Ancient Rome

Romans built their cities as total works of architecture with using colonnaded structures. They constructed great temples, colonnaded streets, markets, theaters etc. In the Ancient Rome, architecture and urbanism became instruments of administration and physcial appearances of politicial will. Actually Romans were very good at politic and showed that power with some magnificent public buildings. The city of Rome considered itself as a title of ‘’head of world’’. Roman army invaded lands and they were very good at war and also they were using architectural projects to show the power of the empire. Architects designed a new type of city which public spaces and public architecture provided a formal envelope for daily existence. Additionally, they offered a high quality of life, a fair justice system, an elegant infrastructure of roads, efficİent markets, public baths and theaters which those were a desirable benefits in the cities at that time. So we can say that ability to conquer other people related with talent of mastering spaces. The architects-engineers of Rome’s army such as Vitruvius who was the author of the On Architecture, Ten Books, it was significant effort and success at time the first emperor Augustus. Also Vitruvius idea of proportions was investgated by Leonardo Da Vinci’s work ‘’Vitruvian man’’. In general manner to understand the working system governance of Ancient Rome, we have to know some typical organization ’Synoikismos’ which was combination of villages under the banner of a single legal code for the purpose to reduce the influence of the kinship groups. The system was similar with Athens. During the first two centuries of Rome, kings ruled the empire and there were some religious practices but in architectural manner Etruscan culture was the key factor of development. Etruscan architects used vaults and arches and used idea of frontal orientation. As a example of vault, arches architectural elements were gateway of Perugia and Volterra.


                                                                  The gateway of Volterra

In 501 BC, Rome’s regime has changed from monarchy to republic that changed of political system and affect everything such as Roman Forum. Unlike Agora, Roman Forum appeared enclosed by large colonnaded buildings. During the third and second centuries BC, increase in power in way political and fighting force put stress on the republican system, provoking long periods of internal crash (war between Macedonia) which finally concluded with a return to monarchy. Social war ended with assassination of Julius Caesar. Augustus who heir of Caesar’s, completed the process of demolish the republic. In architectural manner, Augustus transformed the city and started to built series of projects for shaped public spaces.


Caesar Divi Filius Augustus- The first Rome Emperor

Roman planners used orthogonal urban design which they learned from Greek colonies and this was another contribution of army to architecture. Planners usually established their cities on a cross-axis of streets and equipped with set of monumental public buildings and spaces which was the main propaganda for ‘Roman peace’. For example Timgard and Algeria established around 100 BC, had typically colonnaded streets on a certain grid. Similarly approximately at the same time, Djemila’s plan followed the natural topography while using Roman structures. ‘’More than any previous culture, Romans relied on architecture and urbanism to control space and, by extension, determine people’s behavior in it.’’ This was main differences which made very significant effects through out Roman culture.



Pompeii was a small city which Rome acquired as a colony in 80BC. The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 bc completely destroyed the city. Pompeii possessed a complete urban system that shows the importance of public space to Roman daily life. All Pompeii’s streets were paved with the easily procurable dark lava stone. In the streets, there were pedestrian walk which created by raised sidewalks. Also water distribution and usage were very higher level in the city. For example water distributed through load pipes to public fountains, for public baths, and even many private houses and, there was a fountain in every block. Additionally there was system to clean streets with water. Therefore, we can say that infrastructural investment was very valuable and elegant for Rome’s cities.

street-of-pompeiiPompeii had a forum, a temple and a basilica also. The Basilica of Pompeii, served as administrative business and unlike the most of the Roman Basilicas arranged transversely with entrances on the long side but The Basilica of Pompeii’s entrance was on the short side it. Through the centuries of meeting halls, Roman Basilicas were very comfortable and eligible.

                                                                 The Basilica of Pompeii

About the public baths, there was a similar attitude in Roman cities like hundreds of small baths which had under the floor heat system with hot air. However with the emperor Augustus, the great public baths began to appear. Those places were also a cultural centers like art and library. One of the best example of the great public baths was the baths of Diocletian

great-bath-plan                                                        The plan of Baths of Diocletian


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s