Saturday, September 21, 2013

Roman Architecture

I really found the grand structures of the Romans quite interesting. I can see why they would transform the wooden wheel of the Greeks into a metal one. I still find their designs incredibly ingenious, like the aqueducts connecting to Trajan's forum to bring fresh water, or the use of pulleys to extend an awning over the spectators in the colosseum. Over the summer I went to Rome, and I got to see the Pantheon, Colosseum, Forum, and many other truly amazing structures.

As you can see, the Pantheon has the triangular and rectangular shape that many Greeks praised. Yet the true "inside" of the structure is circular. I feel that the Romans were in a way paying tribute to their influencers by creating a Grecian facade, while still maintaining their own identity by using the circular temple. Interestingly enough, the floor of the Pantheon rises to the middle, directly under the skylight. As Kincy said in class, the sun focuses on a particular god or goddess during times of the day. In this photo you can see part of the circle already making its way down to one of them.
 
This is the Roman Forum. My group discussed this, and as you can see, we weren't exaggerating on its grandeur. I was standing at about 2-3 stories when I took this picture, and the columns directly in front were a few stories higher than me. I can only imagine how amazing it must have looked during its heyday.

Perhaps one of my favorite structures, the Colosseum has definitely lost some of its grandeur. The facade has become blackened by the fumes of passing cars, and much of its original material has either been stolen or broken from earthquakes and vibrations. The small holes you can see on the outside are the pegs in which much of the marble would have been placed. 
However, the inside is completely awing. You can see the similarity between current stadiums and the original. If you look right above the solid platform to the left, a lone set of seats remain untouched. They are the only seats that remain in marble, and have been sitting there for hundreds of years. Of course, the coolest part of the Colosseum is the floor. The intricate paths and tiny chambers contained wild beasts as well as prisoners. The floor itself was sand-based to absorb the blood spilled during fights, as well as to hide the trapdoors for any surprise attacks. As Joey talked about in class, the Romans could also flood the flooring and have naval fights. For a society obsessed with blood-sport, the Colosseum definitely fulfilled their interests.  

2 comments:

Kincy GIbson said...

People know these things from the many different clues and missing parts in the walls and floors of the colosseum. The floors have holes and indentations of ramps which led historians to believe that there was an extensive pulley system behind the scenes that allowed criminals and animals to be lowed into the arena. They found traces of runoff canals that historians believed were used to drain water out of the colosseum. The romans would host mock naval battles with miniature ships in water 3ft to 5ft deep.

Joseph D'Amico said...

Those are really cool pictures. I especially like how you caught the light coming in through the oculus in the Pantheon picture. I definitely agree with you that the architecture is awe-inspiring; I think I like Greco-Roman architecture more the modern-day architecture just because of intricate and classy it looks. It always fascinates me to think how much effort must have been put into making those buildings, given the machinery they had at the time.