CHAPTER VI.
ROMAN ARCHITECTURE AND PAINTING.

WE have seen that the Etruscan and early Roman temples were copies of the Greek, and this naturally holds of the temples of the empire. The most important Roman temple which has been perfectly preserved (but in the exterior only) is the one at Nîmes in Southern France, which is there traditionally known as the Maison Carrée (the "square house"). The charm of this building ( first or second century A. D.) is indescribable to those who have not seen it and eludes a photograph. Its beauty lies in the optical mystifications caused by various slight intentional irregularities of construction similar to those found in the Greek temples. The origin of the town of Nîmes in a settlement of Alexandrian Greeks (the Greeks were otherwise largely settled in Southern France) may be one explanation of the artistic beauty of this building.

In Rome itself the best preserved temple of Greek style is the small Ionic Temple of Fortuna Virilis. The temple built in honor of the emperor Antoninus and his wife Faustina, which was completed under Marcus Aurelius ( second century A. D.), has lost its pediment and is now surmounted by the façade of a Christian church. The sites of several other magnificent temples of the city are marked by isolated groups of columns. In Italy at large, the most important surviving temple buildings are those at Assisi and at Pola.* A little temple at Tivoli near Rome

____________________
*
The province of Istria, in which Pola is situated, although now belonging to Austria, was a portion of Roman Italy.

-78-

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