Home > Arts, History > Art history: Architecture of ancient Rome (the subject of my choice)

Art history: Architecture of ancient Rome (the subject of my choice)

Most people, when thinking about Italy, specially Rome, think about the Colosseum, the Pantheon…all of them, important architectonical pieces known all over the world. They are so important because of their importance in the history of architecture and art, and also because of their beauty. Although Roman architecture has its importance because of its contribution to the field of architecture, it wasn´t all created and invented by romans.

The architecture of Ancient Rome adopted the external Greek architecture for their own purposes, creating a new architectural style. As Jane Montgomery says: “many ideas of the Greeks were “borrowed” by the Romans. The Romans often borrowed from the cultures that they conquered, that´s why Greek and Roman art share similarities and differences including their purpose, materials used, and influences”.
The Romans absorbed Greek and Phoenician influence but also their Etruscan neighbors supplied them with some essential contributions for future architectural solutions, such as the construction of arches.

Although they had the help of the Greek, the Phoenician and the Etruscan people to create new technics combining them with their own ideas, they finally obtained great technics to contribute to the history of art and architecture. As a consequence, their contributions have gained a great importance and recognition throught the histroy. The following are the most known contributions:

The Arch and the Dome
The Roman use of the arch and their improvements facilitated the building of the many aqueducts throughout the empire, such as the magnificent Aqueduct of Segovia. The same idea was used to build numerous bridges.
The dome helped in the construction of vaulted ceilings and provided large covered public spaces such as the public baths and basilicas.

Thermae
Most Roman cities had at least one, if not many. Such buildings were centers of public bathing and socialization, that´s why they were extremely important for Romans. Roman bath-houses were also provided for private villas, town houses and forts; these were also called thermae. They were supplied with water from a nearby river or by an aqueduct.

Forum
In addition to its main function as a marketplace, a forum was a gathering place of great social importance, and often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions and debates.

Public architecture
The Roman public architecture has always been very important. It had a great importance in the Ancient Rome and nowadays it is still important because of the elements that formed it and because its originality. The main buildings that formed the Roman Public Architecture were Amphitheatres such as the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus, Basilicas, Insulaes, Temples, Roman theatres, Thermaes, Triumphal arches celebrating the victories of the Romans, Forums (squares which were surrounded by temples, shops, and basilicas)…

It is known that the buildings which formed part of the architecture of the ancient Rome contributed to expand architectonical and artistic knowledge. It was a starting point which give way to create new types of buildings. But roman buildings are mainly known because of their beauty and their artistic characteristics.

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