Roman Buildings of the Republic: An Attempt to Date Them from Their Materials

Roman Buildings of the Republic: An Attempt to Date Them from Their Materials

Roman Buildings of the Republic: An Attempt to Date Them from Their Materials

Roman Buildings of the Republic: An Attempt to Date Them from Their Materials

Excerpt

THE ancient Romans, prone to express themselves in deeds rather than in phrases, left for later generations the task of ferreting out their cultural history from whatever fragments might remain of what they constructed. As they shaped half a dozen intricate constitutions before ever a theorist was found to discuss the principles of politics, so they built splendid cities for centuries before it occurred to an architect of theirs to write a book on his art. In actual construction Rome's spirit revealed itself. If we could now write an adequate history of Roman architecture from the beginning, resurrecting especially the vast expanses of temples that once dominated the Campus Martius, we should go far toward explaining what Rome was. While it would not be a story of surpassing artistry, it would speak with peculiar eloquence of force and courage, of sound sense and of self-confidence, of fervid patriotism and abiding faith in the deity that was to Rome synonymous with her destiny.

However, we still seem to lack the clues that will lead to a sure chronology, which after all is the foundation . . .

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