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Revolution in Roman Architecture

Baths, at least in the form in which they can now be seen, amphitheaters, and basilicas emerged during the second century. Among previously existing forms of building, the new wealth and the flexibility of concrete construction allowed for startling leaps in size and complexity. Villas "grew to an enormous scale" by the time of the late Republic and public complexes of buildings could be created "on a scale hitherto unimagined" (Sear 24). One of the results of this combination of materials, inspirations, and new wealth was "a series of huge sanctuaries built on stepped terraces in the Hellenistic manner" (Sear 24-6). Three of these building complexes constitute the principal surviving monumental architecture of the late Republic: the sanctuary of Jupiter Anxur at Tarracina (Terracina), which appears to have been rebuilt around 80 BC; the sanctuary of Hercules Victor at Tibur (Tivoli) which was under construction in the middle of the first century BC; and the Fortuna Primigenia complex at Praeneste. The remains of a fourth example of Republican architecture, the Tabularium, or hall of records, are found on a steep portion of the Capitoline Hill in Rome and demonstrate a similar interest in the architectural innovations of the time. Taken as a group, or a trend, the three sanctuary complexes convey "an impression of the tremendous architectural potential which the political events of the third and second centuries BC had awakened in Central Italy" (Ward-Perkins 31).

Thus the Roman architecture of the second and first centuries BC saw "the introduction of new proportions relating to the use of different materials" (Fletcher 212). The Classical orders were combined by the Romans with the arched form, but it was the arch rather than the order "that imposed the structural logic of the underlying building," thus preparing the way for eventually dropping the order altogether (though its decorative function was quite long-lived) (War...

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Revolution in Roman Architecture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:28, August 18, 2017, from
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