When studying art history, it is imperative to look into Roman architecture. The Romans have managed to create a new life for themselves with what little tools and technology they had. In this essay we will look at four examples of how they have advanced architecture for not only themselves, but for us in today’s current history.
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The first photo we look at is the Column of Trajan. It is in Rome and was constructed by Damascus. This column is made of marble, has an overall height with the base of 125, and the column alone is 978. If we laid it out flat the frieze the winds down the shaft would be 625 feet long. The column includes more than 2,500 individual figures linked by landscape. Also, it originally had a statue of Trajan on top, but was later replaced with St. Peter. As if just looking at it was not enough they constructed it where you can go inside it and climb the staircase all the way to the top to look down at everything. This s triumphal column, of the victory in the Decian wars, shows how the Romans are capable of constructing anything. The Column of Trajan merely depicts one of the minor architectural accomplishments.
Next, is the photo of the Pantheon. The Pantheon, also built in Rome, is a temple to Mars, Venus, and Julius Caesar. This temple was constructed during the reigns of Augustus but was completed between the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. However, I believe it was commissioned by Agrippa. There are many things going on with the amazing work of art. The building itself is actually circular with Corinthian columns under the pediment. Then, a very rectangular vestibule connects to the rotunda (circular room). The rotunda sits under the oculus which is the round opening in the center. It is almost like a skylight. The oculus is not the only beautiful aspect of the ceiling. There are also coffers that are these gorgeous panels in the ceiling. The Pantheon is made out of concrete which is one of great inventions. It is so durable because they used volcanic ash! This wise discovery prevents cracks from spreading.
The second to last photo we look at is the Pont Du Gard also commissioned by Agrippa. This design highlights arch bridge. The Pont Du Gard is a limestone aqueduct that was built in the late first century in Southern France. It is constructed with arcades which are a linear series of arches. Its purpose was to bring water from springs thirty miles to the north using gravity flow. In doing so it provided one-hundred gallons a day for every person. Pont Du Gard really captures success in trying to control nature. The Romans built these because the terrain was uneven. Again, this structure is just another great example of how the Romans were surpassing everyone with their architecture.
Finally, in the bottom right we look at the Baths of Caracalla. This structure was commissioned by Septimius Severus, but later finished by Caracalla. The baths which have a very symmetrical plan are made of brick and concrete covered up by a layer of colorful marble and mosaic. The builders used soaring groin and barrel vaults which allowed for maximum space. There are also large windows that provided natural light. In terms of symmetry the builders grouped the bathing units in the center for the underwater furnaces. The Baths of Caracalla were not just for bathing. They also had exercise rooms, shops, latrines, and dressing rooms.
In the end, the Romans really advanced architecture for not only themselves, but for us. Because of their advancements with concrete and many other things we are able to even surpass them. Our world is forever changed because of many of their advancements like the Column of Trajan, the Pantheon, the Pont Du Gard, and the Baths of Caracalla.
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