Roman Architecture

Roman Architecture

Roman Architecture

Roman Architecture

Synopsis

In this comprehensive, accessible and beautifully illustrated book, Frank Sear traces the evolution of Roman architecture during the four centuries from the late Republic to AD 330, when Constantine moved the empire's capital to Constantinople.With over 200 diagrams, maps and photos, this lucid and eminently readable account is a detailed overview of the development of architecture from Augustine to Constantine.Covering building techniques and materials as well as architecture and patronage, features include:* deployment of the most recent archaeological evidence* consideration of building materials and methods used by Roman engineers and architects* examination of stylistic innovations* analysis of the historical and cultural contexts of Roman architecture* detailed exploration of key Roman sites including Ostia and Pompeii.In high demand since its initial publication, this book will not disappoint in its purpose to educate and delight those in the field of Roman architecture.

Excerpt

In writing this book I often found myself mentally explaining and discussing difficult points with the students I have taught in London, Oxford and Adelaide, who always find Roman architecture more difficult than Greek; perhaps not surprisingly because it covers such a large time span and is the product of such culturally and ethnically diverse people. The fact that the Romans were also skilful engineers makes it an even more complex subject. Bearing this in mind I have aimed to be clear rather than comprehensive. I have selected what I regard as the most significant buildings of each era or province, and have in each case attempted to put them into their historical or cultural context. Another author may have chosen different buildings; the choice is a subjective one and I will not pretend that I have not included many of my own favourite buildings.

The first eight chapters are mainly concerned with Italy and I have selected the end of Hadrian's reign as the most suitable point to break off to discuss the provinces. The Late Empire, when provincial cities were as important as the capital, draws all the threads together and is a fitting subject for the last chapter. Rather than constantly interrupt the narrative with explanations about materials and techniques I have devoted a separate chapter to these matters. I was also aware that a purely chronological and geographical approach neglects the development of particular buildings, such as theatres, houses and baths. Therefore I have summarized building types in a separate chapter.

My first contact with architectural history was when I was reading Classics at Cambridge under the guidance of Hugh Plommer. I am grateful to him for reading the manuscript of this book and offering much helpful advice. I was fortunate to have as my research supervisor Donald Strong, whose many perceptive articles on Roman architectural ornament have greatly added to our understanding of the subject. John Ward Perkins enlarged my knowledge of Roman buildings when I was a Scholar at the British School at Rome. I was fortunate to accompany him on several of his trips around the Roman Campagna, and once to the top of the Pantheon dome. His recent death has robbed the world of a foremost authority on Roman Architecture. Martin Fredericksen was able to read some of this book when it was in draft and discussed much of it with me when he visited Australia in 1979. Of younger scholars I would like to mention Janet DeLaine of Adelaide University whose grasp of engineering principles has saved me from many a pitfall in my chapter on building methods. She is also responsible for many of the drawings which illustrate the text. The errors, which I fear are many in a work of this kind, are all mine.

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