Roman architecture
Overview
 
Ancient Roman architecture adopted certain aspects of Ancient Greek architecture, creating a new architectural
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 style. The Romans were indebted to their Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 neighbors and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for future architectural solutions, such as hydraulics
Hydraulics
Hydraulics is a topic in applied science and engineering dealing with the mechanical properties of liquids. Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties. In fluid power, hydraulics is used for the generation, control,...

 and in the construction of arches. Later they absorbed Greek and Phoenician influence, apparent in many aspects closely related to architecture; for example, this can be seen in the introduction and use of the Triclinium
Triclinium
A triclinium is a formal dining room in a Roman building. The word is adopted from the Greek τρικλίνιον, triklinion, from τρι-, tri-, "three", and κλίνη, klinē, a sort of "couch" or rather chaise longue...

 in Roman villas as a place and manner of dining.

Roman architecture flourished throughout the Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 during the Pax Romana
Pax Romana
Pax Romana was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Since it was established by Caesar Augustus it is sometimes called Pax Augusta...

.
Social elements such as wealth and high population densities in cities forced the ancient Romans to discover new (architectural) solutions of their own.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Ancient Roman architecture adopted certain aspects of Ancient Greek architecture, creating a new architectural
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 style. The Romans were indebted to their Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 neighbors and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for future architectural solutions, such as hydraulics
Hydraulics
Hydraulics is a topic in applied science and engineering dealing with the mechanical properties of liquids. Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties. In fluid power, hydraulics is used for the generation, control,...

 and in the construction of arches. Later they absorbed Greek and Phoenician influence, apparent in many aspects closely related to architecture; for example, this can be seen in the introduction and use of the Triclinium
Triclinium
A triclinium is a formal dining room in a Roman building. The word is adopted from the Greek τρικλίνιον, triklinion, from τρι-, tri-, "three", and κλίνη, klinē, a sort of "couch" or rather chaise longue...

 in Roman villas as a place and manner of dining.

Roman architecture flourished throughout the Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 during the Pax Romana
Pax Romana
Pax Romana was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Since it was established by Caesar Augustus it is sometimes called Pax Augusta...

.

Context

Social elements such as wealth and high population densities in cities forced the ancient Romans to discover new (architectural) solutions of their own. The use of vaults
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 and arches
Arch (disambiguation)
An arch is a curved structure capable of spanning a space while supporting significant weight. It may also refer to the act of arching, or curving, an object such as the human back.Arch may also refer to:*Gateway Arch, an iconic monument in St...

, together with a sound knowledge of building materials, enabled them to achieve unprecedented successes in the construction of imposing structures for public use.

Examples include the aqueducts of Rome
Aqueducts of Rome
This is a list of aqueducts in Rome listed in chronological order of their construction.- Ancient Rome :* Aqua Appia** built in 312 BC** source: springs to the east of Rome...

, the Baths of Diocletian
Baths of Diocletian
The Baths of Diocletian in Rome were the grandest of the public baths, or thermae built by successive emperors. Diocletian's Baths, dedicated in 306, were the largest and most sumptuous of the imperial baths. The baths were built between the years 298 AD and 306 AD...

 and the Baths of Caracalla
Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.- History :...

, the basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

s and Colosseum
Colosseum
The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre , is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire...

. They were reproduced at smaller scale in most important towns and cities in the Empire. Some surviving structures are almost complete, such as the town walls of Lugo
Lugo
Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Lugo. The municipality had a population of 97,635 in 2010, which makes is the fourth most populated city in Galicia.-Population:...

 in Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

, or northern Spain.

The Ancient Romans intended that public buildings should be made to impress, as well as perform a public function. The Romans did not feel restricted by Greek
Culture of Greece
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire...

 aesthetic axioms alone in order to achieve these objectives. The Pantheon
Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon ,Rarely Pantheum. This appears in Pliny's Natural History in describing this edifice: Agrippae Pantheum decoravit Diogenes Atheniensis; in columnis templi eius Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum, sicut in fastigio posita signa, sed propter altitudinem loci minus celebrata.from ,...

 is a supreme example of this, particularly in the version rebuilt by Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

, which remains perfectly preserved, and which over the centuries has served, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, as the inspiration for countless public buildings. The same emperor left his mark on the landscape of northern Britain when he built a wall to mark the limits of the empire, and after further conquests in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, the Antonine wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 was built to replace Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

.

Arch and the Dome


The Roman use of the arch
Arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

 and their improvements in the use of concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 and bricks facilitated the building of the many aqueducts throughout the empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, such as the magnificent Aqueduct of Segovia
Aqueduct of Segovia
The Aqueduct of Segovia is a Roman aqueduct and one of the most significant and best-preserved ancient monuments left on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and the eleven aqueducts in Rome itself, such as Aqua Claudia
Aqua Claudia
Aqua Claudia was an aqueduct of ancient Rome that, like the Anio Novus, was begun by emperor Caligula in 38 AD and completed by Emperor Claudius in 52 AD. Its main springs, the Caeruleus and Curtius, were situated 300 paces to the left of the thirty-eighth milestone of the Via Sublacensis...

 and Anio Novus
Anio Novus
Anio Novus is an aqueduct of Rome. Together with the Aqua Claudia, it was begun by emperor Caligula in 38 AD and completed in 52 AD by Claudius, who dedicated them both on August 1.-Details:...

. The same idea produced numerous bridges, such as the still used bridge at Mérida.

The dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 permitted construction of vaulted ceilings and provided large covered public space such as the public baths and basilicas. The Romans based much of their architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 on the dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

, such as Hadrian's Pantheon
Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon ,Rarely Pantheum. This appears in Pliny's Natural History in describing this edifice: Agrippae Pantheum decoravit Diogenes Atheniensis; in columnis templi eius Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum, sicut in fastigio posita signa, sed propter altitudinem loci minus celebrata.from ,...

 in the city of Rome, the Baths of Diocletian
Baths of Diocletian
The Baths of Diocletian in Rome were the grandest of the public baths, or thermae built by successive emperors. Diocletian's Baths, dedicated in 306, were the largest and most sumptuous of the imperial baths. The baths were built between the years 298 AD and 306 AD...

 and the Baths of Caracalla
Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.- History :...

.

Art historians such as Gottfried Richter in the 1920s identified the Roman architectural innovation as being the Triumphal Arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

 and it is poignant to see how this symbol of power on earth was transformed and utilised within the Christian basilicas when the Roman Empire of the West was on its last legs: The arch was set before the altar to symbolize the triumph of Christ and the after life. It is in their impressive aqueducts that we see the arch triumphant, especially in the many surviving examples, such as the Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is a notable ancient Roman aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gard River in southern France. It is part of a long aqueduct that runs between Uzès and Nîmes in the South of France. It is located in Vers-Pont-du-Gard near Remoulins, in the Gard département...

, the aqueduct at Segovia
Segovia
Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is situated north of Madrid, 30 minutes by high speed train. The municipality counts some 55,500 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

 and the remains of the Aqueducts of Rome
Aqueducts of Rome
This is a list of aqueducts in Rome listed in chronological order of their construction.- Ancient Rome :* Aqua Appia** built in 312 BC** source: springs to the east of Rome...

 itself. Their survival is testimony to the durability of their materials and design.

The Romans first adopted the arch from the Greeks, and implemented it in their own building. An arch is a very strong shape as no single spot holds all the weight and is still used in architecture today.

Housing


Although less visible level to the modern observer, ancient Romans developments in housing and public hygiene are impressive, especially given their day and age. Clear examples are public and private baths and latrines, and under-floor heating in the form of the hypocaust
Hypocaust
A hypocaust was an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt"...

, double glazing (examples in Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica is a large archeological site, close to the modern suburb of Ostia , that was the location of the harbour city of ancient Rome, which is approximately 30 km to the northeast. "Ostia" in Latin means "mouth". At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport, but, due to...

), and piped water (examples in Pompeii
Pompeii
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning...

).

Possibly most impressive from an urban planning point of view are the multi-story apartment blocks called insulae
Insulae
In Roman architecture, an insula was a kind of apartment building that housed most of the urban citizen population of ancient Rome, including ordinary people of lower- or middle-class status and all but the wealthiest from the upper-middle class...

 that catered to a wide range of residential situations. These buildings, solely intended for large scale accommodation, could reach several floors in height. Insulae were often dangerous, unhealthy, and prone to fires. There are examples in cities like the Roman port town of Ostia
Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica is a large archeological site, close to the modern suburb of Ostia , that was the location of the harbour city of ancient Rome, which is approximately 30 km to the northeast. "Ostia" in Latin means "mouth". At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport, but, due to...

, that date back to the reign of Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 and show how Roman architects met residential needs in a variety of situations.

As an example, consider the housing on Via della Focette: a large-scale real estate development that catered to up-and-coming middle class entrepreneurs. Rather like modern semi-detached housing, these residences had repeated floor plans intended for easy, economical, and repetitive construction. Internal spaces were designed to be relatively low-cost, yet functional and with decorative elements reminiscent of the detached houses and villas to which the buyers might aspire later in their lives.

Each apartment had its own terrace and private entrance. External walls were in "Opus Reticulatum" and interiors in "Opus Incertum", which would then be plastered and sometimes painted. Some existing examples show that a popular choice of interior decor was to paint panels in alternating red and rainbow.

Common buildings

Many lighthouses were built around the Mediterranean and around the shores of their expanding empire, including the Tower of Hercules
Tower of Hercules
The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about from the centre of A Coruña, Galicia, in north-western Spain. Until the 20th century, the tower itself was known as the "Farum Brigantium". The Latin word farum is derived from the Greek pharos for the Lighthouse of...

 at A Coruña
A Coruña
A Coruña or La Coruña is a city and municipality of Galicia, Spain. It is the second-largest city in the autonomous community and seventeenth overall in the country...

 in northern Spain, a structure which still survives to this day. A smaller lighthouse at Dover
Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

, England also still exists as a ruin about half the height of the original. The light would have been provided by a fire at the top of the structure.

Materials

Tile covered concrete quickly supplanted marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 as the primary building material and more daring buildings soon followed, with great pillars supporting broad arches
Arches
-Places:* Arches National Park in the U.S. state of Utah* Arches, Cantal, a commune of the Cantal département, in France* Arches, Vosges, a commune of the Vosges département, in France-Other:* Arches of the foot...

 and domes rather than dense lines of column
Column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

s suspending flat architrave
Architrave
An architrave is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. It is an architectural element in Classical architecture.-Classical architecture:...

s. The freedom of concrete also inspired the colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

 screen, a row of purely decorative columns in front of a load-bearing wall. In smaller-scale architecture, concrete's strength freed the floor plan
Floor plan
In architecture and building engineering, a floor plan, or floorplan, is a diagram, usually to scale, showing a view from above of the relationships between rooms, spaces and other physical features at one level of a structure....

 from rectangular
Rectangle
In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is any quadrilateral with four right angles. The term "oblong" is occasionally used to refer to a non-square rectangle...

 cells to a more free-flowing environment. Most of these developments are ably described by Vitruvius
Vitruvius
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC. He is best known as the author of the multi-volume work De Architectura ....

 writing in the first century AD in his work De Architectura
De architectura
' is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus, as a guide for building projects...

.

Roman architects invented Roman concrete
Roman concrete
Roman concrete was a material used in construction during the late Roman Republic through the whole history of the Roman Empire. Roman concrete was based on a hydraulic-setting cement with many material qualities similar to modern Portland cement...

 and used it in buildings where it could stand on its own and support a great deal of weight. The first use of concrete by the Romans was in the town of Cosa
Cosa
Cosa was a Latin colonia founded under Roman influence in southwestern Tuscany in 273 BC, perhaps on land confiscated from the Etruscans...

 sometime after 273 BCE. Ancient Roman concrete was a mixture of lime mortar
Lime mortar
Lime mortar is a type of mortar composed of lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to Ancient...

, sand with stone rubble, pozzolana
Pozzolana
Pozzolana, also known as pozzolanic ash , is a fine, sandy volcanic ash. Pozzolanic ash was first discovered and dug in Italy, at Pozzuoli. It was later discovered at a number of other sites as well...

, water, and stones
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

, and stronger than previously-used concrete. The ancient builders placed these ingredients in wooden frames where it hardened and bonded to a facing of stones or (more frequently) bricks.

When the framework was removed, the new wall was very strong with a rough surface of bricks or stones. This surface could be smoothed and faced with an attractive stucco
Stucco
Stucco or render is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as decorative coating for walls and ceilings and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture...

 or thin panels of marble or other coloured stones called revetment
Revetment
Revetments, or revêtements , have a variety of meanings in architecture, engineering and art history. In stream restoration, river engineering or coastal management, they are sloping structures placed on banks or cliffs in such a way as to absorb the energy of incoming water...

. Concrete construction proved to be more flexible and less costly than building solid stone buildings. The materials were readily available and not difficult to transport. The wooden frames could be used more than once, allowing builders to work quickly and efficiently.

On return from campaigns in Greece, the general Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 returned with what is probably the most well-known element of the early imperial period
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

: the mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

, a decoration of colourful chips of stone inset into cement. This tiling method took the empire by storm in the late first century and the second century and in the Roman home joined the well known mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

 in decorating floors, walls, and grotto
Grotto
A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

es in geometric
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 and pictorial
Image
An image is an artifact, for example a two-dimensional picture, that has a similar appearance to some subject—usually a physical object or a person.-Characteristics:...

 designs.

Though most would consider concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 the Roman contribution most relevant to the modern world, the Empire's style of architecture can still be seen throughout Europe and North America in the arches and domes of many government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

al and religious
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 buildings.

Modern influence

Today, Roman influence can be seen among countless buildings such as bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s, government buildings, houses, business buildings, etc. Roman culture resonates among modern building styles because of the structural mastering of the dome and the arch. When a building has substantial weight bearing down on lower levels, columns can easily support the weight when it is distributed through an arch, reducing the stress significantly. The arch, for this reason, is the most famous and most modernly used aspect of Roman architecture and can be seen nearly anywhere.

The Dome is not used as frequently among modern buildings, but it is widely used to show prominence and elegance. In Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, domes are a common theme among the government buildings, originally meant to imitate the grandeur of ancient Rome. Modern use of Ancient Roman Architecture is most commonly used as an allusion to Ancient Rome itself, people recall the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 as a colossal, dominant, and extremely influential nation. To allude to Ancient Rome is to project the image of greatness and influence.

List of buildings, features and types of buildings

Public architecture
  • Amphitheatre
    Amphitheatre
    An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances.There are two similar, but distinct, types of structure for which the word "amphitheatre" is used: Ancient Roman amphitheatres were large central performance spaces surrounded by ascending seating, and were commonly used...

  • Basilica
    Basilica
    The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

  • Circus (building)
    Circus (building)
    The Roman circus was a large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire. The circuses were similar to the ancient Greek hippodromes, although serving varying purposes. Along with theatres and amphitheatres, Circuses were one of the main entertainment sites of the time...

  • Forum (Roman)
    Forum (Roman)
    A forum was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls...

  • Insulae
    Insulae
    In Roman architecture, an insula was a kind of apartment building that housed most of the urban citizen population of ancient Rome, including ordinary people of lower- or middle-class status and all but the wealthiest from the upper-middle class...

  • Temple (Roman)
  • Roman theatre
    Roman theatre (structure)
    The characteristics of Roman to those of the earlier Greek theatres due in large part to its influence on the Roman triumvir Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Much of the architectural influence on the Romans came from the Greeks, and theatre structural design was no different from other buildings...

  • Thermae
    Thermae
    In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

  • Triumphal arch
    Triumphal arch
    A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...



Public buildings
  • List of Roman amphitheatres
  • Baths of Trajan
    Baths of Trajan
    The Baths of Trajan were a massive thermae, a bathing and leisure complex, built in ancient Rome starting from 104 AD and dedicated during the Kalends of July in 109...

  • Baths of Diocletian
    Baths of Diocletian
    The Baths of Diocletian in Rome were the grandest of the public baths, or thermae built by successive emperors. Diocletian's Baths, dedicated in 306, were the largest and most sumptuous of the imperial baths. The baths were built between the years 298 AD and 306 AD...

  • Baths of Caracalla
    Baths of Caracalla
    The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.- History :...

  • Colosseum
    Colosseum
    The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre , is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire...

  • Trajan's Column
    Trajan's Column
    Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy, which commemorates Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan's Forum, built near...

    , in Rome
  • Circus Maximus
    Circus Maximus
    The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire...

    , in Rome
  • Curia Hostilia (Senate House), in Rome
  • Domus Aurea
    Domus Aurea
    The Domus Aurea was a large landscaped portico villa, designed to take advantage of artificially created landscapes built in the heart of Ancient Rome by the Emperor Nero after the Great Fire of Rome had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Palatine...

     (former building)
  • Roman Forum
    Roman Forum
    The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

  • Pantheon
    Pantheon, Rome
    The Pantheon ,Rarely Pantheum. This appears in Pliny's Natural History in describing this edifice: Agrippae Pantheum decoravit Diogenes Atheniensis; in columnis templi eius Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum, sicut in fastigio posita signa, sed propter altitudinem loci minus celebrata.from ,...

  • Tower of Hercules
    Tower of Hercules
    The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about from the centre of A Coruña, Galicia, in north-western Spain. Until the 20th century, the tower itself was known as the "Farum Brigantium". The Latin word farum is derived from the Greek pharos for the Lighthouse of...

  • Tropaeum Traiani
    Tropaeum Traiani
    The Tropaeum Traiani is a monument in Roman Civitas Tropaensium , built in 109 in then Moesia Inferior, to commemorate Roman Emperor Trajan's victory over the Dacians, in 102, in the Battle of Tapae. The monument was erected on the place where legio XXI Rapax had previously been defeated in 92...

  • Hadrian's Villa
    Hadrian's Villa
    The Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.- History :The villa was constructed at Tibur as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD...



Private architecture
  • Roman gardens
    Roman gardens
    Roman gardens and ornamental horticulture became highly developed during the history of Roman civilization. The Gardens of Lucullus on the Pincian Hill at the edge of Rome introduced the Persian garden to Europe, around 60 BC...

  • Alyscamps
    Alyscamps
    The Alyscamps is a large Roman necropolis, which is a short distance outside the walls of the old town of Arles, France. It was one of the most famous necropolises of the ancient world. The name is a corruption of the Latin Elisii Campi...

    , a necropolis
    Necropolis
    A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

     in Arles
    Arles
    Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

    , France
  • Domus
    Domus
    In ancient Rome, the domus was the type of house occupied by the upper classes and some wealthy freedmen during the Republican and Imperial eras. They could be found in almost all the major cities throughout the Roman territories...

  • Catacombs of Rome
    Catacombs of Rome
    The Catacombs of Rome are ancient catacombs, underground burial places under or near Rome, Italy, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together, they began in the 2nd century, much...

  • Roman villa
    Roman villa
    A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...



Civil engineering
  • Roman engineering
    Roman engineering
    Romans are famous for their advanced engineering accomplishments, although some of their own inventions were improvements on older ideas, concepts and inventions. Technology for bringing running water into cities was developed in the east, but transformed by the Romans into a technology...

  • Roman aqueduct
    Roman aqueduct
    The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts to serve any large city in their empire, as well as many small towns and industrial sites. The city of Rome had the largest concentration of aqueducts, with water being supplied by eleven aqueducts constructed over a period of about 500 years...

  • Roman bridge
    Roman bridge
    Roman bridges, built by ancient Romans, were the first large and lasting bridges built. Roman bridges were built with stone and had the arch as its basic structure....

  • Roman lighthouse
  • Roman road
    Roman road
    The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

  • Roman watermill


Military engineering
  • Antonine Wall
    Antonine Wall
    The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

    , in Scotland
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

  • Hadrian's Wall
    Hadrian's Wall
    Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.The...

  • Limes Germanicus
    Limes Germanicus
    The Limes Germanicus was a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD...



Architectural elements
  • Hypocaust
    Hypocaust
    A hypocaust was an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt"...

  • Mosaics
  • Roman brick
    Roman brick
    Roman brick can refer either to a type of brick originating in Ancient Rome and spread by the Romans to the lands they conquered; or to a modern type of brick, inspired by the ancient prototypes...

  • Roman roofs
  • Roman spiral stairs

See also

  • List of Roman architectural records
  • Etruscan architecture
  • Greek gardens
    Greek gardens
    A distinction is made between Greek gardens, made in ancient Greece, and Hellenistic gardens, made under the influence of Greek culture in late classical times...

  • Ancient Greek architecture

Further reading

  • Adam, Jean-Pierre, Roman Building: Materials and Techniques, Indiana University Press, 1994
  • Fletcher, Banister
    Banister Fletcher
    Sir Banister Flight Fletcher was an English architect and architectural historian, as was his father, also named Banister Fletcher....

    ; Cruickshank, Dan, Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture, Architectural Press, 20th edition, 1996 (first published 1896). ISBN 0750622679. Cf. Part Two, Chapter 10.
  • Lancaster, Lynne C., Concrete Vaulted Construction in Imperial Rome, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • MacDonald, William L., The Architecture of the Roman Empire I: An Introductory Study, Yale University Press, 1982
  • MacDonald, William L., The Architecture of the Roman Empire II: An Urban Appraisal, Yale University Press, 1986
  • Rowland, Ingrid D.; Howe, Thomas Noble, Vitruvius: Ten Books on Architecture, Cambridge University Press, 1999
  • Sear, Frank, Roman Architecture, Cornell University Press, 1989
  • Wilson-Jones, Mark, Principles of Roman Architecture, Yale University Press, 2000

External links

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