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  • Welcome to Roman Architecture.

  • I'm Professor Kleiner, and what I'd like to do today

  • is to give you a sense of some of the great buildings

  • and some of the themes that we will be studying together this semester.

  • I think it's important to note, from the outset,

  • that Roman architecture is primarily an architecture of cities.

  • The Romans structured a man-made, worldwide empire out of architectural forms,

  • and those architectural forms revolutionized the ancient world

  • and exerted a lasting influence on the architecture and the architects of post-classical times.

  • This semester we will be concerned primarily with urban

  • communities-- with urban communities--and we

  • will, in the first half of this

  • semester, we will focus on the city of

  • Rome, and in the second-- and also central Italy,

  • including Pompeii.

  • And I wanted to show you, at the outset,

  • an aerial view of Rome--you see it over here,

  • on the left-hand side of the screen--

  • that situates us in the very core of the ancient city.

  • You see the famous Colosseum, the very icon of Rome,

  • at the upper right.

  • You see the Roman Forum, as it looks today,

  • and you see a part of the Capitoline Hill,

  • transformed by Michelangelo into the famous Campidoglio,

  • as well as the Via dei Fori Imperiali of Mussolini,

  • built by Mussolini, and the Imperial Fora.

  • So the city of Rome again we'll be concentrating on,

  • at the beginning of this semester, as well as the city of

  • Pompeii.

  • An aerial view of Pompeii, as it looks today.

  • You can see many of the buildings of the city,

  • including the houses and the shops, and also the

  • entertainment district.

  • This is the theater and the music hall of ancient Pompeii.

  • The amphitheater is over here.

  • And you can see, of course, looming up in the

  • background, Mount Vesuvius, the mountain that caused all that trouble in 79 A.D.

  • So that's the first half of the semester.

  • The second half of the semester we are going to be going out

  • into the provinces, into the Roman provinces,

  • and that is going to take us-- and we're going to look at the

  • provinces both in the eastern and the western part of the

  • Empire-- and that will take us to Roman Greece.

  • It will take us to Asia Minor; Asia Minor, which of course is modern Turkey.

  • It will take us to North Africa.

  • It will take us to the Middle East,

  • in what's now Jordan and Syria, and it will also take us to

  • Europe, to western Europe,

  • to cities in France and to cities in Spain.

  • And let me just show you an example of some of the buildings

  • that we'll look at as we travel to the provinces.

  • This is the Library of Celsus, in Ephesus,

  • on the western coast of Turkey.

  • This--the theater, a spectacularly well-preserved

  • theater at Sabratha, you see on the upper right-hand

  • side; and down here a restored view

  • of the masterful Palace of Diocletian.

  • We have the late Roman emperors in a place called Split,

  • which is in Croatia, along the fabulously gorgeous

  • Dalmatian Coast today.

  • So those are just a sampling of the kinds of buildings that

  • we'll look at in the provinces.

  • We're going to be seeing, we'll be concentrating on the

  • ways in which the Romans planned and built their cities.

  • And it's important to note, from the very outset,

  • that Rome itself grew in a very ad hoc way.

  • And we can tell that.

  • Here's a Google Earth image showing that core of Rome,

  • with the Colosseum, with the famous,

  • modern Victor Emmanuel Monument that looks either like a wedding

  • cake or a typewriter.

  • It's very white, and it's called the wedding

  • cake by a lot of the locals.

  • You see that here.

  • But it's a landmark in Rome.

  • And the Capitoline Hill, with the Campidoglio over here;

  • the Forum, the Roman Forum; the Imperial Fora on this side.

  • But you can see from the relatively crooked and narrow

  • streets of the city of Rome, as they look from above today,

  • you can see that again the city grew in a fairly ad hoc

  • way, as I mentioned.

  • It wasn't planned all at once, it just grew up over time,

  • beginning in the eighth century B.C.

  • Now this is interesting because what we know about the Romans is

  • when they were left to their own devices,

  • and they could build a city from scratch,

  • they didn't let it grow in an ad hoc way.

  • They structured it in a very methodical way.

  • It was basically based on military strategy,

  • military planning.

  • The Romans, they couldn't have conquered the world without

  • obviously having a masterful military enterprise,

  • and everywhere they went on their various campaigns,

  • their various military campaigns, they would build

  • camps, and those camps were always

  • laid out in a very geometric plan,

  • along a grid, usually square or rectangular.

  • So when we begin to see the Romans building their ideal

  • Roman city, they turn to that so-called

  • castrum, or military camp design,

  • and they build their cities that way.

  • And I show you here one example.

  • We're using Google Earth here again,

  • another example of, or an example of a city called

  • Timgad, T-i-m-g-a-d,

  • which is in modern Algeria, and the ancient city still

  • survives.

  • And if we look at this Google Earth image of it,

  • you can see there are no later accretions,

  • as we have in Rome, no later civilizations built on

  • top of it.

  • You can see the ideal Roman plan, which, as I said,

  • is usually either a square or a rectangle.

  • It has in the center the two main streets of the city.

  • The north-south street is called the cardo,

  • c-a-r-d-o.

  • The east-west street is called the decumanus,

  • d-e-c-u-m-a-n-u-s.

  • We'll go back to all of this in the future; so you don't have to

  • worry about it today.

  • The cardo and the decumanus,

  • and you can see that they cross exactly;

  • they intersect exactly at the center of the city.

  • And then the rest of the city is arranged in blocks,

  • very regular blocks, this grid plan that I mentioned

  • before.

  • Then some of the major monuments, whether it's the

  • theater or the forum, are arranged in different parts

  • of the city, and then these blocks

  • constitute essentially the housing and the shops and so on

  • and so forth.

  • This is a city that was planned in around 100 A.D.,

  • under the emperor Trajan.

  • And again it gives us an inkling of what the Romans --

  • when the Romans thought about ideal Roman town planning --

  • it was this grid plan, not Rome, but this grid plan

  • that they had very much in mind.

  • Cities like Rome, like Timgad,

  • and most of the others that we'll look at in the course of

  • this semester, were surrounded by defensive

  • walls.

  • As a major military machine in its own right,

  • Rome was only too aware of the dangers of attack from others,

  • and consequently they walled their cities.

  • And we will look at the two major walls in Rome,

  • as well as walls in other parts of the Roman world.

  • I promise not to spend too much time on walls,

  • because they're essentially piles of stone.

  • But they're important in their own right and I will speak to

  • them on occasion, and especially the two in Rome.

  • You see them here.

  • This is the first wall in Rome, the so-called Servian Walls,

  • which was built in the Republic, in the Roman Republic,

  • to surround the city, the Republican city,

  • and essentially the Seven Hills, the famous Seven Hills of

  • Rome, to surround the Seven Hills of

  • Rome, in the fourth century B.C.

  • You see a section of it here.

  • This wall--any of you who've come to Rome by train,

  • and the Stazione Termini, see a very extensive section of

  • the Servian Walls, as you get out--I don't know if

  • you've noticed it, but you should see--an

  • extensive section of the Servian Walls right outside the train

  • station.

  • This is a different section, a picture I took on the

  • Aventine Hill, showing part of that wall.

  • And that was eventually replaced by later walls.

  • The city grew over time.

  • It needed a more extensive, broader wall system,

  • and in the late third century A.D., under the emperor

  • Aurelian, the famous Aurelian Walls were built.

  • The Aurelian Walls, as you know -- there's no way

  • you've missed those -- I'm sure if you've been in Rome

  • you've seen the Aurelian Walls-- they're there,

  • they're very much there-- at least if you've left the

  • city.

  • Maybe if you've just gone into the core of the city and haven't

  • gone beyond that, you might not have seen them.

  • But if you've left the city, you've seen the Aurelian Walls

  • -- a very impressive set of walls that encircled the later

  • city.

  • One thing that's apparent to you as you look at these,

  • even if you have no knowledge of Roman

  • architecture, is these are made of very

  • different kinds of materials.

  • So technical issues come to the fore right away as one analyzes

  • this sort of thing.

  • In the early period, essentially blocks of stone,

  • piled one on top of the other, for the wall.

  • Here, a more sophisticated use, later on in the Empire,

  • of a new technology that we're going to talk about a lot this

  • semester.

  • That is concrete, and what concrete did to

  • revolutionize Roman architecture;

  • concrete, in this particular case, faced with brick.

  • We talked about regular town planning and the location of the

  • cardo and the decumanus.

  • I want to show you just an example of this.

  • This is a city in Italy, in this case the city of

  • Pompeii.

  • You see it here in plan.

  • This is a plan of Pompeii as it looked, just at the moment that

  • Vesuvius erupted.

  • So in August of 79 A.D.

  • this was the way Pompeii was at that particular time.

  • You can see it's not really a rectangle;

  • it's kind of elongated, sort of like an oval,

  • kind of an oval, an irregular oval.

  • But it has the sense; I think it has the sense.

  • It shows you that again even though the Romans were thinking

  • to try to create their cities in a very regular way,

  • it didn't always work out exactly that way,

  • depending on the terrain and so on and so forth.

  • But this is a rough--it's sort of an irregular rectangle,

  • as you can see here.

  • But if you look very carefully, you sort of say to yourself

  • like, "Where's the cardo,

  • where's the dec?

  • You just told us the cardo and the

  • decumanus intersect in the center;

  • like where are they?

  • Why aren't they intersecting in the center?"

  • Well, surprise, surprise, maybe not such a

  • surprise, if you look over here at the bottom left,

  • you will actually see the original city of Pompeii.

  • In the fourth century B.C., the third century B.C.,

  • the second century B.C., Pompeii didn't look like this;

  • Pompeii looked like this.

  • And if you look very carefully at just this section,

  • where we have the buildings in the various colors,

  • you will see that there is indeed a cardo and a

  • decumanus that intersect exactly at the center of this

  • roughly square-- so this was actually pretty

  • regular originally-- this roughly square city of

  • Pompeii.

  • At three we find the forum, because the forum is always at

  • the intersection.

  • The Romans try--they're very careful about this sort of

  • thing-- try to put their forum right at

  • the intersection of the cardo and the

  • decumanus.

  • You see that here; and then you see a lot of other