Only parts of the first two levels are still visible today but their design withstood years and years of usage.
The Roman’s also used the idea of the arch and developed into the vault. The simplest kind of vault is a barrel vault, it’s generally semicircle in shape and has a continuous arch, the length being greater than its diameter. 4 Rings are placed in position one at a time while the timber supports are taken out. With a barrel vault, the temporary support is then shifted on to support the next rings. 6 You had to take so many steps to get the final structure. And did they know it was going to work? They’re the Roman’s, they can do anything. Maybe they took a few test trials though.
Two kids received identical play houses. One kid brought fake pots and little plastic food to play with. The other kid brought a toy gun and plastic tools to play with. Which kid would you assume has power of the other? The kid with the toy gun of course! The Roman’s not only had amazing, massive structures, they also used them to the max. The Roman’s are known for their spectacular public baths. The most famous being Diocletian and the Bath of Caracalla. 3 During this period of time many people did not care much about their hygiene. What they did was create elegant baths for the Roman public.
This was never before done, so those looking from the outside would think that pretty important people must live there. The Roman’s also had many temples and tombs to honor certain people. The temples and tombs always looked so exquisite too. So did that mean so many great and powerful people lived in Rome? That’s what they wanted you to think. Josh Billings a humor writer once said, “You pretty it up, they’ll believe anything you’ll say. ”9 The Colosseum is a great example of how the Roman’s used their masterpieces. The Colosseum was used to host gladiatorial shows as well as a variety of other events.
Another popular type of show was the animal hunt. This utilized a great variety of wild beasts, mainly imported from Africa and the Middle East and included creatures such as rhinoceros, hippopotamus, elephants, giraffes and ostriches. 1 Such events were occasionally on a huge scale; Some contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days. 7 There are also accounts of a “sea battle”, described as being filled with water for a show of specially trained swimming horses and bulls. The way they did things in the Colosseum was very gruesome.
They occasionally used condemned people for “plays” where executions in which the hero of the story was killed in various gruesome but mythologically authentic ways, such as being mauled by beasts or burned to death. 6 The poet Anatole Broyard once said, “Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city. ”3 If the Colosseum singly would be a poem it’d be the gruesome, horrid type of poem. Bringing wild animals and having men try to kill them was just a game to watch. What is the rest of the world going to think about Rome when they here what they do for fun? I would be scared.
The Colosseum is the pride and joy of the Roman’s. It is the greatest work of Roman Architecture and Roman Engineering. It put together everything they worked for, everything they were good at. It’s the distinct building that everyone knows and remembers. Byron, a historian once said, “While stands the Colosseum, Rome shall stand; When falls the Colosseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls, the world. ”2 Its beauty, design and usage made everyone believe the Roman’s had the power. The Colosseum is about 620×513 ft. in length and about 165 ft. in height. The internal arena was 287×180 ft.
It’s estimated that it could seat 45 to 50,000 spectators and on special occasions the numbers could be as high as 70,000! 4 The skeletal framework consisted of concentric piers and arches and was built of Travertine limestone, these rings were linked with walls. There were also four stories all together, all surrounded with a total of 80 arches. 2 The floor of the arena was made of wood and then covered with sand. Under the arena there was an 18 ft. high basement which stood on cement foundations some 18 ft. thick. The basement is an architectural masterpiece in itself, about as big as the arena itself too.
The rooms of the basement were specially constructed to support the show on the stage above but were used for a number of purposes such as keeping animals, medics, gladiators, general supplies and so on. It is known that there was an elevator type device to elevate animals and fighters into the arena from the floors underneath so that they could join in the action when it was their turn. 7 Besides the structural wonderment of the Colosseum, it held so much allure from all points of view. Matthew Arnold is quoted saying, “I gazed upon the scene with intense and mingled feeling.
The world could show nothing greater. “2 From the thoroughness of every individual arch to the hand crafted statues. There was a definite appeal in this building. Only the great and powerful can do great and powerful things. This is something the Romans believed, and heavily. Being able to build such grand and ravishing buildings proved that they could do great and powerful things. The late Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra once said, “When thou art at Rome, do as they do at Rome”. 2 Obviously Rome’s “scare factor” was known to many.
Some may think that Roman and Greek architecture are the same concept, but the Roman’s put so much more into their skill. The way they meshed together their artistic abilities and architectural abilities created such a great and powerful bond. Their unbelievable leaps in the architecture ladder should be remembered for a long time, it is very much deserved. Roman Architecture effected the future’s idea on structure, design and the ability to obtain power by it’s beauty, it’s structure, and it’s uses. They wanted to be know, they literally killed for it! The year is 2009 and we remember, congratulations Rome.
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