Architecture as a product of culture, history, science, technology, economics, society, religion, and state




A journey through five thousand years of architecture and urban planning in the Western world



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Each generation writes its autobiography in the buildings it creates.

Louis Mumford

Friday, December 3, 2010


99                     ROMAN ARCHITECTURE  
                        Historical Background
          According to Roman tradition, the founding of Rome is associated with the story of Remus and his twin brother Romulus, who were separated from their parents when they were still babies and were raised by a she-wolf. When grown, Romulus killed Remus and founded Rome on April 21, 753 BCE.
          It is customary to divide the history of Rome into three periods:
1. Etruscan rule period - the ninth or eighth century      
    BCE until 509 BCE.
Republic period - 509-27 BCE.
3. Imperial period - 27 BCE -393 CE.
        The history of the Etruscans and their origin are obscure. There are no Etruscans writings to testify to their origin and their ways, but we do know that their religion was the focus of their lives. Herodotus wrote in the fifth century BCE that the Etruscans came from Asia Minor to Italy because of the famine, which had prevailed in this area. Today researchers tend to agree. Studies determine that they came from Villanovans in Asia Minor. In the seventh century BCE Etruscan cities
began to appear in this area.
         In 700-600 BCE, Rome was a meaningless hill in south Etruria (now Tuscany) ruled by the Etruscan Kings. When the Etruscan power weakened, the Romans rebelled against it, overthrew it and established the Roman Republic. Nobility led the people of Rome in the political and religious fields. Rome became stronger and during the following hundreds of years, united all of Italy, while taking it step by step.
         Italy's geographical location greatly influenced its history. Being situated on the Apennine Peninsula, in the center of the Mediterranean, it could take over the Mediterranean Region. A series of Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage in North Africa, which began in the third century BCE, led Rome to take over the Mediterranean.
           The Roman conquest brought far-reaching changes in economic terms. Rome became rich. Thousands of prisoners of war were sold as slaves, and the number of slaves in Rome increased. This was one of the most stable and quiet periods in the ancient world.
          The defeated nations received the conquering Romans without resistance due to the wealth and prosperity, which they earned. Other factors that led to the great success of the Roman occupation were: military skill, the road system built with great skill, organization, order and principles of universal justice according to which different peoples were equal before the law.
         Another important factor that contributed to the success of the empire was the cosmopolitan attitude of the Roman city-state. Civil rights were given to all who were conquered by the Roman Empire. Most nations that were under Roman occupation could have dual citizenship if they wanted to.
         In the early third century BCE, Roman law gave full rights and equality to the people. Rome was a democracy, but actually ruled by a hundred wealthy families. There were struggles between the nobles – the patricians, and between the flebs – the masses. The wars between the classes ended with the victory of the nobles in the first century BCE, a victory that paved the way for the appearance of an autocrat - Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE).
         Since the beginning of the empire period, (unlike the previous republic) during the rule of Augustus  (63 BCE -14 CE, ruled as emperor 27 BCE -14 CE), who inherited power from Julius Caesar, the power was concentrated in the hands  of one person - the emperor, whose rule was based on military power.
          The empire was in fact a military dictatorship. The main task of the emperors was to preserve the borders, which were expanded during the republic, since most of the military victories were achieved during that time.
           In 29 BCE began a period of peace that lasted for two hundred years. This period known as the "Roman peace" (Pax Romana), opened the entire Mediterranean area for trade benefiting from the road network and common currency for Europe, which was similar to the Euro currency today.
        In 85 CE, began a program to supply free grain to the poor. The government also organized concerts and competitions for the crowds to enjoy. This is why the poet Juvenal (Juvenalis) called the policy of the government in Rome in 130 CE a policy of "bread and circuses" (panem et circences).
          Wave of victories during the second and third centuries CE led to new construction projects funded by wealthy and important patrons. The emperors were also enthusiastic patrons of construction. Funds were invested in the infrastructure of the city and had provided the roads and water systems, the best in the ancient world. The proverb "All roads lead to Rome" was real and not just metaphorically.
        At its peak, in the third century CE, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland to the Persian Gulf, from Saudi Arabia to North Africa. The entire population of the Mediterranean basin was part of the Roman Empire. As time passed, the importance of the provinces increased, and their residents were members of the senate and even emperors. Emperor Caracalla (188-217 CE) has granted citizenship to all free citizens in the empire.
         Residents of the empire enjoyed freedom of religion. Emperors allowed the construction of various religious worship centers. In the city of Dura Europos, in the periphery of the empire, there was a place not only for the temple of Jupiter, but also for a church, synagogue and ritual structures of the Eastern religions. 
         In the third century CE the Roman Empire began to decline. The pressure from the barbarians in the fronts increased, and the economic situation deteriorated. The influence of the nobility gradually diminished and the wealthy merchant class declined. Courtiers replaced them. The social status of the common people and slaves rose steadily and so did the social status of the mercenary soldiers. Emperors were increasingly despotic, according to the model of the rulers of the East.
       The wealth that flowed to Rome changed the character of the city and led to corruption. From the reign of Emperor Constantine (ruled 306-337 CE) onwards, the empire was weakened as a result of corruption of the army and the fact that the rulers did nothing for their people. Imperial policy often was dictated by the demands of the proletariat and  by popular religious movements, such as worship of the god Mithras and Christianity.
       Philosopher and statesman Seneca (4 BCE -65 CE) said that the Romans came into the world with a sword in one hand and shovel in the other. They were men of action who valued the Greek culture and adopted it. Roman aristocracy learned from the Greeks to appreciate works of literature and art. Greek statues were brought to Rome to decorate the houses of winning generals. The Romans were interested not only in preserving monuments of the past, but also in encouraging new works of art and culture. Horace (Horatius) (65-8 BCE), the famous Roman poet, wrote that the spirit of captive Greece captured its fierce conqueror.
           Philosophers, poets and writers grew out of the Roman culture. Latin literature developed and one of its most prominent representatives was the republican politician and orator Cicero (106-43 BCE), who created a new writing style and his writing served as a model of the Latin language at the time and for generations to come.

        The Perception of Roman Architecture  
        The Romans engaged just a little with theory, but were capable of learning others' ideas. They adopted the Etruscan's knowledge regarding the construction of arches and drainage. From the Hellenists they have adopted the monumental architecture. It is worth noting that Rome's political control over areas previously controlled by the Hellenists did not stop the construction development. Most architects were Greek in origin, but the engineers having revolutionary architectural ideas were probably mostly Roman. 
         From the Greek architecture, the Romans drew the shapes, the construction style of columns, gables, cornices and the like. Compared with the Greek artists, who were imbued with faith and reached the greatest achievements in building temples, the Romans saw in architecture first of all structure. They built useful structures such as bridges, roads and aqueducts, which are masterpieces of construction. In their desire to create functional architecture, they were very "modernist". 
          When Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius (first century BCE) writes in his Ten Books on Architecture about the three main elements of architecture, which are "strength, usefulness and beauty"– "beauty" is the last to be mentioned.
          Just as the practical approach of the Romans contributed greatly to human progress in organization of government and law, it bequeathed to future generations paved roads and a large selection of new types of buildings.
         Egypt built palaces and tombs, Greece built temples and theaters, and the Romans added to these the basilica, amphitheatre, baths, triumphal arches, victory pillars, gates, bridges and aqueducts. Talented architects built all of these. These structures essentially served to fill needs.
         Although their approach was practical, the Romans have not neglected the aesthetics. They perceived it differently than the Greeks and their buildings seem more severe and monumental.   
       The Romans ignored the rules of proportions, which greatly engaged the Greeks. While the proportions and measurements of Greek architecture were based on human dimensions, the Romans used a series of harmonious proportions referring to various parts of the building, but not necessarily human dimensions.
        For the construction of their buildings the Romans usually used large modules (module - the size of an architectural organ used as a unit of measure whose multiple served as the size of other organs in the building), to achieve an impressive grandeur. To create clarity and dramatization in design they used columns that divided internal and external wall areas to horizontal and vertical strips.
         Compared with the Greeks who focused on the shell of the building, refining the sculptural details and proportions of temples, the Romans engaged in creating large spaces by building  domes, arches and niches. Their perception of space is their greatest contribution to the art of construction, both in shaping the environment and  designing the interior of the building.
         Space as architectural element was first emphasized by the Romans and has been since a major factor in the history of architecture. Vaults and domes were used for constructing buildings such as baths, temples, markets and amphitheaters. Architectural decoration found its expression in statues placed in niches. Walls were decorated with frescoes creating illusion of depth.
          Roman architecture evolved from the design of simple closed spaces to designing increasingly complex relations between spaces, the flow between spaces, and creating rhythmic organization of space and mass.
           The splendor of imperial Roman architecture was intended to present the Roman rule and power to other nations. Roman culture is characterized by a love of luxury and magnificence combined with a practical spirit. While the Greeks were looking for beauty and proportion based on pure and simple lines, the Romans moved away from pure forms.
          Substantial differences in approach can be seen in decoration. The aesthetics of the Greeks is expressed in the organization of the structure and its proportions. When they used purely decorative elements, like frieze or moldings, they placed them in hidden places. The column, which played mainly the role of support in Greek architecture, became a decorative element in Roman architecture. You could say that the Greeks sought a way to live, while the Romans sought a way to be shown. 
         Construction Techniques and Materials
         The Romans adopted the practices of the Etruscans who built city walls and sewer systems with great talent. Some attribute to them the construction of the real radiant arch "(in which mutual pressure causes the stones to stick together). Actually, the arch and dome had already been built in earlier times - in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Hellenistic period. However, their use was not as deeply rooted as it was in Rome.
          For the design of buildings, the Romans used ground plans. Evidence to this can be found in the map of Rome known as Forma Urbis Romae, which covered an entire wall in the main Temple of Peace (Templum Pacis), constructed by Vespasian (79-9 CE, ruled 69-79 CE) after the conquest of Jerusalem in 71 CE.
            Unfortunately, the Peace Temple was destroyed by fire, probably in 191 CE, but Emperor Septimus Severus (146-211 CE, ruled 193-211 CE) restored the map (203-211 CE) engraving it on 151 rectangular marble slabs, more than 18 meters in total length and an overall height of 13 meters. In the map one could see monuments, palaces, temples, markets, shops and private homes - all on the scale of 1:240.
          In the Middle Ages the map that has been etched in marble was destroyed and part of it was reused in construction. In fact, only 15 percent of  the map was restored.

        The Roman architects were first of all engineers. They reached significant achievements widely using concrete, stone and brick, along with metals, wood and glass.
         Concrete was invented by the Romans. For centuries, builders used plaster and cement, but only in ancient Rome concrete, which was a kind of synthetic hard rock like natural rock, was first created. The Romans studied the art of concrete production during the fourth century BCE in the region of Campania, where for the first time builders passed from using gravel or rubble to building a wall with concrete.
          To create concrete the builders used a volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius, near Pozzuoli, and elsewhere in Italy. This ash is called pozzulana after the city of Pozzuoli, Italy, where it can be obtained in large quantities. It is hard even when mixed with water. Its advantage, besides being found in abundance, is that it can be molded in any shape and it hardens to a very strong material.
           Pozzulana concrete is considered the best natural concrete in the world. This excellent cement glued together various concentrations of mixtures of stones, volcanic rocks, bricks and even fragments of the ruins of other buildings. These made the concrete, according to the relative amount of its usage, heavy or airy. Thus, the builders could change the density as they wished.
          Vitruvius describes the proportions in which pozzulana sand should be mixed with limestone to create concrete. According to him, in order to create concrete one should mix volcanic ash with  limestone in the ratio of 3:1 respectively, or river sand with volcanic ash in the ratio of 2:3 respectively.
               Using concrete, the Romans developed an architecture that emphasizes the space of the  structure, which we inherited. They were the first builders in Europe, who often built arches, vaults and domes in concrete. Typically, the Roman arch was semi-circle shaped, but sometimes it had a flat or oval shape ("ח" shaped arch, which is composed of stones arranged in a radiating shape). The structure of the arch enabled the Romans to build huge spaces with concrete. It was their way to express their power through architecture. 
        Compared with the Greek builders who used post and beam for building, treating horizontal and vertical forces only, the Roman builders, by building the arch, had to cope with a complex set of pressures. Besides the pressure down, there was a pressure to the sides. This very difficult engineering problem requires exact calculations to overcome these pressures
        The passage from an arch to a vault and dome is an easy passage. Barrel vault (half a cylinder shaped vault) is the simplest and most common among Roman vaults. Crossing vaults created by the intersection of two barrel vaults, were also in use.
       The arches lend a dynamic character to Roman architecture. They convey a sense of movement as opposed to Greek architecture, which, being based on posts and beams, convey a sense of stability.
       While the customary material in Greek construction was marble, except the roof, which was built of wood, the customary material in Roman construction was concrete. Vaults were built as one unit without internal division, supported by brick arches. Coating the structure with marble was one of the innovations of Roman architecture. Augustus boasted that he had found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble.
             Indeed, the Romans used luxurious materials to coat structures. The Romans distinguished between the structure, and its coating. By separating the structure from the coating they could get the most out of the materials. They could build the entire building, and postpone the coating until receiving the finishing materials, which were sometimes ordered from distant places. Such an example is the basic structure of the imperial baths, which were built in concrete, entirely constructed before the added decoration.
        On the concrete structures coated with marble, the Romans added various sets of Greek columns, as they wished. They turned the  Greek orders into decoration. Once the structures were built, columns were added as decoration. They were free columns in a portico, or half columns (columns split lengthwise) attached to the wall. Some see in such use of the orders a false use because the basic character of the column is being a supporting organ. This criticism stems from the approach that advocates honesty and truth in architecture.
        The Etruscans and Romans added two orders to the Greek (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) orders -  the Tuscan order, and the composite order. The Tuscan order, also mentioned in the book of Vitruvius, is a simplified version of the Doric order. Its shaft's height equals seven times its base's diameter. It has no grooves and its entablature is simple.
       The composite order was developed by the Romans in the first century, following an attempt to improve the Corinthian order, which was particularly favored by the Romans who built it in many versions. The capital of this column  combines in its echinus the spirals which characterize the Ionic order, and the acanthus leaves decoration, which characterize the Corinthian order -  a union of two kinds of beauty.

            For building a wall of stone and concrete the Romans used the following techniques (see also a detailed description in the introduction chapter): 
Opus quadratum (literally in Latin: square work), 
Opus incertum (literally in Latin: random work), 
Opus reticulatum (literally in Latin: network-like work).
Opus testaseum - placing horizontal rows of rectangular stones side by side, one on the top of the other, so that the edge of each stone is placed on the center of the stone below.
Opus spicatum, which is placing stones in herring bone pattern),
Opus vermiculatum (literally in Latin: elongated work),
Opus tesselatum, a mosaic composed of small stone cubes.
Opus rectile, a mosaic made of multicolor stone slabs,
Opus mixtum - combining several techniques to design walls.
Using cyclopean (huge)  stones
Opus caementum (literally in Latin: a hard rock quarry).

          Religion in Ancient Rome
          The ancient Romans believed that spiritual forces surrounded all humans. According to their view, the gods controlled all aspects of life and maintained a harmonious balance in the world.
          The Roman religion was based on traditions of rituals, taboos and superstitions gathered from various sources, and their approach to it was practical, as it was in other areas. They had no temples or statues. Worship was simple and essentially based on worship of domestic gods within the family home.
          Two major Roman gods were the guardians of the Roman citizen's house: Janus and Vesta. Janus was the god of gates and beginnings and was considered the main guardian of the house, while Vesta was the goddess of fire. The hearth, where the fire was kept burning at home and had a practical (cooking) and spiritual (sacrifices) importance. Every day, at dinner, prayer was made to Vesta, and a sacred salt cake was given to her as an offering. 
         The Etruscan worship of the house gods penetrated the Roman culture. In the atrium (inner courtyard covered in part) of the residence was a small shrine to the ancestors, called lararium.
        Every morning the family would pray worshiping the spirits of its ancestors (manes or lares), who were perceived as the protectors of the family and the land on which the house was built). The fear of making the spirits angry motivated the development of family rituals designed to soothe the restless dead and ensure the protection of the home and the family's safety. A statue of a man dressed in toga, or a snake represented the spirit of the family's father.
         With the fall of the Republic and the establishment of the Roman Empire the emperor was also worshiped as the father of the Romans. Since the time of Emperor Augustus the divinization of the emperor has been institutionalized and a national aspect was added to the ancestors worship. Thus, Vesta, the goddess of the hearth became the goddess of the state's hearth and a temple was built for her in the Roman forum where a fire was always kept.
          After the Second Punic War, the empire became multicultural in many ways. The Roman religion did not rule out other faiths but adopted them. The Romans absorbed religious influences from the peoples whose land they occupied, and the difference between them and these peoples became blurred.
         The origins of most Roman gods and goddesses were in foreign religions, such as the Etruscan, Greek, Egyptian and Persian.
          Before absorbing foreign influences, the original Roman gods were not anthropomorphic, and they were not displayed as statues. The fire goddess Vesta, for example, was the fire itself, since the Romans did not need its human image. 
         The twelve gods who were particularly honored by the Romans were Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Vesta, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Vulcan and Apollo. Although it is customary to see many parallels between the Roman and Greek gods, these are not the same gods. The Romans adopted the Greek gods, but gave them an entirely different character. The Greek god Ares, the god of violence and massacre,  who was cunning, greedy, brutal and evil, was changed by the Romans, who adopted his image and called him Mars. As a Roman god, he was faithful, dignified, noble and good.
           The gods were not only objects of worship, but were also presumed responsible for the existence of law and justice in the world. Denial of the gods was perceived as denial of justice. Roman law set the rules of religion; the gods' law was transferred to civilians by the high priest (pontifex maximus), who dictated the rules of public ceremonies.
        Roman religion was open to all peoples, regardless of religion, race or sex. Festivals celebrated in honor of the national gods in competitions and games were part of the calendar. A festival was celebrated every other month and the year was filled with vacation days and holidays, so that not too many workdays remained.
        Religion was intended to serve the interests of the state and ensure its prosperity. It also affected the military and political events. To win over their enemies, the Romans often sought the help of the enemies' gods, and offered them more sacrifices than those offered by their own people.
        Influenced by the Etruscans and Greeks, the Romans built temples for the gods and offered sacrifices to them. They believed that offerings would please the gods, and they would benefit them in return.
             The Roman Temple
       In Rome, like in Greece, the temple was not a gathering place for believers, but a "home" to the god or the statue that represented him. The temple was the place where people could contact the god. Believers came to the temple to pray, bring offerings, sacrifices, hear what was in store for them or win a miracle. The temples also served for keeping the sacred objects and remains of the Roman nation. Usually there was an inner room in the temples where valuables, memoranda of priests and other important documents were kept.
                  Following the Etruscans and Greeks, the Romans placed statues of the gods in the temples. The oldest Roman temple reflects the shape of the Etruscan temple, which was usually carried on a podium with an emphasized front.
         Unlike the Greek temple, which was surrounded on all sides by a staircase, the emphasis in the Etruscan temple was on the front, which faced one direction.
          Construction of temples and dedicating them was a major event in religious and ritual daily life in Rome. It was intended to glorify the name of the god or goddess for whom the temple was built as it glorified the name of the founder of the temple.
          The Roman temple was built on a high podium, and dominated the space in front of it. The front was emphasized by a great staircase, as was the front of the Etruscan temple.            
Unlike the Greek temple, to which it was possible to enter from any direction, the access to the Roman temple was from one direction through a staircase. A deep portico in the Roman temple led to a cella (a room in the temple where stood the statue of the god to whom the temple was dedicated) or, in elegant temples, to three sacred rooms, located side by side. The columns of the Roman temple do not surround the structure like in the Greek temple, but some are adjacent to the side walls and the rear exterior wall of the cella. These were fake columns. Thus, the Roman temple was directed to a particular direction, a feature which was foreign to the Greek temple. 
                   Under the Romans, glory replaced the refinements, which characterized the Greek architecture. In Rome, like in the Hellenistic East, luxury in architecture lied in marble. Augustus rebuilt over 80 temples, and coated them with marble. These temples were built in the Hellenistic- order, the Ionic order, and above all, the Corinthian order, which was the most popular order in Rome during the empire.
          The best example of a Roman temple from the period of Augustus is Maison Carrée (literally in French: square house), which was built in the Roman city Nemansus in southern France, Nîmes today. This is a small Corinthian temple, built during the years 19-12 BCE to 1-2 CE, on a podium at a height of 3.5 meters. A staircase and portico lead to the only one entrance in the west. Half columns are adjacent to the side walls and the exterior walls of the cella in the rear.
          The temple was built in quality limestone. The relations between length and width of the temple are 2:1. The ratio of the podium, columns and entablature is 2:5:2 respectively. The Corinthian columns above the podium reach a height of ten meters. The abacus of the columns' capitals are decorated with stylized stems with leaf-like patterns. On the frieze are ornaments in monotonous Roman scroll pattern. This temple is one of many built during Augustus' rule.
          Originally, in Rome the podium stood on a platform surrounded by colonnades that defined the compound of the Forum – the center of commerce and administration of Rome.
          (Thomas Jefferson), the third President of the United - States and a talented architect, said that the Maison Carrée was the most exciting building that he had ever seen.

Image - Maison Carree in NIMES
          The Romans had a wider range of temples than the Greeks did. Often they added an apse (semicircular niche) at the end of the temple, and sometimes built a vault to it.  
          Besides being a holy place, the Roman temple was a political center. Its podium was also the rostrum. The temple of Venus Generix (Venus as the mother of the people of Rome), built mostly between the years 48-46 BCE, was the first temple with a podium in Rome, and perhaps in the entire Roman world. Evidence to the political role of the Roman temple can be found in the fact that the annual meeting of the senate was held in the temple.
he staircase of the temple had two stages: The first, a series of steps leading from the street level of the forum to the surface of the speakers' platform, not reaching the height of the podium of the temple, and second, from the speakers' platform  to the pronaos and the cella. A temple of this type usually included a pair of symmetrical staircases in the front of the temple. Such was also the temple of Divus Ivlius (literally in Latin: divine Julius), in the Roman Forum.

        The secular character of the Roman temple  was also reflected in its relations with its environment. While the Greek temple was isolated, the Roman temple was built in the city. whereas in Greece the temple was a tribute to the god to whom it was devoted, in Rome it served as an urban monument expressing imperial pride.

           Round Roman Temples
       Round temples had a long history in Greece and Rome. The Romans learned to build round temples from the Greeks and Etruscans. These temples were characterized by a plan, according to which a round central structure was surrounded by a ring of columns, sometimes attached to the round central structure. The ceiling of the temple was shaped like a dome or cone. The round shape represented wholeness and eternity.
        During antiquity, the round plan was associated with fire worship. The temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum was the most sacred temple in Rome. The Romans believed that the burning sacred fire in this temple was brought from Troy and would never stop burning.
       Vesta, who was the only female goddess among ancient male gods, dominated the fire of every family home and the fire of the entire city. She tied the family to the home and the residents to their city and land. Her worship originated in ancient times when fire was kept burning because of the difficulty of starting a fire. Symbolizing the continuity of home and state, Vesta was considered the main deity defending Rome.
            The Vestal virgins of the temple kept the sacred fire. They were daughters of the nobility, who entered their position as girls, and had to continue the work of priesthood for thirty years. During this period, they were sworn to chastity, and the penalty for violation of their oath was  death. However, they also had rights. They were free from the authority of their fathers and enjoyed prosperity. 
           Each year, during the New Year time, the residents of Rome used to take a fire from the temple in Rome to their homes, not before cleaning them in advance for the occasion.

          The Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum, whose circular shape has been preserved, represents structures of its kind. It was built in 715 BCE, but was burned often. Eventually it was built  by Julia Domna, Septimus Severus' wife in 205 CE and was closed by Emperor Theodosius in 394 . Thus, the cult of Vesta came to an end. The temple was first discovered in 1489 in good condition. Its remains were buried and it was rediscovered in 1549, then it was mostly reused in building the church of St. Peter in Rome. In 1930, it was partly restored. 
          The temple, which was built in white marble, had a podium about 15 meters in diameter and three meters in height. On this podium was a round cella surrounded by 20 Corinthian columns. carried on bases (plinths) and rising to a height of 4.45 meters. The roof, which has not survived, was probably a rounded dome with a circular opening in the middle to let out the smoke of the sacred fire. Above the opening there was a bronze shield designed to protect against wind and rain and allow light penetration.
       The temples of Vesta were always round and covered with a dome. The builders of the Pantheon, the most famous round temple, were inspired by the temples of Vesta.

         The Pantheon
          The Pantheon (literally in Greek: all gods), which was built in Rome during the years 118-125 CE, replaced an earlier temple built by Marcus Agrippa in 27 BCE in the honor of Emperor Augustus and dedicated to the gods Venus and Mars. The name of the temple testifies to it being dedicated to all the gods. As a structure dedicated to the gods, which were associated with the planets, the Pantheon symbolizes the cosmos in its shape.
          An inscription on the front of the Pantheon reads M. AGRIPPA. L.F. COS. TERTIUM. FECIT meaning: Marcus Agrippa, son of Lusios, in the third consulate built it.

          The Pantheon resembles in shape the civil halls of the imperial palaces. As these halls, the Pantheon served as a public gathering hall. Some believe that this fact indicates that originally it was not intended for religious purpose.
       The Pantheon reflected the architectural ambition to create large impressive buildings in order to glorify the empire. It is an architectural masterpiece and the earliest domed monument that has survived until today.
        Hadrian (76-138 CE, ruled 117-138 CE), the emperor who rebuilt the Pantheon, was interested in architecture more than any other emperor was. He was a poet, painter, soldier, administrator, and a polymath. He was also an amateur architect, who influenced the architecture of his time.
          The original building of the Pantheon, which became the basis for the new temple built by Hadrian, was a rectangular structure with 16 granite columns. These columns are part of the portico of the new building.
           The portico and the entrance mark the axis leading to the interior whose height (43.2 meters) exactly equals the diameter of its base. 
           The gable crowning the portico is very high in relation to its width, one and a half times the relative height recommended by Vitruvius in his book. A sculpture of an eagle stands over it.
               The Pantheon is composed of a portico, which looks like a part of a Greek temple, and a massive drum adjacent to it, crowned with a dome.
         In the rectangular structure in the front of the Pantheon there are eight Corinthian monolithic granite columns. Four rows of columns leading to the entrance of the temple divide it into three wings. The main wing leads to the front door, and the side wings end in niches, where the statues of Augustus and Agrippa stood.
         The front door leads into a huge round cella crowned with concrete dome. The thickness of the massive drum bearing the dome is six meters. Eight major pillars linked together by seven deep niches and one entrance surround the cella. In the seven niches stood the statues of the seven main Roman gods which were associated with the seven planets:  Apollo, associated with the sun, the goddess Diana - with the moon, Venus - with planet Venus, Mars - with planet Mars, Mercury - with planet Mercury, Saturn - with planet Saturn and Jupiter - with  planet Jupiter. The niche opposite the entrance is more emphasized being greater than the others. The massive thick drum wall is greatly refined by the niches that generate a feeling of lightness.
          The structure of the Pantheon is covered with concrete containing lower concentration of rubble as its height increases, to facilitate the support underneath. Stone mixtures in the lower layers were based on heavy basalt, while the following layers were replaced by lighter brick fragments, the upper - by yellow tufa, and finally the top - by porous stone. The layers of concrete placed one on the top of the other became gradually lighter, so that the load created by the top layer was half the load created by the lowest one.
         The emphasis put on the inside structure of the Pantheon, is a development in the Roman tradition which is building a large cella, on the account of the outer colonnade, which here is at the front enabling entrance to the temple only from one direction.
          The dome, being a monolithic structure of concrete, does not create pressure on the outside like a stone dome, but is placed on the walls of the drum like a lid.
              Inside the Pantheon, the dome is divided into five concentric rings, getting smaller as they move closer to the center of the dome. Each of these rings contains 28 cassetones (panels retreating into the vault), coated with golden bronze. According to Renaissance drawings, each cassetone was decorated with rosette-shaped stucco embossed in its center.
             In the center of the dome there is an oculus  (a round window), 8.3 meters in diameter. It is built in bricks coated with golden bronze. This is the only light source of the structure, and therefore attracts the eye. Since the Pantheon is a temple dedicated to all the gods, it is expected that the light will naturally penetrate from the sky.     
         The oculus seems like the eye of the dome looking down from the sky, illuminating the place with stripes of light. The movement of these stripes of light, announcing the seasons, reminds of the order and harmony in the world. Likewise, the oculus illuminates the rows of cassetones that some consider as representatives of the planets' orbits. Thus, the Pantheon is a tangible representative of the idea of the connection between universal nature and the man-made world.     
         The circular opening in the dome, has never been covered with glass. Rain fell directly on the gently sloping floor, which was built with drainage holes that are still functioning.
              Today the level of pavement to the north of the Pantheon, in front of the portico, is much higher than that which existed in antiquity. Originally, five steps in the width of the portico led from the paved courtyard in front of the temple to the portico's floor. The courtyard, which was surrounded by a colonnade, was as broad as the rotunda (round structure) of the Pantheon and ran all the way to the point where the church of Maddalena stands today. 
The entrance to the courtyard then was from the north through a propylaeum (a monumental gate).     
          This courtyard has passed through the central axis of the rotunda and the vertical section called "World Axis" (Axis Mundi), an invisible column (which existed in temples and sacred cities, in different cultures, and was considered as the center of the world) that connects heaven and earth in the center of the world. A grid pattern on the floor, emphasizes this axis, and marks the central point in a city where the two main streets, the cardo and decumanus intersect.
        For centuries, earthquakes caused floods,  reuse of materials and damage to the Pantheon, but it was restored again and again. In 663 the Byzantine Emperor Constans II, sent the gilt bronze tiles that coated the dome of the Pantheon to Constantinople. Lead panels replaced these tiles. Pope Urban VIII Barberini (served  1623-1644) melted the bronze ceiling of the portico to build the baldachin  (canopy that is supported by pillars and sheltering the altar) of the church of San Pietro and to produce the cannons of Castel St. Angelo (Hadrian's tomb, which became a fortress). 
             In 609, the Pantheon was converted into a church dedicated to Mary and all the martyrs. Turning it into a church was one of the reasons to its preservation. It is still much more impressive than other ancient buildings that have been preserved intact.
       The marble decorative coatings in the Pantheon are of later period, but they are mostly designed in the spirit Roman architecture. The floor was made of parts of granite, marble and porphyry decorated with patterns of squares and circles arranged alternately. The pavement was renewed  in 1873 while maintaining its original appearance from Adrian's period.
         The Pantheon is one of the most influential buildings since antiquity to the present. The structure combining a rotunda with a portico,  crowned with a gable, has been copied by many. Maybe its secret is the simplicity of its organization, the purity of proportions and their vividness. The Pantheon's structure is admirable in modern engineering, because no steel rods were used for supporting the structure as is common today.

               The Temples of Baalbek
        A site of Roman temples indicating the combination of cultures under Roman occupation is the array of temples of Baalbek, a town at the foot of Mount Lebanon. The construction of these temples (covering an area of ​​27 000 sq m), lasted about two centuries.
        The origin of the name Baalbek is in the Phoenician word Baal Beka, (literally: the city of Baal). Baal is associated with the Assyrian god Hadad, the sun god of the ancient Near East, hence the name Heliopolis (literally in Greek: Sun City), as the city was called by the Hellenists. In the Bible the city is mentioned by the name Aram-zobah (Samuel II, 10. 6-8; Psalms, 60, 1).
        Being located on the two most important trade routes - one connecting the Mediterranean and Syria, and other linking Syria and Israel, the city of Baalbek led the emperor Augustus to found a colony in Baalbek, in 16 BCE, and post the Roman legion there.
        The emperor, impressed by the city and the devotion of its inhabitants to the god Baal, decided to fulfill their religious needs by building temples, as were fulfilled the religious needs of other colonies. Since under Roman rule every people practiced its religion freely, it was the emperor's path to win the trust of local people .    
        Indeed, Syrian architects built the temples for Syrian religious ritual purposes. The emperors who ruled after him continued the construction at the site, but the temples have never been completed.
        The local religion and local gods influenced the Romans, who identified the local Syrian trinity of gods, Baal, his son Aliyan and daughter Atargatis (Assyrian fertility goddess, who was also the Phoenician goddess Anat who was devoted to her lover Aliyan), with the Roman trinity: Jupiter, Mercury and Venus, respectively.
         Baal was the most important god in Syria as Jupiter was the most important god of the Romans, and therefore, the largest temple of Baalbek was dedicated to him.
        There are no written sources from which we can learn who were the gods to whom the temples of Baalbek were devoted. On the site were built three temples: the temple of Jupiter, temple of Venus and temple of Bacchus or Mercury. the identity of the god to him this temple was dedicated is controversial.
           Likewise, there is no agreement among the researchers concerning the dating the temples of Baalbek. It is likely that building the temples began under Augustus, around the year 15 BCE. The completion of the giant podium of the temple of Jupiter, is ascribed to the Seleucids who ruled here since they conquered it from the Ptolemy dynasty in 200 BCE until the Roman conquest in 64 BCE. Building the temples must have ended during the Antoninian emperors (ruled 138-217 CE).
             The rituals in Baalbek were held under the open sky . Steps leading to the roofs of the temples testify to altars, which stood on rooftops, as dictated by local tradition.
         The interest in the temples of Baalbck stems from the unique design and decoration in the form of masks with grotesque and dramatic look, which drew inspiration from Hellenistic Greek designs. Their importance lies in them being bold, one-time designs.
          When Emperor Constantine declared Christianity as the the official religion of the Roman Empire in 330 CE, construction at the site, was suspended and many parts remained unfinished. Since then, the cult of prostitution, which was practiced in the temples was banned.

            The Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek
         The Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek is not great (its compound is 286X119 m in area) relative to other temples built in ancient times. Its Construction continued throughout the second century CE. During the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211 CE) began the construction of the propylaea - an impressive gate at the entrance, which was ended during the reign of Emperor Philip the Arab (244-249 CE).
          The entrance to the temple is through a hexagonal front yard, leading to a large rectangular courtyard (112X 134 sq m). This courtyard, also  built during the reign of Emperor Philip the Arab, is surrounded by a colonnade built of 128 granite columns brought from Egypt. The construction of the temple's courtyard with all its components, must have been completed during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 CE).
           In front of the propylaea of Jupiter's temple was a paved plaza surrounded by a semi-circular or oval wall where a bench stood. In this plaza bases of statues were discovered.
           The propylaea consisted of outer and inner gates parallel to each other, with a hexagonal courtyard between them. To the outer gate which was an independent structure, led a broad staircase flanked by walls. On both sides of this gate there are two corner towers, and between their facades extends a portico with 12 columns. In the inner wall of the gate were three openings through which one could cross the hexagonal yard and pass through three openings at the inner gate.
         In the center of the hexagonal courtyard there was a sunken courtyard surrounded by a portico. To the north and south of the inner gate of the propylaea, in the two eastern corners of the courtyard, large halls were situated. Both in the northern and southern walls were designed symmetrically three rectangular porticos and between them two semi-circular colonnades.
          Porticos from the east north and south, surround the inner courtyard to which leads the inner gate. Along the western side, there is a staircase leading to the temple. 
        In the center of the courtyard, there are two altars, one large and one small, one after another along the longitudinal axis of the complex. Apart from these altars, there were two purification pools. 
Image- The temples of Baalbek, ground plan
        The temple itself, which was built on an area of ​​48X88 square meters, stood on the podium at 13 meters above ground and seven meters above the courtyard leading to it. A staircase is found only at one end, as was the custom in Roman temples. The podium is not of the Roman type, but is part of a more ancient temple that was built in cyclopean (huge) stones, and is dated to the third millennium BCE. Three stones found in the western wall of the podium each thousand tons in weight, reach an enormous size (a basis of 3.6X4.5 square meters in area and length reaching 19-20 meters). It is still not clear how the podium was built, how these huge stones were brought from the quarry and how they were lifted and placed accurately in place.
         The temple of Jupiter was a Corinthian temple made up of an entrance hall (pronaos) and a main hall (naos). In its front, there were ten smooth columns. Building columns without grooves was influenced by local tradition. The six columns standing there to this day testify to the huge size of the original temple.
         To create the columns, the Romans quarried granite columns in Aswan in far away Egypt. Like columns in the colonnade of the rectangular courtyard, all 54 huge columns that surrounded the temple (each 20 meters in height) were carried in Egypt on the Nile and from there to the city of Heliopolis in Lebanon.
           The frieze of the temple (middle of the three horizontal bars of the entablature, which is the beam supported by the columns) was decorated with heads of lions and bulls alternating, a motif derived from Hellenistic architecture. The cornice (the upper horizontal bar of the entablature) was adorned with geometric and zoomorphic patterns, creating a wealth of decoration reminiscent of baroque.
         This colossal temple was a propaganda tool, by symbolizing powerful Rome and contributing to Syria's self-esteem.

The Temple of Bacchus (or Mercury) in Baalbek
             To the south of the temple of Jupiter is located a separate rectangular building probably built during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius, known as the temple of Bacchus (there is no certainty about it being the temple of Bacchus).
       As the second most important god in the trinity of gods of Heliopolis, we would expect the second largest temple to be dedicated to him. The reliefs decorating the front of the entrance hall on both sides of the main entrance include descriptions of Bacchanal scenes. It appears that the temple was dedicated to the god of wine - Bacchus. Another finding, which strengthens the hypothesis that the temple was dedicated to Bacchus, is the presence of the remains of a huge temple apparently dedicated to Mercury, on a hill south of the city.
         The temple of Bacchus is a peripteral temple (83X 36 square meters in area), standing on a platform at a height of five meters. A stairway divided into three groups, each of ten steps separated by horizontal surfaces, leads to the entrance. Above the main entrance are reliefs of vines and poppies indicating that wine and drugs were probably used by the visitors of the temple as a part of the worship.
        The temple, which has an entrance hall leading to the main hall, is surrounded by smooth columns, 17.5 meters in height. A staircase from the west, as wide as the temple, led to the sanctum which was 4.20 meters higher than the level of the hall. In the fronts stood six columns, and on the sides of the temple 15 columns.
        The columns have a Ionic base and Corinthian capital. The design of the architrave resembles the design in the architrave of the temple of Jupiter. Here are decorations of heads of bulls and lions in alternation and cornice decorated with geometric and plant designs. 
       In the temple of Bacchus, the decorations in the main hall are wealthier than those on the external side, in contrast to Greek and Roman temples, where most of their decorations were found on the outside of the temple. Half columns were attached to the walls and niches were designed between them probably for statues. The entablature over these columns was rich in decoration.
        This temple has been preserved in good condition. In recent decades restoration work has been done in the temple testifying to its glorious past.

       The Temple of Venus in Baalbek
      To the southeast of the acropolis in Baalbek is found the temple of Venus whose construction dates to the end of the second century CE and the beginning of the third century, the period of the reign of Emperor Philip the Arabian. The temple apparently appears on his coins.
          Some date the general design and several decorations to the beginning of the second century CE. Ascribing the temple to Venus is based on the architectural decorations above the niches, which are shells and doves. According to Greek mythology, both shells and doves are associated with Venus. However, the identification of the temple as a temple of Venus is uncertain.
          The temple is circular and built on a podium with a portico to the north. Its shape is unique: niches make up its base and the base of its dome and connect the four columns surrounding the round cella, which is surrounded by a wall adorned with five niches. A high staircase led to the portico,  which is crowned by a pediment and supported by eight columns, four (
standing on a square base) on each side of the entrance. Unlike the Greek and Roman temples, where the columns around the cella are found on the same level on which stands the cella, here the columns that surround the cella are found on a lower level than that of the cella. This creates a monumental effect, despite the modest size of the temple.
       The original and bold design of the temple of Venus creates a graceful impression reminiscent of baroque style, which makes it a unique phenomenon among the temples of Baalbek and among other classical temples.
Image - The temple of Venus in Baalbek and its ground plan

        During the Byzantine period, the temple of  Venus became a church dedicated to Saint Barbara In 636, after the Muslim conquest, the compound of the temples in Baalbek served as a walled fortress.

         The Roman Baths
         The Roman baths, also known as thermae, (literally in Latin: "hot"), constituted an integral part of the Roman way of life. They provided hot and cold water and had a clear social significance. The term thermae was originally associated with hot water, but over time, its meaning expanded, and served to define various types of baths.
       The baths have been used as a modern country-club, a social gathering place. People would meet there, chat, do sports, and listen to poets reciting their poems. Except for bathrooms, the bath included: theatre, gym, palaestra (a building where boxing and other sports took place), stadium (unroofed structure with a track 192 meters in length, and seats with viewers on either side), assembly hall and library. 
         Thousands of visitors arriving daily to the baths were required to pay admission fee. There were times when emperors allowed free entry to the baths, in an attempt to boost their popularity.
         The Roman baths were opened in the morning for women and in the afternoon for men. There were also baths for both men an women operating as brothels or as meeting places for fornicating couples. Emperor Hadrian forbade the activity of such baths.
         The baths were the palaces of the Roman people, and thus the concept of democracy was fulfilled. The poor and the slaves were able to visit them as other residents, and enjoy all the luxuries. Emperor Hadrian's biographer said that the Emperor bathed at the public baths as anyone else. A team available to visitors included manicurists, barbers, hair washers and hundreds of slaves who were to make bathing a luxurious experience. Seneca, the Roman philosopher and statesman, said that the sweat should be the result of hard physical labor, rather than unproductive session in the hot room. 
           In the first century CE large bath houses were built for the convenience of the public. Their ground plan was complex, but symmetrical. Symmetry was considered synonymous with luxury.       
           Part of the building contained rooms covered with concrete vaults used for heaters or other purposes. The rooms were built symmetrically around a large central room, the frigidarium - The cold bath room. This room, which served also for social purposes, was particularly ornate. Tall columns stood close to the walls, which were decorated with delicate stucco reliefs. Small pools were adjacent to this room.
         The baths were equipped with central heating system. Hot air flew under the floor and walls. The tepidarium was the sauna room, where hot air was intended to make you sweat. In the calidarium there was a hot bath. To these rooms showers were added.
        The baths introduced a bold development in the Roman vaults, built of waterproof and fireproof concrete. In the baths, the concrete realized its full potential. Likewise, the baths demonstrate a combination of functional plan of a building designed for many purposes, among them glory which is expressed in magnificent paintings and sculptures. 
          Marcus Agrippa built in 12-25 BCE the first large and magnificent public baths in Rome. Agrippa enabled free entry to the baths that he built. The baths included large halls, in which one led to another. There were hot, lukewarm, and cold tubs and massage rooms.
        The subsequent emperors built larger and larger baths, of which the largest were built by Diocletian and Caracalla in Rome. The latter also have been best preserved.
               The baths of Caracalla in Rome, were the most luxurious in the Roman Empire, built largely by Emperor Caracalla (ruled 211-217 CE, and completed about twenty years after his death, during the rule of Alexander Severus. These baths could accommodate 1600 bathers at a time. Out of the 14 aqueducts carrying water through the Campania to Rome, there was one serving the baths of Caracalla.  
     In building the baths, Caracalla's intention was to convey a message to the citizens that the government cared for them. It was a means of propaganda, by which Caracalla wanted to ensure a peaceful reign and win the support of the citizens of Rome, after murdering his brother Geta, who was his partner in power. Likewise, he was interested in building an enterprise that would perpetuate his name.
                Caracalla's baths were built near the Circus Maximus (see sub-chapter Circus, chapter on entertainment buildings) and the Royal Palace. It was a site where the father of Caracalla, Septimius Severus built much.  Thus, Caracalla completed the development of an area built by his family. The access roads to the baths were comfortable and the location on the outskirts of the city enabled building without space limitations.
 Image - The Baths of Caracalla , ground plan
        In 847, an earthquake caused the destruction of parts of the baths of Caracalla, but the greatest damage was caused to the baths by Pope Paul III Farnese (served 1534-1549), who reused its stones to build the church of San Pietro in Rome. Likewise, he turned pools from the baths into fountains, and placed them before the Farnese Palace.
        The baths of Diocletian, built during the years  298-306 CE, had a layout which resembled that of  the baths of Caracalla. They could accommodate 3,000 people and covered an area of  361x376 square meters.
        Agrippa, Trajan, Diocletian and Caracalla - all built baths in Rome and in major cities in the provinces. In the city of Timgad in North Africa there were no less than eleven bath houses.
        With the rise of Christianity, the use of the baths was banned as it was claimed that the baths were designed for keeping clean rather than for pleasure. Saint Jerome (347-419) warned against the indecent exposure and voyeurism which took place in the baths and saw in them grave danger to the soul.
           Baths were destroyed in the fifth century as a result of the demolition of aqueducts by the Huns and also because of the dwindling population that made them desolate. In 537, the Goths destroyed the aqueduct that supplied water to the baths of Diocletian. Since then the baths were used as grain storages, stables and a source of material reused for building.
           The baths built by Agrippa, Nero, Titus and Trajan have not survived, but parts of the baths of Diocletian and Caracalla still exist.
         The Basilica and the Markets
      The earliest basilicas were built in the second century BCE and served as centers of commerce and as courts. The basilica was the largest type of building used for the gathering of people under one roof, for non-religious purposes. It was usually placed at the forum, and had a major role in civilian life in the city. The meaning of the word "basilica" (basilike in Greek) is "the King's house". Although the origin of the word is Greek, the oldest basilicas are found in Rome.
          The shape of the basilica's ground plan is rectangular with an apse (semicircular niche) at one end of the building or at each end. The basilica is symmetrical along the longitudinal axis and at times along the axis of width too. The entrance to the basilica was located at its end or on its side. The nave (the main wing rising above the two wings flanking it) is supported by arcades (series of arches supported by pillars), illuminated by a clerestory (a story of windows located over the roofs of the side wings). Each side wing consists of three barrel vaults. The nave's ceiling was made of crossing vaults (a vault created by the intersection of two barrel-vaults).     
          The columns of the basilica, fluted Corinthian columns, supported the barrel vaults of the side wings, and the crossing vaults of the nave. The latter were decorated with deep cassetones designed with stucco. In the apse at the end of the basilica was the seat of the judge. 
          The drawback of the basilica compared to the forum was its being smaller in area, but its advantage over the forum was its being roofed and protected from the weather.
            The Basilica of Maxentius
            The Basilica of Maxentius, (also known as the Basilica Nova), whose construction began between the years 306-310 by Maxentius (lived 279-312 CE) and completed by Constantine after 313 CE, was very impressive. It covered an area of ​​6,500 square meters, larger than the area of the Roman baths.    
          The nave of the basilica has three bays roofed with crossing vaults. The crossing vaults in the nave grew from monolith columns that rose to a height of 14.5 meters. The side wings were vaulted with barrel vaults. In this basilica there were two apses, of which the northern one was added by Constantine. The roof of the basilica was built of golden tiles which were removed in the seventh century to reuse them to build the old church of Saint Peter. Only three barrel vaults have been left of the basilica.
        Trajan's Market
        Trajan's Market, designed by Apollodorus from Damascus, was built during the years 100-112 CE, and was the center of commercial activity in Rome. There were 150 shops and offices in the structure similar to modern shopping centers. Its plan takes advantage of the slope of the Quirnal hill, leading to the Forum of Trajan.
             The market structure was functional and monumental - a combination typical of Roman architecture. It was designed in the shape of a roofed promenade with ribbed vaults, and included  two-storey hall above which was a balcony floor also serving as a clerestory. On either side of the promenade, there were shops. Many of them were paved with mosaics, which showed the types of goods sold in them. 
        In order to support the high vaults the architect used stone arches as external supports. A thousand years later architects built flying buttresses where the same principle was implemented, to support the great Gothic cathedrals. Its seems that the innovative structure supporting Trajan's Market, did not recur in Roman architecture.
          Entertainment Buildings
                  The Amphitheater
The Amphitheater, like the Roman drama, drew inspiration from Greece, but while Greek theater was built on the slopes of a hill, taking advantage of the surface, the Roman theater was built on a planar ground. Sometimes the Romans removed hills to flatten the land and build an amphitheater above it. 
          In fact, the Romans developed the structure of Greek theater. They doubled it to form an amphitheater (amphitheatron, literally in Greek: enables to see around; theatai: to see), built in the city, away from the hills surrounding it.
         The orchestra (space reserved for the choir) was semicircular and often part of the auditorium (the part reserved for the audience). Unlike the Greek theater, where there was a place reserved for the orchestra before the scene structure (from which the actors appeared on stage and where they changed costumes). 
            In the Roman theater the orchestra was a part of the auditorium, where spectators sat on comfortable chairs.
            The difference between the main purpose of the amphitheater and theater is reflected in the form of the structure. The amphitheater is a complete oval, with an oval arena at the center. This type of structure had no precedent in Greece. This is not surprising because the amphitheater was designed primarily to show battles of gladiators (gladius, literally in Latin: sword) between men and animals, which was unacceptable to the residents of Greece.
         Gladiators' games had a long tradition. Gladiators were prisoners forced to fight to death to appease the gods who dwelt in the underworld. At the Coliseum, which was the largest amphitheater, performances took place all day. They began by comedy competitions and presentation of exotic animals in the morning and continued with gladiators' competitions in the afternoon.
          Professional gladiators, first-degree criminals, prisoners of war and slaves, fought each other or animals. Their weapons included nets, swords, pitchforks, or torches. During the hundred days of the ceremonial opening of the Coliseum, in 80 CE, hundreds of animals and two thousand gladiators were killed in the performances. In 404 CE Emperor Honorius (ruled 395-423) banned such performances and made them illegal. After this prohibition, battles between animals continued for another hundred years
           The amphitheater of the coliseum was named, ironically, not after its size (188 meters in length, 156 meters in width and 48.5 meters in height), but after the colossal statue (20 meters in height) of Nero in the image of the sun god Helios, which stood beside the Coliseum.    
         Vespasian began to build the coliseum during  the years 69-79 CE on the site of lake of Nero's Golden Palace. His two sons, Titus and Domitian completed the construction. A political advantage was credited to Vespasian, for replacing the "private pond" of the tyrant, by a monument designed to entertain the public.
        The Coliseum, an oval shaped unroofed amphitheater, which could accommodate nearly fifty thousand spectators, was built of stone and concrete. Seventy-six entrances led the spectators inside on ramps to their seats, which were organized according to gender and social class.
           The most distinguished people sat around the arena, while the women and poor people stood or sat on wooden benches on the top floor, as was the case generally in theaters and amphitheaters. Their designated gate led them directly upstairs. This design could easily move the masses of people into the structure. 
 Image - The Coliseum in Rome

         The outer wall of the Coliseum is supported by 80 pillars that support the barrel vaults. The main entrance is shaped like a triumphal arch above which is placed a statue of a quadriga (a carriage drawn by four horses), and the outer arcades were decorated with abundant sculptures.
       On the first floor there are pilasters (flat columns slightly projecting, and built into the face of the wall) with Doric capitals. On the second floor, there are pilasters with Ionic capitals, and on the third - pilasters with Corinthian capitals. These Greek architectural elements are used here purely for decorative purpose.
       Emperor Domitian added a fourth floor in 81-82 CE, but there are no remains of the upper seats which were probably built of wood. The wall of the fourth-floor was decorated with stone projections and crowned with a cornice. Holes in the stone served in the past for wooden posts that supported the huge fine covering that could be deployed and scrolled. The canvas stretched over the structure was designed to protect the spectators from the hot sun. 
           The Coliseum was built in three concentric rings of pillars, including two parallel corridors and concrete vaults surrounding the whole building. The pillars of the innermost ring were free standing, while in the other two rings of pillars were attached to the walls.  
         Like in other amphitheaters, at the Coliseum too there was a magnificent system of underground passageways and rooms beneath the arena, which served the competitors before they appeared on the arena.
During the first ten years of its existence, this part of the coliseum was full of water, and served for staged water fights. Over time the Romans understood that this did damage to the foundations and pavement of the structure.
         The outer wall of the Coliseum was coated with travertine - volcanic limestone from Tivoli. The floor of the arena was made of wood covered with sand. The sand was designed to absorb the blood of warriors in the arena. The word "harena" in Latin means "sand"; hence the word arena.
            The Coliseum is one of the greatest architectural achievements in antiquity. Besides being an extraordinary artistic achievement, it is a masterpiece of planning, engineering and organization. This is a massive structure that combines, comfort, luxury and grace, qualities that made it a model of amphitheaters around the world. Its elliptical shape was the proper solution for seating thousands of people around the arena.
           Unfortunately, much of the Coliseum was demolished. Three earthquakes led to the collapse of parts of it - the first in 1231, the second in 1349 and the third in 1703. To these was added in the 15th century the reuse of the travertine coating of the coliseum.
          The performances presented in theaters and amphitheaters were perceived as inappropriate by the Christians. Tertulian (c. 155-220), one of the fathers of the Christian Church who shaped the Christian thought, wrote that the Christian faith forbade viewing pleasurable public performances. Believers in the first centuries CE thought that these performances evoked impure feelings such as  anger and passion, but only at the end of the fifth century, with the strengthening power of the church, this activity was stopped.

           The Circus
           The largest building used for entertainment in the Roman world was the Circus (literally in Latin: a circular line, circle). The source of the circus was the Greek hippodrome. The structure of the circus was usually incorporated with the baths.    
          Since the morning hours were held horse races and chariots and sometimes fights between men and animals. Chariot races were very popular and many resources were invested in training and selecting suitable people and horses. Famous riders were the idols of the period. In the races participated carriages drawn usually by four horses, but there were also carriages drawn by two, three and sometimes even six or ten horses. Gambling around the races was a widespread phenomenon. Thousands of Romans gathered to watch the performances in the Circus, some of them even spent the whole day there.

          The oldest circus was the Circus Maximus in Rome, which went through many renovations and restorations. The name Maximus (literally: the largest), was given to it due to its size. It was built between the lower slopes of Rome's Aventine and Palatine Hills, on the ground level of the Vallis Murcia (Valley of Murcia).
          Julius Caesar (in 46 BCE), followed by Augustus, gave the Circus Maximus a sense of monumental proportions. Later, Claudius, Nero and Trajan added columns and statues, and coated it with expensive marble.
         Augustus brought from Heliopolis in Egypt, the obelisk (stone pillar at the top of which is built a small pyramid) of Ramses II (which is found today in the Piazza del Popolo), and placed it on the spina (low wall). The spina was intended to divide the arena into two tracks, and allow the carriages to surround it seven times, as was customary. The Circus Maximus was 609.6 meters in length in and about 200 meters in width. 255,000 people could watch chariot races, on both sides of the track.
        With the fall of Rome, the Circus Maximus has been reused for construction. The obelisk was the only structure remaining in place until being transferred to Piazza del Popolo.
         After all the invasions to the city and the looting, the only circus, which has survived almost intact to this day, is the circus of Maxentius (ruled 306-312) in Rome. The circus could accommodate 10,000 spectators. The route is 513 meters in length and 78 meters in width. A low wall divided the route into two. The obelisk now standing in Piazza Navona, above a statue Four Rivers by Bernini, once stood in the center of this low wall, near the main entrance to the Circus.
           At the eastern end of the arena, between two towers, there were individual cubicles for spectators, and in this area began the race. The emperor could arrive directly from his palace, through a long corridor, to the stage on which stood the winners.
Image - Remains of the Circus of Maxentius

           Water has always been one of the most important sources of any community. Since the founding of Rome, the Tiber River has been a source of water flowing along the western border of the city (today it crosses the city). In the fourth century BCE, with the expansion of the city-size and the growth in its population (including many immigrants, merchants and slaves), it was necessary to increase the water supply, and for that the Romans used remote springs.
       Via aqueducts built according to Assyrian and Greek models, which they improved, the Romans transferred water to a reservoir (castellum) in the city. These aqueducts were built of arcades made one atop the other, and the water came down from the mountains of the Apennines in a channel, and moved by the force of gravity. All along the channel is maintained a slope of 35-55 centimeter per kilometer. These channels continued along the ridgelines and when they reached the plateau that surrounds Rome, they crossed it on long and high bridges – the aqueducts.
        The water flowed from the city storage tanks, where the mud and gravel sank, to smaller containers from which distribution pipelines pumped the water to private and public baths, fountains, homes, villas, and villages.
               The pipes were integrated sections made of clay and lead. It was already known then that lead causes damage to health  (Vitruvius mentions this in his writings), but no one paid any attention.
         The Roman pioneer in building aqueducts was the censor Appius Claudius Crassus (later Caecus), who built in 312 BCE the Aqua Appia; (literally, water of Appius) - the aqueduct used for moving water to Rome and paved over 16.2 kilometers or so. In fact, the Romans did not call the aqueducts by names, but the water that moved through them. Aqueduct Aqua Appia was mostly subterranean; this was influenced by the Etruscans, who created an underground crossed system of canals in the countryside.
            Later, during the years 272-269 BCE, another aqueduct was built - Aqua Anio Vetus (literally in Latin: the water of old Anio) which led water from Anio Valley reaching a length four times the length of the length of aqua Appia. 
         Aqua Anio Vetus Aqueduct was complex in design and largely subterranean. Its upper part (326 meters) was built of stone arcades and the route of the flowing water had a thick concrete layer. According to Julius Frontinus (40-104 CE), a general, statesman and author who has written about the aqueduct of Rome, it moved water (180,000 cubic meters per day) to 35 castella (plural of the castellum), and the water was muddy.
                   The Roman aqueducts, with their big arches, were impressive engineering achievements and were copied repeatedly throughout the empire. In the Roman city of Nemasus in France (Nimes today) is found the aqueduct known as Pont du Gard, which was built in 19 BCE. This structure, 250 meters in length and about 49 meters in height, is a part of an aqueduct, which is mostly underground, with a total length of 50 km. This  aqueduct carried water from Uses to Nimes, with a  gap of 17 meters between the highest level and the lowest one. The thickness of the three arcades of the aqueduct, built one on the top of the other, varies, because the lower arcades needed a very strong and durable base in the river. The aqueduct was built according to a formula, which has ensured its durability over time. Large stone blocks were cut and placed each upon the other without mortar, to avoid the risk of leaching of cement from the joints, a situation that could lead to collapse. In building this aqueduct engineering became art.
 Image - Pont du Guard in Nimes

       The structures of the aqueducts required constant maintenance, which involved repairing and restorations. The meaning of discontinuing these works was ceasing the functioning of the aqueduct.
        A large number of aqueducts have survived from the Roman period. They are not decorated, but no doubt, a lot of attention was paid to their proportions.

   Memorial Columns and Triumphal arches
      For ceremonial needs, the Romans took the memorial columns and triumphal arches from the Hellenistic culture. Triumphal arches and memorial columns are architectural monuments, although they do not include space for residential purposes or gathering of people. These monuments are an integral part of the urban landscape. Their  importance lies in their symbolic value.

        Triumphal Arches
       Triumphal arches were common throughout the Roman Empire as architectural monuments representing power and marking symbolic points of the entry to cities.
Usually, triumphal arches were monuments built in memory of military victories. After each military victory, a big crowd would gather to watch the general passing through the triumphal arch with prisoners and booty.
        Triumphal arches first appeared around 200 BCE, and served as a tool of propaganda by the government. Many triumphal arches were built, but only few have survived.
        Triumphal arches first had one arch, and later three arches. The central arch was wider and taller than the arches flanking it. Triumphal arch with two arches is rare. The frieze of the triumphal arch was usually decorated with reliefs depicting a victory parade. The pillars were decorated with Corinthian or composite capitals.
          The Arch of Titus, which stands at the highest point on the Via Sacra in Rome, commemorated the suppression of the uprising of the Jews in Israel and the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus and his father Vespasian in 71 CE. An inscription at the top of the arch reads that it was  built by Domitian after 81 CE, in honor of his brother Titus, who died that year and was divinized.
           The arch of Titus has one arch flanked by half-columns (columns split lengthwise and attached to the wall). Four columns are standing in the corners of the arch. A relief in the center of the arch shows the apotheosis of Titus.
         In the inside of the arch on one side a relief shows the emperor on a triumphal carriage and on the other side a relief shows the loot taken from the temple in Jerusalem. Originally, above the arch, there stood a bronze quadriga.

        A triumphal arch that survived in better condition than other triumphal arches is that of Constantine. This arch was built to celebrate a decade of the reign of Emperor Constantine and serve as testimony to his victory over Maxentius in the battle of the Milvian bridge in 312 CE. The arch is 25.7 meters in height and 7.4 meters deep. The senate chose to place it beside the Coliseum to glorify the emperor.
          The triumphal arch of Constantine is made up of three arches. The middle is the largest and decorated with pagan reliefs that adorned the invincible sun (Sol Invictus) which accompanied the emperor and saved him. On each side of the arch there are four monolithic Corinthian columns adjacent to the wall and supporting the entablature.      
           Many decorative statues in this arch were taken from monuments built during the rule of the emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, and were reused for representing events that took place at the time of Constantine.

         The reliefs show the victories of Constantine, including the victory over Maxentius. Eight marble sculptures located above the Corinthian columns, which describe Dacian prisoners, were probably taken from the Forum Trajan, where similar statues were found. Pairs of round reliefs, two meters in diameter each, located above the three arches. depict hunting and ritual sacrifice. Their style is similar to that of the period of Hadrian.
          Reliefs showing the victory of Constantine indicate abandonment of the classical style, which presented figures with ideal proportions, for a symbolic presentation, anticipating the medieval style. The emperor, who is the most important figure, is also the largest figure and the only one showing the front. His subjects look smaller and are presented in profile, as a kind of visual expression of them being subject to him. 
            Triumphal arches have survived after the fall of the Roman Empire, if they were integrated into the fabric of medieval city, and if their stones were not needed for building. Renaissance builders demolished several triumphal arches. In some medieval towns, the triumphal arch became the gate of the city. Thus, apparently, city pride helped preserve the gate of Augustus in Fano, which was part of the medieval walls of the city.
          The triumphal arches had a great influence on architectural design in the Middle Ages and after.

         Victory Columns
         Victory columns were built in memory of distinguished men and military victories. The most famous of them are the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, in Rome. Like the obelisks in Egypt, and the prehistoric menhirs, these columns can be seen as historical phallic symbols.
      The column of Trajan, built in 113 CE, was originally built between two buildings by Trajan and allowed watching the reliefs on the column from these buildings. This was a Doric column built from 27 drums (the shaft includes 23 drums) laid one atop the other. The column rises to height of 100 Roman feet (35.23 meters). An internal staircase, with 185 steps, leads to the top.     
          Originally, a bronze eagle statue stood over the column but after the death of Trajan it was replaced by a bronze statue of Trajan. This statue was destroyed during the Middle Ages and since 1588 a bronze statue of St. Peter has been standing there.
        On the column are reliefs (originally painted) describing the wars of Trajan against the Dacians.  A series of 23 spirals show an ongoing story beginning at the top of the column and ending at the bottom. The scenes include 2,500 human figures. The basis of the column served as a burial chamber, with the buried ashes of Trajan.
      The column of Marcus Aurelius in Piazza Colona in Rome (a few hundred meters south to the column of Trajan), was established by the senate after the death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE, ruled 161-180  CE) and it was completed in 193 CE. It was built of 27 drums and rises, like a column of Trajan, to a height of 100 Roman feet.
          20 spirals of reliefs show a continuous story, which includes events from the imperial wars with the Marcomanni (German tribes) and Sarmations (tribes of Iranian origin who lived to the west and north of the Black Sea) during the years 172-175 CE. The reliefs (originally painted in bright colors, including gold - the color which was used for painting the emperor) are deeper than the reliefs of Trajan's column, creating strong contrasts of light and shadow. The figures are emphasized and designed in larger volume. Spiral staircase, around a pillar inside the column, leads to its top, where on a square surface stands the statue of Marcus Aurelius.
          In 1589 the artist Domenico Fontana restored the column, and put at its top the statue of Saint Paul which has replaced the statue of the emperor.

           Burial Structures
         The Romans called every burial structure approaching the dimensions and
splendor of the mausoleum of Halicarnassus by the name of . mausoleum.
        The mausoleum of Hadrian (now called Castello St. Angelo) built in 135 CE in Rome, is one of the most important burial structures surviving from antiquity. A circular drum grows on a square podium. The podium was added as a change in plan during the construction. A garden was planted on the big drum, and in its center was built a small circular structure whose diameter was much smaller than the drum's diameter. Apparently, at the top of this structure, stood a sculptured group with a chariot. A bronze balustrade decorated with gilded peacocks surrounded the monument.
Image - The mausoleum of Hadrian 
          The burial room is surrounded by a barrel vault and inside it stood a sarcophagus of Hadrian made of reddish-purple porphyry stone.
          Until the beginning of the third century, emperors were buried in the mausoleum of Hadrian. In the fifth century it was connected by walls built by Emperor Honorius to the wall built by Marcus Aurelius, and became a fortress called castellum (literally in Latin: Fortress). Later, the place became a military base known as Castelo St. Angelo.
          Another important Roman burial structure is the mausoleum of Diocletian in Spalato (literally in Italian: a small palace), in Split) (in today's Croatia), built in 300 CE. The mausoleum is octagonal from the outside, and stands on a podium. It has a dome.  surrounded by Corinthian peristyle (literally in Greek: surrounded by columns). Inside, the structure is circular about 13 meters in diameter. This mausoleum is part of the palace of Diocletian in Spalato (see below). Today it serves as a cathedral.
            One of the common structures of the Roman burial structures was the pyramid. The Romans were interested in Egypt since it became part of the Roman Empire. Egyptian shapes and motifs were particularly fashionable during Augustus' reign.
         Caius Cestius, who died in 12 BCE, built himself a pyramid-shaped burial structure to the southwest of the Aventine hill in Rome, near the Aurelian wall. The pyramid, towering 27 meters and coated with white marble, was restored in 1633. A small door on the western side of the pyramid leads to a burial chamber with paintings in the style of Pompeii on the walls, a style characterized by descriptions in naturalistic colors.
Image - The pyramid of Cestius  

           Roman houses
          The building of the Roman house was  inspired by the Etruscan house. Domus, the house of the wealthy Roman, had approximately 12 rooms, arranged around a rectangular or square courtyard. This courtyard was called "atrium", (ater, literally in Latin: black), because its walls were black of the smoke of the hearth.
        The atrium was a meeting place for family and guests. The courtyard was partly covered with red tile roof, open in the middle. The opening served as a chimney and enabled the penetration of light and air. A container placed below enabled collecting rainwater. The need for collecting rainwater derived from the fact that the amount of water supplied by aqueducts was not sufficient for drinking and for the needs of the house.
        Lead pipes, located under the water collection container, were connected to underground water tanks found under the houses and sometimes served several families.
        Beside the atrium, there was a kitchen where meals were prepared and sacrifices were put on a special table for the ancestors and gods of the house, who protected it. In a niche in the courtyard stood the lararium, a shrine to the spirits that protect the household where stood the sculptures of the ancestors and small figurines of various foods like vegetables and fish, to protect against food theft. These figurines represented the Panates - the spirits whom the Romans thanked for allowing them to eat.
           The bed of the landlord and his wife was placed against the wall facing the entrance. The landlord's wife, engaged in spinning and weaving and looking after the housework, sat in the atrium with the maids.
          In earlier times the Romans used to bury their dead under the floor of the atrium, a fact which made the atrium associated with death and the spirits of the dead ancestors.
Image - A typical Roman house
           The Romans added another courtyard to the Greek model - the peristylum). In the houses of the rich in the cities, there was a pool of water in the courtyard, to which was often added a fountain. This pool was made by an artist, and was usually adorned with reliefs. It contributed to increasing humidity and reducing the high temperature of the dry Mediterranean summer.
        The floors were covered with stone, marble or mosaic, while the walls were covered with marble or frescoes. The ceilings were constructed of uncovered wood. In the richer houses gold, ivory or frescoes were used for coating the ceilings.
          The Roman house was originally one-story, but eventually two-story houses became customary. Stairs that looked like a ladder led to the second floor. This floor was lit by windows, some of which faced the street and some faced the courtyard. Only the rich owned such houses. Farmers, however, lived in single-room huts.
                     The landlord's social status was reflected in his home design. Decoration was not only a means to show off wealth, but also help define the purpose of the various internal spaces in the house. The floor of the foyer was usually decorated with a mosaic that included a message to the visitor, sometimes a welcome inscription wishing him blessings or financial success, and sometimes warning of a dog.      
         The atrium was decorated with murals depicting plant models, the heads of Medusa or Cupids playing hide and seek. Sometimes the walls  were painted in various colors. The kitchen window, which was located above the cooking stove, was decorated with decorative bronze bars. The bedroom walls were usually painted with paintings creating an illusion of open windows overlooking the cityscape. Living room wall paintings looked like a gallery of pictures, and on the walls of the dining room overlooking the garden were painted pictures depicting vegetation, a fountain, birds or similar depictions, which created the illusion that the garden entered into the house.
            Most of the houses were illuminated from above rather than from the windows facing the street, because the windows were closed with wooden shutters. Since the end of the republic began the use of glass to allow penetration of light to homes. Until then, the windows were designed in lattice design. The first windows were round but the glass was not fully transparent. In the first century CE appeared a clear glass of the type familiar to us today. At the end of the first century there were many glassmaking workshops in Italy, which spread even into Gallia.
           Roofs were sloping or flat. The sloping roof was tiled, sometimes pointed, sloping on all sides. Flat roof, called a solarium, was usually decorated with vegetation.
           The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum provide the most complete information on the Greco-Roman house, from the Fourth Century BCE until the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 CE. Both cities suffered greatly from the damage caused to them by the earthquake in 62 CE, and many of the houses were renovated and expanded before the great catastrophe.

      The Villa
          During the prosperous times of the Roman Empire, new types of homes developed. The rich built houses in the village. The ideal place to live in    was an estate in the country – the villa, which combined the ancient Etruscan house with Greek elements. With the peace prevailing during the rule of Augustus, there was no need to fortify the house.     
         The villa had two main parts: front and back. At the front there was a courtyard around which were the public rooms and the study of the landlord. At the back were the private rooms of the family, also built around a courtyard.
        Over time, a distinction was created between the agricultural and rural villa (villa rustica) and between the urban villa (villa urbana). The agricultural villa included apartments for the servants who managed the finances, the book keeper, stalls and warehouses. In building the rural villa, efforts were made to combine the beauty of the countryside with convenience, a combination hard to find in the city where every house is surrounded by other houses and the neighbors' walls block the light.   
        In the rural villa there were separate rooms for summer and winter. The summer rooms faced north, while the winter rooms faced south. There were special rooms for gym, library and art collection. In the area around the house there were parks, warehouses, fish ponds, pens, cages of chickens, barns, stables, slave houses and workshops. Towards the end of the republic and during the imperial period the luxury in such homes reached its peak.
         Pliny the Younger (62-114 CE) described in one of his letters his sumptuous Tuscan villa located in a mountainous landscape. According to his description, there were many rooms in the villa: an entrance hall, bedrooms, servants' rooms, dining rooms, ballrooms, and bathrooms. The bathroom, he writes, was so large that one could swim inside it. Around the villa there was a garden with rich vegetation, fountains, pool and marble chairs.
         The villa was perceived as a particular type of building, highlighting the relationship between architecture and natural surroundings and creating a combination of these both elements.
          People in the classical world perceived nature as mythological and allegorical. For the Greeks nature had a divine significance. Each kind of tree, for instance, was sacred to its own god (oak was sacred to Zeus, olive tree was sacred to Athena, etc.). The Romans, who adopted the attitude of the Greeks, believed that the spirits of the gods reside in nature, in trees or rocks for instance. The gods were believed to watch over fields, orchards, vineyards, springs, forests, etc. Jupiter, for example, was believed to protect the sacred oak trees. Man's natural environment was seen as an ideal background to live in.

            Hadrian's villa in Tivoli
           An example of a magnificent villa from the imperial period, is the villa of Emperor Hadrian in Tivoli. The villa stands in plane land surrounded by gardens, against spectacular views, some 30 km northeast of Rome. Hadrian built it during  the first ten years of his rule, and it was his preferred place of residence.
           Tivoli was a small town that served as the favorite residence of the Roman aristocracy since the second century BCE. The villa, built on an area of ​​18 square kilometers, includes a series of separate buildings adjacent to each other, which were designed to remind the emperor of the places, which thrilled him in his travels. A talented architect carried out the work according the requirements of the emperor and was inspired by him.
       Various structures were included in the villa, including: a palace that served as residence, libraries, small baths (probably for women) and large baths (for men), food halls, gardens, fish ponds, temples, Greek Theater and military outposts. Under the villa there were subterranean corridors for the workers. It was a sort of an empire in miniature.
           The building of the villa displays a variety of architectural forms using skill and imagination in using concrete coated with brick. A striking feature of the villa is a constant game of curved lines, instead of the usual rectangular shapes. Courtyards surrounded by colonnades and entrance halls were incorporated in harmony with octagonal and round apartments. In the construction of the the villa concrete design reached perfection.
          Combining the villa with sculptures and fountains in the landscape seems spontaneous, but in fact, it is the result of a thorough study of the landscape. The villas are not imitations of other structures, but genuine works of architecture inspired by famous models.
          The villa was decorated with mosaic floors, statues and monuments of stone, whose purchase was made possible due to the wealth of the empire.
           During late antiquity villas began to crumble, and later their stones were reused for building p
           The Palaces of the emperors, which stood on the top of the Palatine hill, dominated the city center situated in a valley below. These palaces are still impressive today as ruins.
           The palace of Nero, which was named the Golden House (Domus Aurea), was built in 65 CE in Rome. Unlike Hadrian's villa in Tivoli, this palace was built within the city. It was the greatest monumental complex built in Rome - a sort of city in central Rome, surrounded by fields and lakes.  
          The biographer Suetonius (69-122 CE) wrote that the entrance hall of the palace was so high that the colossal statue of Nero (35 meters in height) could be placed inside it. The house was covered with gold and adorned with precious stones and mother of pearl. In the dining room the ceilings were embedded with pieces of ivory, which could be rotated and shower flowers, and pipes from which perfume was doused on the guests. The ballroom was round and turned day and night "like heaven". Suetonius also writes that in the baths of the palace there were seawater and sulfur water. The Flavian emperors destroyed the golden palace to make room for the Coliseum and the Baths.
                   Another important achievement in building palaces during the Roman Empire is the Palace of Diocletian in Spalato (modern split), built in 300 on the coast of Dalmatia (today's Croatia), near the Roman city of Salonae. Some found etymological connection between the word Spalato and the word "palatium" which means "palace". Wilkes contends in his book Diocletain's Palace that this has no basis. According to him the origin of the name Spalato is in Aspalathos a kind of bush, which was probably common on the beaches of Dalmatia.
         In 305 Diocletian decided to retire and become a private citizen. He moved to his palace in Spalato - the area where he was born, and refused to return to political life. His retirement was unprecedented one-time act, which caused astonishment at the time.
         Architects from the East were commissioned by Diocletian to build his palace on a rectangular area of ​​approximately 215X180 square meters. The palace occupies a large area of ​​the medieval city of Spalato in Dalmatia, which was called due to the dominance of the palace, "a city within a home."
          The magnificent palace looked like a rural royal palace on the beach. Its splendor can be seen in its arcade extending along the Adriatic coast. Like a Roman military camp, high walls surrounded it.
          In this composition are integrated the design of a magnificent Italian house including spectacular logia structures (roofed arcade or colonnade with two sides or more open) with the shape of a Roman military camp. 
        The ground plan of the palace was almost rectangular. At each corner of the rectangle was a square tower. Broad colonnades crossed each other in right angle and the meeting point marked the center of the palace. These colonnades remind of the orthogonal plan, which characterized the Roman military camp.
       The northern half of the palace was probably designed for guests and people responsible for the maintenance of the house, while in the southern half were the imperial apartments with courtyards at their sides. On one of the courtyards was built a magnificent mausoleum for the emperor - an octagonal structure, high domed and surrounded by a colonnade. On another courtyard was built the temple of Jupiter.
Image - The palace of Diocletian in Split, restored   

          In the center of each of the four sides of the rectangle surrounding the palace was a gate named centuries later after a metal (each gate was named after another metal).           The fortified structure of the palace reflects the uncertainty, which prevailed during its construction.

         In the third century BCE Rome developed the building of residential apartment buildings at least three floors in height. It was the Roman way of solving the problem of population growth. In the first century BCE there were apartment buildings that had reached a height of five stories or more. These apartment buildings were called "insula" (insulae, literally in Latin: "islands"). On the ground floor of an insula were usually shops and workshops.
          Evidence to insula from as early as 218 BCE can be found in the writings of Livy who tells about a bull that escaped and fell from the third floor of a building in the Forum Boarium.
         Concrete contributed greatly to the construction of tall buildings. The concrete walls were built using the opus caementicum - two parallel walls with mix of stones and mortar in between. Since all of the insulae were uniform in size, they promoted the idea of ​​equality. During the Roman Empire, these buildings were more customary than private homes of the old domus type.
                  The city of Rome was made up mostly of apartment buildings, rising to even ten stories. These buildings were not safe for residential use, since due to their height they were not durable, and the living conditions there were hazardous to health. They were prone to fires and hygiene conditions there were poor.
         Unlike organized cities of the empire, like Ostia and Pompeii, Rome was a crowded, smelly and exposed the danger of fires. In many poor neighborhoods many buildings collapsed and buried the people under them. These were popular casa-type buildings "(popolare casa) - popular buildings of six floors inhabited with maximum number of occupants and built using the opus (opus craticum). This construction method combines upright wooden beams used as frames for horizontal rows of bricks. 
          Vitruvius wrote about this construction method that wood thickens as the result of moisture and shrinks because of dryness and thus causes creaking in the stucco. He also commented that such buildings caught fire like torches and that he wished that this method would have never been invented.
            In the writings of the late republic and early empire period reference to dangers of tall buildings consistently appears. These include risk of collapse, fire, cracked walls, and shaky foundations. The collapse of multi-storey buildings brought Augustus (in 27 BCE) to limit the height of Roman buildings to seventy Roman feet (20 meters) by legislation. Trajan further restricted the maximum height, not to exceed 60 feet (about 18 meters). After the fire in Rome from 64 CE, Emperor Nero demanded that buildings would be coated with burnt mud bricks.
          In some of the tall buildings, there was a small inner courtyard, which enabled the penetration of a little light and air into the apartments. Unlike the domus, which turned inward to the courtyard, the insula turned outward and had many windows on the front. A significant feature of the insula was a total lack of comfort. Each floor was divided into several apartments. There was neither heating nor running water, except for the first floor, and there was no sewage system.
These apartments' rents were low. Due to lack of proper facilities for cooking in the insula, the Romans ate and drank at restaurants in their neighborhoods. Sometimes restaurants were located on the first floor of the insula. Cooking in the apartments caused a constant danger of fire combustion, which typically spread quickly.
                   Apartment buildings of concrete and brick were more resistant to fire. These were probably built by wealthy private entrepreneurs, who were able to acquire better building materials, and employ a large number of talented carpenters, artisans, and concrete engineers.
         Nero improved the building regulations related to air, light and ventilation between the houses. These regulations required the use of building materials, which were not biodegradable, and set the height of new buildings so that it would not exceed the double width of the street along which they stood. Following this the apartment buildings in the second century buildings had a strong construction and good finish.
      In Ostia there were many insulae consisted of three residential floors above the ground floor. Often there was a balcony running along the whole floor. Staircase was usually on the front, but sometimes in the inner courtyard.
Image - Insula in Ostia

           The Heritage of Roman Architecture             
          Of all styles in history, the Roman architectural style is the closest to modern taste. Striving to grandiose beauty and the fact that decoration is not a part of the building, are much like contemporary architecture.
          The modern football stadium is a variation of the Roman amphitheater, just as the barrel vaults of Roman baths have been used as models for many train stations.
          Roman architecture is the source from which sprang the public architecture. Rome was perhaps the first city in the world, which placed more emphasis on public architecture. Likewise, it was the first major city where monumental bridges were built as a series of arches. Then this type of construction spread throughout the empire.
          The Roman massive construction, arches, and the heavy vaults, which were very popular in Roman architecture inspired Romanesque architecture, whose name indicates that it was influenced by ancient Roman architecture. The Roman baths can be seen as the prototype of the Romanesque church building and of the vaults from which evolved the Gothic church. 
         Architecture of the Renaissance (literally in French, rebirth), as indicated by its name, revived antiquity. Renaissance architects were influenced by Roman architecture, including the creation of large spaces by the construction of vaults, domes and niches. They also adopted decorative patterns used in Roman architecture.
           The Roman domes are the source of all modern Western domes.
           Characteristics of Roman construction such as glass windows and central heating can be found in modern construction. Likewise, the Romans were the first to use concrete for the construction of tall buildings (though the Roman concrete differs from the reinforced concrete used today).      
           The shape of the triumphal arch was used as a source of inspiration for medieval and Renaissance architecture. During the neoclassical period, Napoleon and others had commissioned copies of Roman triumphal arches. Marble Arch, the triumphal arch, which stands in London, revived this long tradition. 
            The column of Trajan directly influenced the memorial columns in the place Vendome in Paris, and in Trafalgar Square in London. The bronze column built by Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim in the city's cathedral, also imitated Trajan's column. 
           The unique shape of the Temple of Venus in Baalbek served as a source of inspiration to Francesco Borromini (1599-1667), architect of the Baroque, when he built the Church of St. Ivo  in Rome.
         The book of Roman architect Vitruvius on architecture, which was written in 25 BCE, serves to teach architectural principles that are also taught by contemporary architects.
            Like Greek Architecture, Roman architecture left its mark throughout the history of architecture. It served as inspiration in designing space, bridges, stadiums, theaters and memorial structures.

        The Ancient Roman City
       The Roots of the Roman city lie in the ancient Etruscan city that preceded it. The Etruscans were the first builders of cities in northern and central Italy. Before their time people lived in wooden huts in villages. During the seventh century BCE cities began to be build and houses of stone and mud-brick replaced the huts.
           The Etruscans saw in the city a material and spiritual entity, limited in area defined and marked in advance. Sacred ceremonies were conducted with the establishment of a city. These ceremonies, which were adopted later on by the Romans, are described in the Etruscan sacred books.
            The Etruscans adopted the orthogonal plan of the city, if topographic conditions suited it. This city plan was based on the four cardinal points, and the east, being the direction from which the sun rises, was considered significant and most important of the four winds. West was considered secular compared with the sacred east. The north was considered high class and the south - low class.  The word "orientation", which is derived of the word "orient" (meaning "east"), illustrates the importance of the east.
          The main streets in the city, the cardo and decumanus, crossed each other and divided the city into four quarters. The term "cardo," which means "axial" or "polar," marks the streets located on the north-south axis. The decumanus extends from east to west, similar to the "movement" of the sun in the sky. This is a simple method of designing a well organized city.
          In the eyes of the Etruscans, their city plan was a small model of the world - a microcosm. The Etruscans believed that the sky was divided into four quarters by an invisible cross consisting of north-south axis that crosses the east-west axis. They believed that the good and evil forces are located permanently on the four quarters of heaven according to the location of the gods.
         The west was considered as the abode of the gods of death - the most terrible and evil gods. The northwestern quarter was considered as bringing bad luck. The east quarter of heaven, however, was considered as the abode of the best gods for man, and the northeastern quarter was considered promising good luck. As the sky was divided into quarters, so was the Etruscan city.
        The plan of the major Etruscan cities, like Tarquinia, Caere, Volterra and Vetulonia, is irregular. These cities are located on sites favorable for defense, so it was hard to create on them an orthogonal plan.
        Outside the area of Etruria, Etruscan cities were organized and orderly. Two Etruscan colonies from the beginning of the fifth century BCE show that: Marzabotto in the north and Capoue in the south. The city of Marzabotto, about 20 km from Bologna, is built on an extensive plane at the foot of Misanello Hill, which is the acropolis of
the city. The streets of the city run accurately from north to south and from east to west. The main streets were the cardo and decumanus. Their width was 14 meters (including the width of sidewalks); the width of the road itself was 9 meters. Marzabotto was destroyed by the Gauls in the fifth century CE. Similar design appears in Capoue.
 Image - The city of Marzabotto , plan

             Other Etruscan cities were also built according to orthogonal plan; these cities had roads and sewers. They were fortified with thick and powerful wall of the cyclopean type, as already seen in the podium of the temple of Jupiter in Baalbek.
       The Etruscans influenced the Romans in planning their cities as they influenced them in other areas. Among the Roman cities, as among the Etruscan ones, there were orthogonal cities and cities built without a consistent and orderly layout.
      The cities that the Romans built in the colonies were essentially strategic cities. The city of Cologna (Köln today), for example, was a Roman colony. Like a Roman camp, the streets are straight and intersect at right angles. However, most Roman cities, including Rome, developed gradually and spontaneously without an organized plan.  
           The founding of the Roman city was accompanied by religious ceremony of three phases: phase one was monitoring the rising sun on the day of the founding of the city. the direction of the rising sun determined the direction of the main street -  the decumanus maximus. In the second stage was set the second main street vertical to the decumanus maximus - the cardo maximus. In the third phase were outlined the streets parallel to the main streets – the secondary streets which were named decumeni minores and cardines minores. Following the Etruscan religious perception, the Roman city too was perceived by its inhabitants as representing the world.
           The city's boundaries were defined by a wall. Since the city was seen as defending its citizens, as a mother protects her children, the personification of the city goddess in sculptures and reliefs, was often presented in the image of a woman with a wall-shaped crown.
           Building a wall was the first step in establishing a colonial Roman city. In the next step  buildings were built. For the Romans, like for the Greeks, the establishment of a city was a civic and political action. However, the central role of religion was not missing. This was expressed in sacred ceremonies, which were an integral part of founding a city.
           When it was decided to establish a city in a colony, the residents took fire from the mother city and tied the colony to the city by sacred oaths. Following the Etruscans, in the founding ceremony the Romans marked the line of the wall of the city by bronze plow. Along the area designated for the gates, the plow was lifted off the ground, so that the magical line of defense would not be crossed. The temple marked the city center.
         Plutarch writes that the walls of the cities were sacred but their gates were not sacred. He quotes the words of Varro (82-36 BCE), an important Roman scholar, who wrote that the townspeople had to consider the walls as holy in order to be ready to die for their protection. However, the gates, as writes Plutarch, cannot be sanctified and blessed, since through them passed the dead bodies.
         The prevailing religious view in this period was that the union formed between heaven and earth guaranteed the holy character of the walls. Everyone who crossed the place where heaven and earth unite was considered an enemy of life that this union promised.
           The Romans believed that the gates of the Roman city were under the care of the god Janus (Ianus, literally in Latin: entrance or door), the god with two faces from Hindu European mythology. Janus was the god of light and sun, which opened the gates of heaven in the morning and closed them at night. As time went on he also became the god of entering and leaving, passing through each entrance or passage (and considered as the god of the house). These passages were sacred. The arches along the streets were called "Iani", and symbolized the open sky. Many of these arches, especially the arches in the markets, busy streets and intersections, were dedicated to Janus, and were decorated with his image.
           Janus is usually shown as a doorkeeper with a face facing opposite directions, holding a scepter in one hand for being a king, and a key in his other hand that opens and closes periods, houses, and city gates.
        The god Portunos was also presented on doors of residential houses with a key in his hand. Often, monsters and fabulous creatures protected the gates. Cities and castles were protected by creatures that appeared in sculpture and relief  - lions, griffins, bulls, half men - half scorpions, half men or women
- half lions, sometimes winged (like the Egyptian sphinxes).
         Along with their religious beliefs the Romans were practical people. They did not hesitate to flatten hills in order to build a flat city, or destroy ancient quarters, like the ancient Greek quarter in Marseille, to build according to an orthogonal plan. Like the Etruscans, the Romans also built sewage systems. The sewage of Rome flowed into the Tiber, while in the small towns the sewage fertilized the peasants' land.
           Unlike the Greeks, whose city planning was refined and reserved in nature, the Roman city planning was characterized by a conscious monumentality. While the Greek streets were  winding and unpaved, the Roman streets were straight and paved in stone. Major streets were usually built with arcades (pillars with their supporting arches). Streets and intersections were emphasized by a new element – the triumphal arch. Streets functioned as active areas in the urban landscape: while the Greeks excelled in finding ways to create open spaces integrated into the landscape, the Romans came to perfection in closing spaces and controlling human activity. They built many public buildings, mainly on the seven hills of Rome: theaters, amphitheaters, temples, libraries, etc., and fountains in the corners in the city. 
             The attitude of the Greek geographer Pausanias (143-176 CE) referring to the Greek town Panopeus, in the Phosis region, reflects the typical approach to the Roman city in the second century CE. Paosanias asks how this settlement could be considered a city, if it lacked public buildings, theater, central square, running water and if people lived in wretched huts in the mountains. Paosanias reflects the difference between the ancient Greek perception, which saw the polis as a community, and between the Roman perception which attached importance to the material comfort of the citizens.
         In the Roman city, emphasis was placed on the public services provided to all residents, something that did not exist in the Greek cities. Rome moved part of its power and culture to cities throughout the empire, and so every city was an administrative, religious and cultural center. Each of the emperors left his mark in these cities.            
         The Romans, who enjoyed over 180 days off a year, needed many places of entertainment. For this purpose, games and concerts were organized, amphitheaters which were very popular were built, as well as baths which were the most important centers in the cities of the empire. 
                   The policy of "bread and entertainment", which has boosted the popularity of the authorities among the public, ensured the survival of the empire no less than its military power. Urban life was public and opened to everyone. Public squares (fora), temples, civil basilica, and buildings
for entertainment (theater, amphitheater, circus and baths) - all were opened to all classes.
            Wide streets and monumental public buildings linked the urban areas. In the main streets, especially in the eastern part of the empire, colonnades were built. These public monuments were important status symbols of the city.
          First and foremost the considerations in building a city were military. The streets were  designed according to plan, using accurate measurements. The roads were built with a slight curve to allow drainage of rainwater into the ditches around the edges.
         One of the important military targets of the Romans was building roads to connect the various cities in the colonies that were inhabited by Roman citizens, or by citizens of other Latin cities. These roads were designed to serve the Romans in wartime.
        When the Romans built military camps, they did it quickly and accurately. Modernist architect  Eliel Saarinen (1873-1950) contended that in building such towns like the construction of the Egyptian city of Kahun in ancient Egypt, the city of workers, construction was quick, there was no time for planning according to personal tendencies and preferences, and the streets were laid out in straight lines in functional and practical way.
          Roman colonial cities were planned as complete units designed in rigid order, as evidenced by the remains of the city of Timgad (Thamugadi) in North Africa - one of the colonies that have been preserved in the best condition.
         Timgad was built in a short time (110 CE) during the period of Emperor Trajan's rule. It was designed to accommodate the soldiers of the third legion, which included about 15,000 people. The intention in building the city was to strengthen the Roman outpost in North Africa and "civilize" the local barbarians. Timgad is rectangular (322 meters in length and 253 meters in width) and planned as a military camp. Its plan is orthogonal and includes cardo and decumanus intersecting at the center. The city had a small theater with 3500 seats, baths and a library. Timgad's city plan, like most Roman city plans, looks monotonous, but its distinctive characteristic, the colonnades of the cardo and decumanus, were apparently very impressive.
Image - The city of Timgad, plan
         In the Roman cities there were theaters, and in the greatest of them there was also an amphitheater. Roman amphitheaters, among them those in Orange, Nimes, and Arles in France, and Verona and Pompeii in Italy have survived to this day. Likewise, amphitheaters in various cities in Spain, North Africa and Asia have survived. 
       The monumental intersection of the city, where the two main streets in the city met was the center of Roman life. Jerusalem during the Byzantine period, as seen in the mosaic Madaba (565 CE), illustrates this clearly. The cardo maximus, a street 30 meters in width with colonnade, stretched from south to north, and connected the two main gates of the city. The decomanus crossed it at right angle, from east to west, from the gate to the temple.  The Holy Sepulcher, palaces and markets, all were located along the cardo. This layout still exists to this day.

  Image -mosaic map of Jerusalem, Madaba map 

         Similar forms of city were imitated all over the empire. They are built so that everyone who knew one of them knew them all.
          As opposed to the cities of colonies, which were built in a short time and their plan was clear and regular, there were cities which developed spontaneously and gradually throughout centuries.
         While the cities of the Roman colonies were an example of planning and order, since they were carefully planned in a geometric plan, Rome was a classic example of urban chaos created as a result of lack of urban planning and supervision and because of construction over many years.
         In the second century CE about one million people lived in Rome. More than ten percent of the Roman Empire, which constituted about five million people, lived in cities. Roman rule founded hundreds of cities throughout the empire.  
           The Hellenistic cities - Alexandria, Corinth, Pergamon and Euphesus - were inhabited by a large number of residents. Most cities, especially in the west of the empire, were relatively small. Only in a few cities, the number of residents reached  500,000, and in some cities lived more than 100,000 residents. In the new cities that the Romans built in Spain, France and England the number of residents did not exceed 50,0000.
         The cities of the empire have been linked together by roads in total length of 80,000 km which took 500 years to complete. These roads were of excellent quality and stretched from Syria in the east to England in the west. They crossed planes, tunnels and bridges. Never has it happened that so many people lived in cities interconnected by built roads. Later these roads facilitated the spread of Christianity throughout the empire.
           The Roman Empire, which brought prosperity and cultural bloom to many cities throughout the empire, also brought their decline with its fall.
                          The City of Rome
                    Etruscan Rome was not built on a virgin soil. Some form of urbanism had already existed before the appearance of the Etruscans. The beginning of Rome, the city built on seven hills, was some villages of Latin tribes. The researchers believe that as early as in the eighth century BCE there was a rural settlement on each of the hills. The most important hills were the Palatine hill, traditionally considered the homeland of the Romans, and the  Capitol Hill, where the Sabine tribe lived.
          At the foot of Capitol Hill was the forum, which, like the Athenian agora, was the heart of commerce, religion and rule of Rome. Originally, the forum was the market square in the border of the Roman city. The word "forum" (in plural: fora)  originates in the Latin word "foris" meaning "outside." The f
orum was not a simple square. It developed in Rome and became a complex of public buildings, including the Curia (the senate meetings house), the basilica, temples, law courts, markets, council houses, and open spaces surrounded by colonnades. Local speakers stood in these open spaces.
          Because of their great significance, the forum and marketplace were placed in the intersection of the two main streets, which were straight, and divided the city into quarters. Despite the central location of the forum, vehicles on wheels were not allowed entrance to its compound.     
        Due to the small flat area of the forum, its buildings were built densely. They were seen as individual objects with no formal link between them, but their location along a narrow area approximately 330 meters in length along east- west axis. Each structure in the forum was a monument designed to glorify its builder or commemorate an event associated with it. As an eclectic architectural group, the forum looked like a perpetual carnival.
               The Roman Forum was different from the Greek agora in the perception of space. The agora remained essentially an open public square where public buildings were built. The forum, however, was a combination of acropolis and agora. It was a closed area, surrounded by walls and open to the sky. Around it were shops, offices and porticos, independent of the streets and other public buildings.
          In many provincial towns, especially in the western part of the empire, the forum developed into an administrative and commercial center that provided its needs, surrounded by portico and shops. A basilica there served as the municipality building and often a temple was built next to it. Wherever it was possible, the temples were positioned in accordance with the direction of the street system, despite the importance of religious considerations, which required building facing the east.
                The Roman forum became the showcase of the empire. Over time its scope expanded to suit the needs of the extensive public activity. The compound of the forum and its buildings represented the development of the political power, which had been steadily rising.
        In Rome five fora were built by emperors, one after another. Julius Caesar built the first imperial forum in 54 BCE. Some of the five fora are vertical to each other (in the ground plan) and some are located adjacent to each other. The central axis of each of them is vertical or parallel to the others. This creates a system of axes uniting the layout.       
         Despite the official and static look of each of the structures in the Forum, the relations among them create a dynamic whole. The plazas of the fora were square, rectangular or semicircular. Each one was surrounded by a colonnade at whose end was located a temple or basilica. The colonnades linked the squares and served as passages.
        The buildings in the Forum were so spectacular that the Romans needed a new method to highlight the most important building in the Forum – the Curia. Its uniqueness lied in its extraordinary simplicity and modest size compared to the enormous dimensions of the buildings surrounding it, because any new building constructed on the Forum (except the Curia) was larger than its predecessors.
                 The greatest and most spectacular forum of Rome was the forum of Trajan (100-112 CE), which was designed by the architect of the empire, Apollodorus of Damascus. Trajan's forum, the last forum built, had a shape close to rectangle. From west to east the forum included the temple of Trajan (which has not survived) and a Greek and Latin libraries. Between these libraries stood the column of Trajan, built in honor of the victory of Trajan in Dacia (Romania today). Behind these was placed the basilica, with its inner colonnade. At the end, another colonnade stood in the open area of ​​the forum, with the statue of the emperor in the middle, and colonnades forming semicircles to the north and south of it. 
            Vitruvius wrote that the forum had to match the crowd, since in the forum the multitude gathered to witness the generals who marched with the loot of victory and the prisoners, and passed through the triumphal arches.
        Athens lost power during the Roman occupation, but was still an important center of culture. Unlike the great space of the agora in Athens, the Romans filled the space  with buildings. This was an expression of the horror vacui (literally: fear of empty space), which has characterized many Roman reliefs. The place, which included an open space,  once a meeting place and center of communication between people, was filled with buildings that made this communication irrelevant. 
          Besides public fora, squares were relatively rare, because it was also possible to conduct meetings outside the city walls, in the open air.
            The Romans introduced innovations in the urban space, such as monumental fountains. The basic elements of the Greek fountain were found in the Roman fountain, but the perception has changed. Compared with the Greek fountain building which was simple, the Roman fountains were spectacular. They provided an opportunity to display decorative architecture. Magnificent fountains were decorated with countless statues of gods, nymphs (water goddesses) and human portraits.
           The monumental fountains were called "nymphaeum" - a combination of a fountain and a temple of nymphs. An aqueduct carried water to the fountain. Water tanks were placed at the rear of the structure of the fountain and large basins were placed in its front. The structure provided protection from the weather. Residents used to fill buckets of water in the nymphaeum. Only the very wealthy had running water. Like the baths, the fountains also had a democratic character, since they were open to everyone.
                 An example of a nymphaeum is found in the villa Horti Liciniani of the Emperor Licinus Gallienus (ruled 253-268 CE) in Rome. This structure was mistakenly known since the 17th  century as the temple of Minerva Medica. This nymphaeum  was built in the fourth century CE, and was part of the Liciniani gardens which surrounded the estate of the powerful Liciniani family.
          The diameter of the nymphaeum was 24 meters and its height - 33 meters. Its unique characteristic is its ten high large windows which opened under a large dome. The structure supporting the dekagon shape (a ten-sided polygon) dome consists of ten pillars connected to each other by arches. Ten windows were built between the pillars, over nine deep apses and above the entrance. There was probably a problem with the support of the dome, because the pillars were thickened before construction was completed. The inner and outer walls were covered with marble. As a building dedicated to water nymphs the nymphaeum was full of plants, flowers, statues and fountains.

           In 1828 part of the dome of the building collapsed.
 Image - Nymphaeum in villa Horti Liciniani (temple Minerva Medica
           Compared to the water supply system, which was very advanced, the Roman sewage system was primitive. Emperor Vespasian was struck by the connoisseurs, when he decided to collect taxes on public toilets (it was he who coined in this context, the phrase "Money has no smell"). The number of these toilets in Rome grew reaching 144 in the third century. Many examples have survived in other cities, showing 30 or 40 seats arranged in rows, and indicative of the lack of any need for privacy.
         The Romans devoted special attention to transportation within the city. Julius Caesar decided to create a new plan for the forum, which was too busy already during the republic. He destroyed the Curia (the senate) to make room for a way decorated with colonnade and a temple beside the road leading to the forum of Julius Caesar. Ways were converted to one-way streets and parking lots for coaches were determined. Likewise, loading luggage during peak hours and the movement of wheeled vehicles on city streets at night were prohibited. This Act was renewed from time to time during the empire.
          The most daring initiative of Julius Caesar was changing the path of the Tiber River which often overflowed and flooded the city. The claims of his opponents, according to which his intention was to speculate the land that was added as a result of this change, were refuted when he passed this land to the residents.
          The ideal City According to Vitruvius
         Vitruvius, in his ten books on architecture, discusses the city as a whole and refers to the ideal city. He does not discuss the city as reflecting a social utopia, but refers to the model characteristic of his period. He emphasizes the architecture which serves the rich and powerful, while the social questions are discussed only on the edges. Though there were tall buildings in Rome under the republic, these are not addressed in the writings of Vitruvius, indicating the lack of interest in ordinary people. However, he presents the principles of designing houses according to the profession and social status of their owners. These include houses of lawyers and orators, and houses of the upper classes who served the public.
        Vitruvius writes that in order to build a city, a site good for health should be selected - a high place with a temperate climate, without swamps next door (that will make it ill stricken). The location should ensure food sources and convenient transportation routes to the city. A wall should surround the city. A round wall is preferred over square wall with protruding corners. Thus, the enemy can be seen from many points. Likewise, the wall will have towers for defense.
          After fortifying the city, plots of land inside the walls would be allocated, and the streets and alleys would be planned with reference to the four cardinal points. The streets would be designed to avoid high winds, out of concern for the health of the residents. This advice is contrary to that of  most writers of antiquity referring to this topic. Aristotle, probably influenced by the writings of Hippocrates, recommended that, considering health,  cities would be open to winds.
         After planning the alleys and streets, the sites of temples, forum and other public buildings, would be marked, taking into account the welfare of the residence and efficiency.
          In a city situated at the beach Vitruvius recommends that the forum would be located near the port area, while in a city in the heart of the land  the city center would serve this purpose. The temples of the patron gods of the city would be  placed, in his opinion, in the highest point in town.


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