Monday, October 3, 2011

Columns & Superiority

I thought the fact that the Colosseum had 3 levels with 3 different kinds of columns, 1 variety on each level, was really interesting. So I found this:

Most buildings (and most clients) are satisfied with just two orders. When orders are superposed one above another, as they are at the Flavian Amphitheater - the Colosseum - the natural progression is from sturdiest and plainest (Doric) at the bottom, to slenderest and richest (Corinthian) at the top. The Colosseum's topmost tier has an unusual order that came to be known as the Composite order during the 16th century.

I think that maybe this goes back to the superiority complex that I talked about in class. The royal residence in Pergamon sat at the highest point of the city so that they could experience a feeling of domination.Corinthian columns (the ones at the tops) are the most ornate, and the most artistic, so therefore they would deserve their position at the top. Whereas, in Athena's precinct, only doric columns were used, this was to preserve the graceful simplicity of the structure, which was much smaller than the Parthenon and the surrounding temples. In conclusion, art can give insight to the thoughts of society in ancient Greece.

6 comments:

Shaina Lu said...

Wow, that's really awesome that you used columns to connect to the thought processes of Romans. I think you are definitely getting on something interesting and very plausible. It makes sense to me that the very top layer of the Colosseum was the Roman combination of multiple column styles, because that is what the Romans did best, copy and combine other forms of art and architecture. As the cliche goes, "copying is the highest form of flattery."

ParkerC said...

I agree. They could be showing how things progressed and then put the composite on top as a new idea. But, it could just mean that the Greeks respected all these other cultures. If they felt superior, then why use the others at all?

alyb said...

I found this building to be really interesting as well. It really shows how the Romans were influenced by both hellenic and hellenistic cultures. In other things of the Roman culture it is really evident that they got a lot of ideas from previous cultures such as the statues and temples.

sara pendleton said...

I agree with yall, I think the Romans definatly borrowed a lot from the Greeks and I think it's definatly possible that, in the case of the colosseum's columns, that comes from a a kind of inferiority complex. The Romans definatly pulled a lot from both their Greek and Etrsucan roots. I think its intresting that the columns vary in a way that reflects both Roman practicallity and also Roman social structure. I definatly agree that Romans seemed to pull the best from the past then put those elements back together in their own distinctly Roman way, as demonstrated by the social system reflected in architectual orgainization.

christine said...

If you guys have google Earth, theres a feeature that gives you a 3d tour of ancient Rome. To me, it looks a lot like a Greek city. However, the numerous domes and arcs show Roman innovation. Its pretty cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqMXIRwQniA

christine said...

this is another awesome video to help visualize ancient Rome...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuwLCoCHlro