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HSAR 252: Roman Architecture
- It Takes a City: The Founding of Rome and the Beginnings of Urbanism in Italy
Professor Kleiner traces the evolution of Roman architecture from its beginnings in the eight-century B.C. Iron Age through the late Republican period. The lecture features traditional Roman temple architecture as a synthesis of Etruscan and Greek temple types, early defensive wall building in Rome and environs, and a range of technologies and building practices that made this architecture possible. City planning in such early Roman colonies as Cosa and Ostia is also discussed, as are examples of the first uses of the arch and of concrete construction, two elements that came to dominate Roman architectural practice. The lecture ends with an analysis of typical late Republican temples at Rome, Cori, and Tivoli.
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HSAR 252 - Lecture 2 - It Takes a City: The Founding of Rome and the Beginnings of Urbanism in Italy
Chapter 1. Romulus Founds Rome [00:00:00]
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Last time I introduced you to some of Rome’s greatest buildings, and I remind you of two of them here: the Pantheon, on the left-hand side of the screen, the temple to all the gods, and then, of course, the Colosseum, on the right-hand side of the screen. These are two of the greatest masterworks of Roman architecture, and we will gain momentum and work our way up to those in the course of the semester, but it’s not where we’re going to begin. We’re not going to begin with these masterworks; we’re going to begin at the beginning. And the beginning goes way, way back, in fact all the way to the Iron Age, indeed to the eighth century B.C.
And we know on precisely what day, not only the history of Rome but the history of Roman architecture began, and that was specifically on the 21st of April in 753 B.C., because it was on the 21st of April in 753 B.C. that, according to legend, Romulus founded the city of Rome. Romulus founded the city of Rome on one of Rome’s seven hills, the Palatine Hill. And I show you here a view of the Palatine Hill. This is taken from Google Earth. I urged you last time to make sure that you have Google Earth downloaded on your computer and to take advantage of using Google Earth in the course of this semester in order to really get to know the city of Rome and the location of the various buildings that we’ll be talking about within the city fabric. So I show you one of these views of the Palatine Hill in Rome, from Google Earth, and you can see the relationship of that hill to the part of Rome in which it finds itself.
You’re going to be able to pick all of these buildings out by yourselves in the very near future, but let me just do that for you here this morning. You can see, of course, the Colosseum, in the upper right corner. You can see the Roman Forum lying in front of it. You can see the great–that modern street that you see right behind the Forum is the Via dei Fori Imperiali, commissioned by Mussolini, Il Duce. We can also see in this view the Capitoline Hill with the oval piazza designed by Michelangelo, and down here the famous Circus Maximus, as you can see, the great stadium, the greatest stadium of Rome. It wasn’t the only stadium of Rome but it was the largest, and you can see its hairpin shape right down here. The hill in question right now is the Palatine Hill, and this is the Palatine Hill, all of this area here. And as you look down on it, as you gaze down on it, you will see the remains of a colossal structure, which is actually a late first-century A.D. palace that was designed under the direction of the emperor of Rome at that particular time, a very colorful character that we’ll talk about in some detail later in the term, by the name of Domitian. This is Domitian’s Palace on the Palatine Hill. But that discussion of that palace lies in the future.
What I want to say today is miraculously the remains of Romulus’ village on the Palatine Hill, founded in the eighth century B.C., actually lie beneath the remains of the Palace of Domitian in Rome, and it’s to Romulus’ huts on the Palatine Hill that I want to turn to today. Believe it or not, remains of those huts from the Iron Age are still there. Now they don’t look like much. I’m showing you what remains of Romulus’ huts right there, and you’re probably having a hard time figuring out exactly what we’re looking at. But what we’re looking at–the architects that were working for the designers, that were working for Romulus, were very clever indeed, and they realized that the best way to create a foundation or a pavement for their huts was to use the natural rock of the Palatine Hill. And that’s exactly what they did.
What you’re looking at here is the tufa, t-u-f-a, the natural tufa rock of the Palatine Hill. And what they did was they created a rectangular plan. They gave it rounded corners and they cut the stone back about twenty inches down, to create that rectangular shape; they rounded the corners, and then they put holes in the tufa rock. The holes were to support wooden poles that served to support the superstructure of the hut and also to support the walls of the hut. So the pavement of the tufa rock of the Palatine is the floor of the hut, and then these holes support the wooden poles that supported, in turn, the superstructure. I now show you a restored view, on the left. And you should all have your Monument Lists and should be able to follow along with the major monuments. You won’t see every image that I’m going to be showing here, but you’ll see a selection there of the ones that you’ll need to learn and be able to talk about for the midterm, the two midterm exams in this course.
But you’ll see there this restored view of one of these Palatine huts, as well as a view of the model that one can actually see in the archaeological museum that’s on the Palatine Hill today. You can see, as you look at this restored view on the left, you can see that rectangular plan that we talked about here; you can see the rounded corners, and you can see the wooden poles that were placed into those holes to support the walls and the superstructure of the building. You can see over here the same, the wooden poles. This gives you a better sense of what they looked like in actuality, the wooden poles and also the superstructure. We also know what the walls were made out of. They were made out of something–and I put some of the keywords that might be unfamiliar to you on the Monument List as well–they were made out of wattle and daub. Well what is wattle and daub? Wattle and daub is twigs and rods that are covered and plastered with clay; twigs and rods covered and plastered with clay. That served as the walls of the structure, and then the sloping roof, as you see it here, was thatched.
Now it’s very hard–there are no huts that look like this in Rome still today that I can show you to give you a better sense of what these would’ve looked like in antiquity. But I’m sure you, like I, have seen huts like this on your travels around the world. And one example I can show you–and would that we were all down there right now. This is a view of a small village in the Maya Riviera, near Cancun, where one sees, if you take the bus or a car from Maya to Chichen Itza, which I hope some of you have had a chance to do. If you haven’t, it’s a great trip. And you can see all along the road huts that look very much like the huts of Romulus’ village, made out of wood and then with thatched roofs, as you can see here. So this is the best I can do in terms of conjuring up for you Romulus’ village.
We also have information with regard to what these huts looked like in ancient Roman times or–not in ancient Roman, in the Iron Age, as I mentioned before. We have not only the pavement stone that’s still preserved, but we also have these urns. We call them hut urns, hut urns, because they’re urns in the shape of huts. And these hut urns were used for cremation, in the eighth century B.C.–these date also to the Iron Age–and the cremated remains of the individual were placed inside the door of the hut. And if you look at this hut urn, you’ll see that it looks very similar to the huts of Romulus that we’ve already been talking about. It is either sort of square or rectangular in shape. It has rounded corners, as you can see here, and the roof of the hut urn is sloping. So we do believe we use this, along with the surviving pavement, to restore what these huts of Romulus looked like in the eighth century B.C.
Let me also note–it’s interesting just to see the status of men and women in any given civilization at any given time. There are essentially two kinds of hut urns from the eighth century B.C. Excuse me, there are two kinds of urns in the eighth century B.C. One of them is hut urns and the other is helmet urns, and you can guess, as well as anyone, as to who was buried in which. The men were buried in the helmet urns and the women’s remains were placed in the hut urns. So men’s domain was considered the battlefield; women’s domain was considered the house. But the houses are actually more important in terms of giving us a sense again of what Romulus’ village looked like in the eighth century. And if you take one of those huts and you combine it with another set of huts, you can get a sense of what the village of Romulus would have looked like in the eighth century B.C. This is a model that is on view in the archaeological museum, on the Palatine Hill today, and it gives you a very good sense of the village of Romulus in the eighth century. And of course it was from this village that the great city of Rome grew, and of course there’s a quite significant difference between Rome as it is now and Rome as it was in the eighth century B.C.
Chapter 2. The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus [00:10:05]
I’m going to skip a couple of centuries and take us from the eighth century B.C. to the sixth century B.C., and talk about what was the greatest architectural project in the sixth century B.C. Just a few words about what was going on in the sixth century B.C. Those who were ascendant in the sixth century B.C. were essentially the Etruscans. The Etruscans lived in what is known as Etruria. They were a quite advanced civilization prior to the Roman period, lived in Etruria, which is essentially Tuscany today. Etruscan, Tuscany – Tuscany today. So the area around Florence and so on and so forth is where many of these individuals lived. They became a quite powerful civilization and they were able to use that power to gain ascendancy also in Rome itself. And there’s a period in which there was a succession of Etruscan kings who were leading Rome, and these Etruscan kings eventually kicked out by the Romans. But at this time, in the sixth century, they were extremely important.
And it was under Etruscan supervision and patronage that a major temple began to be put up in Rome in the sixth century B.C.; precisely in 509. It was dedicated in the year 509 B.C., as you can see from the Monument List. The temple in question was the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus. Now that is a mouthful, and I don’t want you to have to necessarily remember all of that: Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus. So we will call this temple, for all intents and purposes, the Temple of Jupiter OMC, Jupiter OMC – Optimus Maximus Capitolinus. The Temple of Jupiter OMC was dedicated, again, in the year 509 B.C., and it was dedicated to Jupiter, but also to his female companions, Juno and Minerva. And when we think of those three, or when those three are joined together, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, they are known as the Capitoline Triad, because their main temple was on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.
And we will see the Capitoline Triad, not only honored in this temple, but in other temples. I showed you one on Tuesday in Pompeii, for example, the so-called Capitolium in Pompeii that honored Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. You’ll see that when a temple honors the three of them, it has implications for the architecture of that building, for the design of that building. We’ll talk about that right now, in a few minutes. But I want you to be aware of what the Capitoline Triad is. So it’s all three of them, honored together; although Jupiter is always considered supreme whenever those three get together.
So we have a temple here that we have to think of in large part as an Etruscan temple, put up during the time of the Etruscan kings, dedicated in 509, but one that is beginning to have the impact of Rome and will itself have a very strong impact on Roman temple architecture. And we’re going to focus quite heavily today on Roman temple architecture, and then of course return to it sporadically in the course of the semester, as we move through and look at other temples, like the Pantheon and like others that were put up in the Roman provinces. The Temple of Jupiter OMC was built on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, so one of the other major seven hills. So while the hill of the Palatine was basically the residential section of Rome at this juncture, the Capitoline Hill became its religious center where its main temple was placed. The Temple of Jupiter was located on the hill, at about the position of one of the palaces that’s there now.
We mentioned last time–and any of you who’ve been to Rome know this well–that the Capitoline Hill was redesigned in the Renaissance by none other than Michelangelo himself. It was Michelangelo who was responsible for creating the oval piazza that is at the center of the Capitoline Hill, which was then renamed the Campidoglio of Rome, and there are these three palaces, designed also by Michelangelo, the Capitoline, the Conservatori, and the Senatorial Palaces, that serve today as two museums, or a joined museum, one on either side, and a governmental building in the back. And you can see that very well here. So this is the Capitoline Hill as it looks today, as redesigned by Michelangelo. But in Roman times it was the location, or from the sixth century B.C. on, it was the location of the Temple of Jupiter OMC, the chief temple of ancient Rome, the most important temple of ancient Rome.
What did that temple look like? And again, this is extremely important, not only for it, but for the rest of Roman temple architecture over time. Believe it or not, we have quite a bit of evidence. It’s complicated by the fact that this temple burned down quite a number of times throughout its history. We know it was still standing, by the way, in the fourth century A.D., when it was described by a very famous writer. So it had a very long history. But it burned down several times and it was rebuilt several times, and each time it was rebuilt it obviously was rebuilt in a new style, whatever was au courant at that time. So it changed considerably. And nonetheless we do have quite a bit of information about it.
As far as we can tell, when it was put up in 509 B.C. it looked something like this. What you’re seeing here is a restored view and a plan of the temple in 509 B.C. And it’s never too soon in a course on architecture to learn how to read a plan and how to read a restored view or a so-called axonometric view. And I have put on–you probably haven’t had a chance to look yet–but I’ve put up on the website for this course, both under Announcements and also in the Online Forum section, a couple of sheets that I think will be very helpful to you, that have terms and concepts. It has different kinds of vaulting and different kinds of masonry, and also tells you the difference between an axonometric view and a plan, and so on and so forth. I really urge you to print those out, look through them. In the beginning of this semester we do have to spend a lot of time on what things are called, but once we do that for a couple of weeks, we’ll be done with it and you’ll know all the basic terms and we’ll be able to go on from there. But I think you’ll find those handouts extremely helpful.
So as we look at what we have here, I think you can see by looking at the plan that what we are dealing with here is a rectangular structure. The rectangular structure has a deep porch, and these circles are columns – so with freestanding columns in that porch. It has a single staircase at the front. Having a single staircase, rather than one that encircles the building, gives the building a focus; there’s a focus on the façade for this structure. You can also see that the back wall is plain; the back wall is plain. And the cella, c-e-l-l-a, which is the central space of the inside of a temple, is divided into three parts. So a tripartite cella. And why was there a tripartite cella? You know the answer, because there were three gods; there was Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the Capitoline Triad. Each one had his own little cella, with Jupiter obviously in the center, flanked by his two ladies, one on either side. So whenever you see a building with a triple cella, you’re going to know that’s a temple of the Capitoline Triad.
We can see from the outside of the structure, the restored view, that it had a quite tall podium. The podium was in fact thirteen feet tall – pretty significant, thirteen-foot tall podium right here. And here you also see again the single staircase in the front, the façade orientation, the deep porch, the freestanding columns in that porch, and the triple entranceway into the three cellas of the structure. So that’s the basic plan. Let me also mention the materials for the Temple of Jupiter OMC, in the sixth century B.C., because technology is important in any course on architecture. We know–and think back to what we already know about the huts–the building material used here was wood for the columns and the superstructure, just as we saw in the Palatine huts, wood for the columns and the superstructure. Mud-brick, not wattle and daub, but mud-brick for the podium and for the walls, and then the structure had quite a bit of decoration – you don’t see it here, but quite a bit of decoration, sculptural decoration, in ancient times, and this was made out of terracotta. So wood, mud-brick and terracotta were the materials used for this particular building.
Oh I meant to show you–sorry, let me just go back for a second. The reason that the other plan is on the screen, the one at the left, this is a plan of an Etruscan tomb, the Tomb of the Shields and Seats from Cerveteri, second half of the sixth century B.C., which is on your Monument List. I only bring it to your attention because it’s interesting that the Etruscans also divided the main space of that tomb into three spaces, three separate spaces, up at the top, tripartite, and also gave it a single staircase, which gave it a façade orientation. I just mention that because we’ll see that those, especially that focus on the façade, is an Etruscan element that is picked up by the Romans. Roman architecture is very much an architecture of facades, of the front of buildings, with a focus on the front of buildings, and I wanted to make sure that you knew that not only in temple architecture, but also in tomb architecture, under the Etruscans, that was an approach that they already took and that was adopted from them by the Romans. Another view also of the plan, just so that you can see it again straight up, with the focus on the façade, the single staircase, the deep porch, the freestanding columns in that porch, and then the tripartite division and the flat back wall.
Now I think it’s important at this juncture to make a distinction between the most important Etruscan temple, namely the Temple of Jupiter OMC–and you see a model of that here–and the most important Greek, ancient Greek temple, the Parthenon in Athens. The Parthenon in Athens dates, as you probably know, to the fifth century B.C., this to the sixth century B.C. So they are not exactly contemporary but roughly contemporary to one another. And as you look at this, I think you can see for yourselves, although I will point out, the major distinctions between the two. And this is going to be very, very important for today, for today’s lecture, but also in the future, because what we’re going to see is that the Romans – when the Romans began to build their own religious architecture, they looked back to what had been done by the Greeks and what had been done by the Etruscans. They picked and chose what they liked in each, and they brought that together in an entirely new creation. They mixed it up with their own culture, their own religion, brought it together, an entirely new creation, and created something distinctive that we know of as the Roman temple.
So what are the differences between the two? We’ve already talked about the main features of the Etruscan temple, but what are the main features of the Greek temple, of the Parthenon? I think you can see that while superficially they look alike, they have columns that support a triangular pediment and so on and so forth, the major differences are–and you can’t see all of those here–but the major differences are that instead of sitting on a high podium, Greek temples sit on a much lower podium. They have a staircase that encircles the entire building; no façade orientation there, no single staircase on the front. The stairs encircle the entire building, as you can kind of see here, and there is a single cella–they never used a triple cella, as we see in the Capitoline temple. And the major difference between the two perhaps is the fact that this building is built out of stone, out of marble. The Greek building is built out of marble. The Greeks are using marble magnificently in the fifth century B.C., and even before that. So no ordinary old wood columns and mud-brick for them, they were using marble. So when we begin to see the Romans–and we’ll see that today–using stone for their temple architecture, they are doing that under the very strong influence of Greece, and that’s extremely important in any assessment of early Roman religious architecture.
Another view, and it’s one that you have also on your Monument List, showing the Capitoline Hill in Roman times, showing you the situation of the Temple of Jupiter OMC in relationship to the other buildings that were up on top of the Capitoline Hill; mostly religious structures, but I just wanted you to see it did not stand alone. Not all of these were built in the sixth century B.C. already, but over time, an accretion of other buildings. Here you actually see the temple in a somewhat later version, because, as I mentioned, it burned down and it was rebuilt many, many times. But you also can see here–this is just useful in terms of Roman religious practice–the altar is located not inside the temple but outside; the religious service actually took place outside. The priest would officiate outside the temple, and in fact very few were allowed to go inside to see the sacred cult statues – that was pretty much left for the priest and the priesthood.
Just again to underscore the importance of Google Earth, for anyone who was not here on Tuesday, I mentioned at that time that you cannot only go and fly over Rome as it looks today via Google Earth, but they have just recently, in the last few months, introduced an ancient Rome version. So you can go, and you click the right button, you click your mouse in such a way, you can find that the whole city will be completely recreated into the ancient city. And I just wanted you–it’s much more abstract, but nonetheless it gives you a sense of what many of these buildings looked like in ancient Roman times. And this is a screenshot of the Capitoline Hill, as it appears in the Google ancient Rome version of Rome. You can’t do this for the other cities at this juncture, just for the city of Rome. But it’s great fun to do, and also very informative.
Now what is actually left of the temple? We’ve looked at the Campidoglio; we see Michelangelo’s buildings are up there now. What is actually left of the Temple of Jupiter OMC? Well you’re looking at it right here. It’s the podium of the temple – still survives – that thirteen foot tall podium of the Temple of Jupiter. We think this is a quite early podium, maybe not as early as the sixth century B.C., but a very early podium from the temple upon which the structure was built. You can get a sense of the height of these things. And again a characteristic of Etruscan temple architecture, and as we shall see of most Roman temple architecture, is to have a very high podium. We can see that podium here and we can see how it is made technically. You can see it is made up of a series of rectangular blocks that are placed one next to one another and on top of one another. This is technically called ashlar masonry, a-s-h-l-a-r, ashlar masonry, to build a wall with these kinds of rectangular blocks piled one on top of another. It’s tufa stone in this particular case once again, which was natural, a tufa stone natural to Rome, t-u-f-a. And this ashlar masonry; again, a building technique that was particularly popular in the fifth and fourth and third centuries B.C. in Rome.
Chapter 3. Defensive Stone Walls and Regular Town Planning [00:27:37]
Now what went up after the Temple of Jupiter OMC in Rome? Quite a bit. This was a very inspiring project, a very major project, and obviously it spawned a lot of other building projects in the city. Very few of those survive–I can’t show you much else from this particular period–and this is for a variety of reasons. It has to do in part with those fires that I mentioned. A lot of things burned and no longer survive. It has to do with something I mentioned also on Tuesday, and that is that some of these buildings became quarries in later times, with later patrons and architects using them as a source of stone that could be used in later structures. So many of them were dismantled to be used for other buildings. And also any city that is inhabited, as Rome has been, for two-and-a-half millennia, is obviously going to lose a certain amount of its structures over time. They’re going to be torn down, they’re going to be rebuilt, they’re going to be incorporated into other buildings. Some of those that have survived best are those that were actually incorporated into other buildings. And indeed, that’s what happened here. The wall was incorporated into something else and built on top of, and that’s why it still survives.
So we don’t have all that much again besides this. But even if we had, whatever was standing in the fifth and fourth centuries, or early fourth century B.C., would have been destroyed in the year 386. Because in the year 386 B.C., a group of tribes, the Gallic tribes, the Gauls, came down, from the north. They destroyed everything in their path. They did a lot of damage to the Etruscan settlements around Florence and so on. They destroyed those. They came into Rome and they set the city of Rome ablaze. And when the smoke cleared, and it did eventually clear, the only building that was still standing was the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus. That’s how much destruction there was. And so there’s very little else that we can look at from this particular period. What the sack of the Gauls did was also convince the Romans that they had not protected their city well enough. Right? They were completely exposed, and the entire city was burned, except for that one temple. So they realized that they better get smart and they better start to wall their cities, to begin to put protective walls around the perimeter of those cities. And we see a great efflorescence of wall building therefore after the sack of 386 B.C.
And I want to turn to that wall construction right now. I want to begin with the most important wall that was put up in the fourth century B.C., right after the Gallic sack, and this was the wall around Rome itself. Rome was encircled with a stone circuit; a stone circuit that went around the entire seven hills, the famous Seven Hills of Rome, enclosing it in this stone circuit. And fortunately some parts of that wall are still preserved today. And I show you the most extensive section here. This is called the Servian Walls–you can see this on your Monument List–Servian Walls in Rome – dates to 378 B.C., right after the sack, not long after the sack, 378 B.C. And some extensive sections of that wall are preserved. The most extensive is the section near Rome’s main train station, the Stazione Termini. You can see the Stazione–a modern building–you can see the Stazione Termini in the upper right corner. And here is a view of this extensive section of the Servian Walls in Rome.
The Romans didn’t want to take any chances. They decided, even though their tufa was pretty good, they decided they wanted to use the finest tufa possible, and so they brought it in from the Etruscan city of Veii, V-e-i-i. Veii was a famous and important Etruscan city, that the Romans had just made their own. So it was a perfect source for them of outstanding building materials, and they brought in an imported yellowish tufa, from the Etruscan town of Veii, to use for this very significant, very important wall that was going to protect them from this time forth. And you see that wall again here. It is very weathered; even though it still stands, it’s very weathered. So the stones don’t look as expertly carved as they would’ve been in ancient Roman times.
And what you can–it’s hard to see here, and I’ll show you better in a different wall shortly, but what it’s hard to see is the system of what are called headers and stretchers; headers and stretchers that they used for this wall. What a header is, you take the same size rectangular block, but when you put the short side out, facing out, that’s a header, and when you put the long side of the rectangle facing out, that’s a stretcher. So it was an alternating headers and stretchers. Again, I’ll show you that better in another wall momentarily, but use of headers and stretchers here. And we can also see that the blocks are quite regular. We are dealing with what we call ashlar masonry, once again, the same kind of construction, this placement of these fairly regular blocks, one next to one another and one on top of one another, ashlar masonry. In Latin the term is opus, o-p-u-s, quadratum, q-u-a-d-r-a-t-u-m: opus quadratum. So you can call this either ashlar masonry or opus quadratum: squared work. The same sort of thing as we saw in the podium of Jupiter OMC, being used for the Servian Walls in Rome, in 378.
I showed you last time this section of the Servian Walls. Here you can get a much better sense of the coloration of that yellowish tufa from Veii. This is also very weathered, so it’s hard to see the headers and stretchers, but it’s another section of wall–just in case any of you are going to Rome anytime soon–that one can see on the Aventine Hill, which is a beautiful residential hill in Rome, one of the most lovely places to wander in the entire city. You will come across another section–you never know when little pieces of antiquity will crop up. They come up in the most unusual places as one wanders the city, which is one of the reasons it’s such a fascinating place to visit.
Now the Romans realized–what was going on at the same time is the Romans were beginning to extensively colonize–well they had these imperialistic ambitions. They wanted to colonize the world, but they began with the places closest to them, and they began to build extensive colonies in Italy, especially in an area very close to the city of Rome itself. And they recognized, as they began to build, what I mentioned to you last time I like to call mini-Romes, because these are little cities in the version of the capital city itself. As they began to build these mini-Romes, they recognized that these mini-Romes also needed security, also needed to be protected by walls that were comparable to the Servian Walls. So we see this great efflorescence, not only of colonization, but also of wall building in the period following the sack and the period following the construction of Rome’s own Servian Walls. And I want to show you a few examples of that.
This is a map that was custom-made for this course. You can find it on the web portal, and I think you’ll find it very useful, because what I’ve done here obviously is focus on–I don’t clutter it up with a lot of places we’re not looking at–I focus on the towns that we are actually going to be looking at buildings in. So I think you’ll find it extremely helpful. Rome is here at the star. You can actually click on the map and that will take you to a map of Rome itself. But we see the star where Rome is, and the towns that I’m going to take you to, that have walls, are the city of Cosa, the town, the village really at that time, of Cosa; the town of Norba, that you see over here; and the town of Falerii Novi. But I wanted to show you the map, because you see how close, how proximate they are to the city of Rome itself. I’m going to show you these fairly rapidly, just to give you a sense again of the kind of wall construction that was going on in the colonies, in the Italian colonies, at this time.
This is–we’ll look first at the city walls of the town of Norba. And you can see from the Monument List that dates to the second half of the fourth century B.C. And as you look at these walls, these are not done out of tufa but a local stone to Norba, more grayish in color, as you can see here. But you can tell me yourselves right off, that’s not opus quadratum, that’s not ashlar masonry. The blocks are not rectangular and they’re not that even; in fact, they’re multi-sided blocks, some of them are polygonal blocks. And we technically call this polygonal masonry. And they’ve taken these multi-sided blocks, piled them up, in a very interesting way, to create a very handsome wall–I like this wall a lot myself–a very handsome wall to encircle the town of Norba. So polygonal masonry in this particular instance. And we see the same use of polygonal masonry at the town of Cosa, which is north of Norba, as you’ll remember from the custom map, the town of Cosa. The walls date to 273 B.C. at Cosa, and you see glimpses of them here. And I think you can see once again a grayish stone used for these walls, and you can see that the construction is once again polygonal masonry.
The pièce de résistance, the greatest masterwork of Roman wall design in this early period is the wall that you see here. This is the wall at Falerii Novi. Falerii Novi was founded as a colony in 241 B.C., and the walls were put up sometime between 241 and 200 B.C. And we see them here, and you can see that the wall also had a quite spectacular, at least for its date, quite spectacular gate. Now if we look at the walls first–actually, first of all I want to point out that they have chosen to use two different kinds of materials here, as is immediately apparent as you look at this color view. They chose to use a grey peperino stone, p-e-p-e-r-i-n-o, a grey peperino stone, from the Alban Hills, for the arch of the gateway, and to use a reddish-brown tufa for the walls themselves. A reddish-brown tufa, peperino, grey peperino stone, from the Alban Hills. So they were very careful about their selection of materials, in part to emphasize this distinction in texture and in color. If you look at the wall you can see we’re dealing here clearly with ashlar masonry, with opus quadratrum, and here you can see much more clearly, than any of the other walls I’ve shown you because they’re so well preserved, the headers and the stretchers, the alternating square and rectangular blocks, the scheme of headers and stretchers that is used for this wall.
The most important part, of course, is the arch, the stone arch. It’s a masonry arch, as you can see. It’s not the earliest arch in Roman architecture, but it’s one of the earliest. It has been amazingly done, I think quite masterfully done. If you look at it, you will see that what the designer has achieved is to take a series of wedge-shaped blocks. These are called voussoir blocks–I put that word on the Monument List for you–voussoir blocks, these wedge-shaped blocks, and has carved them in such a way that each one fits very effectively and very well into the overall scheme. They’re wedged in next to one another. In fact, as you gaze at it, you kind of think: “Gee, I wonder if any of those blocks are going to fall out from where they are?” But they don’t because they’re wedged in so closely, next to one another. And then they have finished the line of the arch very nicely so that it has a very attractive appearance, and because it is done in a different stone it stands out extremely well from the rest of the wall. This is really again a masterful treatment, in my opinion, of a wall at this particular time, with the wonderful addition of the arch.
And I think we begin to see–we talked last time about how important making of arches and vaults and especially the use of concrete–although here we see a stone arch, clearly a stone arch. But we’re going to see that the capacity of the arch to be used for expressive purposes in architecture is capitalized on by the Romans. And I wanted you to be aware–this is not only important as a wall of this period but important in the way that it’s prescient of what’s to come with regard to the way in which the Romans are going to start to deploy the arch in extraordinarily creative and innovative ways in Roman architecture. It all begins here. The wall and gate of Falerii Novi stand at the beginning of this incredible development in Roman architecture.
I want to say something very, very quickly about town planning during this period, because just as I mentioned, Romans were colonizing towns in Italy and they were putting walls around them, but they were also beginning to think about how they thought about city construction in general, or the making of urban spaces and places during this particular period. So I just want to show you fleetingly two examples. The town of Cosa, of which we’ve already looked at the walls, dating to the third century B.C. And it’s worth noting that it was again after the sack of 386 that this explosion of town building really began. As we look at the town plan of Cosa, you can see that it is encircled by the wall that we looked at just before, and you can also see it’s roughly regular in shape, roughly kind of a square. As you can see here, there are gates in the walls, and then there is a scheme of streets that is comparable to what I mentioned last time was typical for an ideal Roman city plan, and that is the two main streets, the cardo and the decumanus of the city. The cardo being the north-south main street, and the decumanus being the east-west street, and them intersecting very close to the center of the city. And it’s usually very close to that same center that you find the forum, or a great open space, meeting and marketplace of the city, as well as a host of other buildings: basilica, market, and so on. And then, on the highest hill of the town of Cosa, a Capitolium, a temple to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, on that highest spot, the most important religious structure of that town. That’s the town of Cosa.
And then the other more important one is the town of Ostia, the port of Rome, the town of Ostia which was first founded in 350 B.C., and it was at that time a military camp or castrum was–c-a-s-t-r-u-m–a castrum was laid out there. And you can see a plan of that castrum. You see the dark dotted lines here is the original plan of Ostia, 350 B.C. All the rest that you see around it is the city as it grew into the second century A.D., when it had its efflorescence. So we see the original city here. And you can see it is perfectly regular. And I mentioned to you last time that this is very different from what happened in Rome. Rome grew in a very haphazard way over the centuries. There was never any real attempt to plan the city.
But when the Romans were left to build the kind of ideal city, the city that they thought was the ideal Roman city, they almost always built it in a very regular fashion, as a square or as a rectangle, as regular as they could make it, and it varied depending upon the terrain. If there were a lot of hills and so on, it might end up with a somewhat more irregular shape. But here you see it at its most regular, planned like a castrum or a military camp, rectangular with the two main streets, the cardo, the north-south street, the decumanus, the east-west street, crossing exactly at the center of the city. And then what’s located there? The forum of the city, the great open meeting and marketplace, and then all the other major buildings deployed around that, and then, of course, the residential structures and the shops interspersed among those, in this typical Roman town plan of the fourth century B.C.
Chapter 4. The Hellenization of Late Republican Temple Architecture [00:45:06]
I want to spend the rest of today’s lecture on the three most important buildings, in a sense, that I’m going to show you today, vis-à-vis the development of Roman religious architecture, specifically temple architecture. And I think I’m going to actually call for your help. You’ve learned a lot already and I think you now know enough to help me along a little bit here on sorting out some of these temples. One of them is located in Rome and the other two are located outside of Rome. I’ll show you the map again in a second so that you can see where those other two are. But I’m going to begin with the one in Rome, which takes me back to Google Earth here, to show you the situation of the so-called Temple of Portunus in Rome, that dates to, we believe, sometime–it was put up sometime between 120 and 80 B.C. in Rome.
You’re going to get so good at this that you’re going to be able to point all these places out, without me. But we’re looking back again over–this is the Palatine Hill. We’re looking at a slightly different angle, Palatine Hill over here. The very edge of the Colosseum you can see in the upper left. The great Via dei Fori Imperiali of Mussolini over here. The Imperial Fora here. The wedding cake of Victor Emmanuel, the Vittoriano, that I showed you last time, over here – the more modern building. The Capitoline Hill. You can see the oval piazza of Michelangelo right here. And the Circus Maximus over here. And for any of you who’ve been to Rome, the Isola Tiberina, that wonderful little island that one can cross the bridge to get to, in Rome, down here. So here’s the Tiber River, looking nasty as it usually does. It’s very green and not the sort of place you’d want to take a swim in, as you can well imagine. But you see the Tiber River here. And if you look very closely, you will see two temples. This is a round temple, which has a very uninventive–it’s called today, very uninventively, the Round Temple by the Tiber, the Round Temple by the Tiber for obvious reasons. And then here a rectangular temple that looks like it has a red roof because it’s been undergoing reconstruction and restoration recently. You see that here.
This is the Temple of Portunus. So you can see, in conjunction to another temple, it was built very close to the river, to the Tiber River. Now let’s look at the plan together of the Temple of Portunus. Based on your understanding now of typical Etruscan religious architecture, typical Greek religious architecture, what would you say about this plan? Is this more like an Etruscan temple or more like a Greek temple? I can’t remember if I–I think I forgot to mention, with regard to the Parthenon, that not only does the typical Greek temple of the fifth century B.C. have a staircase that encircles the entire monument, it has a colonnade, a freestanding colonnade, that encircles the entire monument, and that’s called a peripteral, p-e-r-i-p-t-e-r-a-l, a peripteral colonnade. So based on what you know about the Temple of Jupiter OMC and the Parthenon in Athens, does this plan–in plan, when we look at this building–does this look more like an Etruscan plan or like a Greek plan? Okay Mr. Roma.
Student: I’d say it’s more of a combination.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Good.
Student: With the peripteral colonnade and also the –
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: All right, all right. Okay. Yes. It looks like it might be a combination. Give me what the Etruscan characteristics are first.
Student: Well I think the Etruscan would be the single staircase, of course, and also the three entrances; so you’ve got a triad maybe.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: All right. The single staircase, absolutely, which gives it a façade orientation. Is there a triple entranceway? There are spaces between the columns. These are columns here.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: But look at the cella.
Student: Over there the cella’s a single cella.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: The cella’s a single cella. So this is not a Capitolium. But there are spaces, you’re right, between the columns. So take us a little further with the columns. You can see the columns in a deep porch, deep porch, freestanding; columns in the front are freestanding. So façade orientation, single staircase, deep porch, freestanding columns in that porch, in this case a single cella–those are all Etruscan characteristics. So it looks as if we are dealing here essentially with an Etruscan plan. But you’re right–what’s your name?
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Neil was right, however, that this is a combination in that there are columns that go around the monument. But is it a peripteral colonnade?
Student: Probably not.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Probably not. Why not? Because what’s different about these columns? You can see it in plan. They go all the way around but–
Student: They’re not freestanding.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: They’re not freestanding. They’re attached or engaged into the wall. They’re attached to the wall. What do we call that? We call that a pseudo-peripteral colonnade. So yes, it kind of looks like it goes around, but it doesn’t really because it’s attached into the wall and it kind of gives that sense of flatness that we got in the Etruscan temple. So you were absolutely on the mark. It’s a combination of the two. And that is exactly what we see coming together at this particular time in Roman temple architecture, this wonderful way in which the Romans have looked at Etruscan precedents, they’ve looked at Greek precedents. They decide what they like. They mix it up, as I said before, in a way in which it best represents their own culture, their own religion, and create something that we’re going to see becomes distinctively Roman.
The building is very well preserved, so we can go on to actually look at it. Here it is. It stands in almost pristine shape in Rome today, right near the Tiber River, as I mentioned. A wonderful temple in which we see some of those features that Neil has already pointed to, and that is the façade orientation, the single staircase, the deep porch, the freestanding columns in that porch. From a distance it does indeed look peripteral. It looks like there are columns all the way around. But as you look closely you will see that the columns are indeed attached to the wall, on the side, and around the other side. Now that you see the actual view, there are some other things that give this away, as a temple that has clearly also been built under very strong Greek influence. And what are those?
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Stone – yes absolutely. This is not made–this is not a wooden, mud-brick, terracotta temple. This is a temple that is made out of stone. It’s not made out of marble, it’s made out of travertine. It has travertine, t-r-a-v-e-r-t-i-n-e. Travertine is an Italian stone brought from or quarried at [the] town of Tivoli, T-i-v-o-l-i, which we’ll talk about a lot in the course of this semester. Travertine brought–Tivoli’s about an hour’s high-speed drive today from Rome, obviously longer in antiquity, but it’s fairly proximate to Rome. So this wonderful stone, travertine, from Tivoli, brought to serve as a facing for the podium, and for the columns, used in the columns. So it is essentially a stone structure. We’ll see that the walls are made of tufa, but those walls were stuccoed over with white stucco, so that the impression that you would’ve gotten, if you were in ancient times when this was in more pristine condition, was that you were looking at a white marble temple, which would’ve certainly conjured up the idea that you were looking at a temple that was made à la Greque; that was made in the Greek style. Anything else that gives away the influence of Greek architecture? Do any of you know your orders?
Student: Ionic order columns.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Ionic order. Good; I-o-n-i-c, Ionic. The three major–and you’ll find this in your Terms and Concepts. So bone up on those there. The Doric, the Ionic and the Corinthian, and we’ll look at all of them today. The Ionic order, what characterizes the Ionic order are these what are called spiral volutes, v-o-l-u-t-e-s; spiral volutes. And you can see those here. This is a typical Ionic column clearly made–we don’t see the Etruscans using this–clearly made under the influence, the very strong influence, of Greek architecture, Greek temple architecture. Here’s a view of the Temple of Portunus, from the side, and from the rear. We once again see the way those columns encircle the structure but are engaged into the wall. You can also see the blocks of tufa stone, ashlar blocks, just as we saw them in the walls, of tufa stone used here. And you can get some sense there’re some remains of some of the stucco that was stuccoed over in white, so that from a distance, at least, you would have the impression that the whole building was made out of stone. And even stone–you might even be fooled into thinking it wasn’t travertine, it was marble, if you were far enough away.
I also need to mention something very important for the future of Roman architecture, and that is that concrete construction was used in the podium. You don’t see it. It was only used inside the podium. The reason it was used inside the podium is concrete is very strong. It can sustain great weight and the Romans recognized very early on that they could use it in utilitarian ways to help support buildings. At this particular time the concrete was made up of rubble and liquid mortar and a kind of a dash of volcanic dust, and they brought all of that together to create a material that could sustain great weight. So they used it here for utilitarian purposes. But we’re going to see already next Tuesday the Romans beginning to take advantage of concrete for very expressive purposes – and how well they do it – which culminates ultimately, obviously, in buildings like the Pantheon and its incredible dome.
Here’s a detail of the Ionic capitals of the Temple of Portunus. You can also see this building has, as it would have if it were made in Greece, what’s called an Ionic frieze; an Ionic frieze, which if you look very carefully, there’s some remains of the candelabra and the garlands that hung from those candelabra in the original design of this temple. I also think it’s interesting to look–here’s a view again of the Temple of Portunus as it looks today. This is a nineteenth-century painting of the Temple of Portunus, as it looked at the time it was done, by that artist. And what you see is something that I have already alluded to, but which is extremely important for the preservation of buildings like this. And that is that this building, the Temple of Portunus, like so many in Rome, was reused in later times and transformed into something else, and it is probably only because it was transformed into something else that it’s survived as well as it did. Because you can see that what happened is that they walled in the front. They gave it a real façade, a doorway, three windows, a medallion with the Madonna, a cross, at the top, a bell tower, and they turned it into a church.
And because it was an active church it was kept in good shape. You can see those Ionic capitals and the frieze with the garlands and so on, of the Temple of Portunus. And you can also see the Round Temple, by the way, which still does stand also, over here, right near it, near the Tiber River. So this is the reason that we are fortunate that the Temple of Portunus survives. And it does survive, in large part, because again it was transformed into a church in later times. And this is one of the fascinations of Rome, by the way; you never know–so many churches mask earlier buildings. There’s one right near, not too far from these, where you can actually see three Roman temples that stood side by side were incorporated into the Church of San Nicola in Carcere. And you can actually see the remains of all three of those temples used in that church. And it’s one of the fascinations, obviously, of wandering around the city of Rome.
The other two temples that I want to show you today–we’re looking back at the map of this particular area–are located at Cori, and you can see the proximity of Cori, not just to Rome, but also to Ostia, right here. The city of Cori and the city of Tivoli. And now you see Tivoli from where travertine comes; the location of Tivoli in relationship again to Rome. It’s not very far, which is why the building material was so easily transportable from Tivoli to Rome. Let’s look first at Cori. Cori is one of those incredibly–those of you who have traveled around Italy, outside of Rome, around Italy, know that one of the glories of traveling in Italy is to go into some of these medieval hill towns. You go into these places and you–whether by car or by bus or cab–you make your way up to the very peak of that hill town. It’s very picturesque, and then ultimately you get to the top and you stand up there and you get this incredible panorama over the city and over the landscape.
That’s the kind of place Cori is. It’s a medieval hill town. But leave it to the Romans–and they had a knack for doing this wherever they went–they found the best location in Cori for their temple. And this temple is located almost at the very peak of the hill of Cori, and you have to drive all the way up to see the temple, the so-called Temple of Hercules at Cori. We don’t really know if this was put up to Hercules, but it’s been called the Temple of Hercules for a long time. So we continue to call it that. And you see it here in plan, in restored view, with its little complex in front, and then the temple as it looks today.
So looking at this one, then we can see again that we are dealing with an Etruscan plan, with freestanding columns in the porch. You can’t see it here, but you can up there. It does have a single staircase. It’s a kind of pyramidal staircase. It has a side as well as a front – or sides as well as fronts. But you can see it does not go all the way around, as a Greek staircase would have. It’s focused on the front. So we once again have this idea of single staircase on the front; façade orientation of the temple; deep porch; freestanding columns in that porch; single cella, in this case. Now, Neil, what happens when you go around in this one?
Student: Is that for this one?
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: Yes.
Student: Well there’s no columns around on this one.
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: There are no columns. There are no columns. It’s not a peripteral colonnade. It’s not a pseudo-peripteral because it doesn’t have–but what is this? They look sort of like flat columns. They’re what are called pilasters, p-i-l-a-s-t-e-r-s, pilasters, which are essentially flat columns. So it does have some articulation–you can see them up there–there is articulation, but it’s been flattened out still further. So once again an Etruscan plan with some nod to Greece, in the sense that there’s a recognition – we’ve got to have something that goes around here. But, they don’t want to take it out, they don’t want to use an actual column, and they flatten it out, as you can see so well here. Now again, anyone who knows your orders, what Greek order is used here in this building? Yes?
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: The Doric, the Doric order. The simplest and most severe order is used here, the Greek Doric order, and the system of Greek triglyphs and metopes; triglyphs and metopes. I’ll show you a detail in a moment and I’ll explain what those are. So the Greek Doric order, triglyphs and metopes, for this temple. And one thing we couldn’t see in that plan is the high podium. So that’s another Etruscan feature. So once again we see this very interesting and very eclectic bringing together of Etruscan elements and Greek elements in what we can call early Roman temple architecture.
Here’s another detail of the Temple at Cori. You can get a–I took this on a very grey day so you don’t get the sense of the glory of what it can look like up there. But you get some sense of its situation, right at the edge, with a spectacular–on a beautiful day–a spectacular panorama of the mountains, the other mountains in this area, and of the hill town itself. And here we can see the Doric order better; very simple, with the so-called triglyphs and metopes; t-r-i-g-l-y-p-h and m-e-t-o-p-e-s, triglyphs and metopes. Triglyphs are triple striated bands. And you can see them up there, the triple striated bands, and in between them square panels. So this alteration of triple striated bands, the triglyphs, and the square panels, the metopes, which is typical of the Doric order, the Greek Doric order. You see it in the Parthenon, for example, and it has been taken over here by the Romans.
You also see something very interesting about Roman building practice here, because if you look at the columns, you’ll see that the upper part of the columns are what is called fluted, fluted – they have striations in them. But they’re not fluted at the bottom. You can see it stops right here, the fluting stops here and the bottom is plain. What’s the reason for that? Well we know that even in Greek Hellenistic times, that approach was taken, and we believe it was done for two reasons. One: practical purposes. Why are there no flutes at the bottom? Because people are more likely to lean up against the columns, at the bottom, than they are obviously at the top, and when people lean up against columns, the flutes start to break off. So they decided not to flute the bottom. But it may have been also for decorative reasons, because we’ll see, when we get to Pompeii, in the very near future, that there are many columns at Pompeii that have fluting at the top, painted white, and then the bottom, the plain bottom, painted red, for reasons of taste and decoration. And it’s very possible–we do know that ancient–I don’t want to destroy any illusions here–but ancient buildings were very often painted, and ancient sculpture was always painted. So these might’ve been a lot more garish looking in ancient times than they are today, which might also have taken away from this sense of having a marble building. So that’s something that we probably should keep in mind as we evaluate these structures.
Chapter 5. The Advent of the Corinthian Order [01:03:20]
The last one I want to show you today is the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli – also beautifully situated. It’s a temple that dates to 80 B.C. Also probably not a Temple of Vesta, but it’s a round temple, and temples of Vesta were often round. So it’s tended to be called by scholars a Temple of Vesta – in 80 B.C. Again, beautifully situated out over a particularly verdant area of Tivoli, where you can look down and around this beautiful area. There’s a waterfall very nearby. It’s just magnificent, and you can see it’s not surprising that some enterprising family decided to build the Sibilla Restaurant right here, and there’s a patio on which one can go and eat under umbrellas, and so on and so forth, here.
Here’s the temple, the ancient temple of 80 B.C. And once again we look at a plan over here. And I also show you a view of the so-called Temple of Venus from Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, just to make the point that this is as Greek as we’ve gotten thus far, in the sense that the Greeks really loved round temples. They built them a lot. There was a very famous Temple of Venus, in their case Aphrodite, on the island of Knidos, and that Temple of Venus on the island of Knidos is the one that was duplicated by Hadrian for his villa; and we’ll talk about this later in the semester. But I show the one at Hadrian’s villa because it gives you a very good sense of what this structure was like in ancient Greek times as well, because we think it’s a replica. A round structure; freestanding columns encircling the entire building, low podium, a staircase around that podium that encircled the entire building, and then a Temple of Venus in the center.
When we look at the plan of this structure we will see it’s pretty close. It’s round. It has columns that are freestanding, that encircle the entire structure. But it has a higher podium, as we’re going to see, and even though it’s circular, they’ve given it a staircase on one side, which gives it–even a round temple, which you think of as something you just keep circling, has a kind of façade orientation, in this instance. So they are applying some of these Etruscan characteristics to an almost pure Greek type. Here’s a view, it’s very well preserved, a view of the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, as it looks today. And what order is this?
Professor Diana E. E. Kleiner: The Corinthian order; the Corinthian, the last of the three great Greek orders. The Corinthian order, which is very ornate and which I’ll describe in a moment. We see it here, supporting a frieze once again, in this case a frieze with garlands and libation dishes. We can see here also it is a very tall podium; so an imposition of an Etruscan element on this structure. Greek orders. The building is made out of stone. The columns and the facing of the base are made out of stone, in this case travertine once again. Travertine again was quarried right next door – this is Tivoli, right there. And you can see the travertine detailing on the doorway and on the windows as well.
But what you see here that we haven’t seen before–remember I talked about the use of concrete in the podium of the Temple of Portunus in Rome–here we see concrete used for the wall of the cella. If the Greeks had put up this building, they would’ve made the walls of the cella out of stone and they would’ve cut those stones very carefully to create the kind of curvature that was needed. But the Romans were getting really smart, in terms of making things easier for themselves. They realized it was going to be a lot easier to build a round structure with concrete than it was to have to carve all those stones in just those shapes. So they have used concrete here for the cella. We still could argue this is a utilitarian purpose, but at the same time I think it’s beginning to demonstrate to us the expressive possibilities of concrete.
And we also see, if you look very carefully, the way in which–we’ll talk much more about this next week–but concrete, in order to make concrete impermeable to water and so and so forth, you have to face it with something. And they faced it with very small stones of irregular shape, which we call uncertain work, or opus incertum, -o-p-u-s i-n-c-e-r-t-u-m, opus incertum, which is put into the concrete while it is still wet, to give it the ability to withstand water but also to give it an attractive stone-like appearance. And you can see that opus incertum work used here. Here’s a detail of the wall, where you can see its curvature and also see that opus incertum work.
And here is a detail of the capitals, the Corinthian capitals that are used here. What’s characteristic of Corinthian capitals is that they have, like the Ionic, they have volutes, these spiral volutes, but they are much smaller and much more delicate, and they are in a sense incorporated into the flowering plant. This is called an acanthus plant, a-c-a-n-t-h-u-s. Acanthus plants grow all over Italy. You see them everywhere. So they are just copying a plant that is indigenous to Italy. They use those acanthus leaves, that seem to grow out of the column, to incorporate the spirals, and there’s always a prominent central flower that is also part of this motif.
It’s important to note, at the beginning, that while the Greeks used the Doric and the Ionic order almost exclusively, the Greeks did invent the Corinthian order. They used it in very late Hellenistic times, but quite infrequently. The Romans use all three but we are going to see very quickly that they decide pretty early on that the Corinthian capital is their capital, and almost every building–we’ll see some exceptions–but almost every building we’ll see in the course of the semester uses the Corinthian capital.
Why did they take to the Corinthian capital in particular? This is something we can think about in the course of this semester and debate. I think it has to do probably with two major reasons. One: it was particularly decorative, very highly decorative, more so than the others. But maybe even more important than that is the fact that the Corinthian capital, at least in my opinion, looks the best from the most vantage points, because it’s pretty much the same all the way around. The Doric is pretty severe. The Ionic looks best from certain angles where you can really see the volutes well, less well from other angles. But this looks pretty much the same wherever you see it. So it’s a very flexible and easy to use capital type. We see also here–I referred to this last time but I want to describe it for you just in a second–we see here the coffering, c-o-f-f-e-r-i-n-g, the coffering of the ceiling, which is basically placing a series of receding square elements there, to give a sense of depth in the ceiling. And then in the center you see these flowers that match up nicely with those in the Corinthian capitals, which are called rosettes, r-o-s-e-t-t-e-s; and we’ll see coffering and the use of rosettes quite extensively in Roman architecture.
I mentioned the restaurant. The Sibilla used to be a horrendous restaurant. When I started taking pictures of Roman buildings I guess I was a little more timid than I am today. So I always thought, “Well gee, if I’m going to go into the terrace and want to take a picture of the temple, I’m kind of going to have to eat there.” I would never do that now, but I did that at one point, and I made the mistake of eating in this restaurant twice, and I never went back again. But when I went just a couple of years ago to see the temple once again, I saw that they had really–some new owners must have come along. They’ve really expanded the restaurant and it looks very pretty now, and this is the terrace on which one can eat. I haven’t tried it but I might actually, next time I go.
I want to just end with a couple of remarks. One is that one of the interesting things is that, although the temples that we talked about today were in part made out of stone, in all cases travertine, we do know that already in the year 146 B.C.–so earlier than a couple of the temples we looked at just now–in 146 B.C. the Romans had already put up another temple to Jupiter, near the Tiber River, that was made entirely of marble, entirely of marble. So they were already beginning to think, not just of their own local stone or stones that were from local, close places in Italy, but imported marble. And so I want you to know that so that we can talk about it in the future. And we also know that in 142, the ceiling of the Temple of Jupiter OMC was gilded, and we also know that not long after that they re-paved the Temple of Jupiter OMC and gave it multi-colored stone.
So what this is telling us is a lot of people in Rome were beginning to think of temples that were more ornate than anything that had come before. There are some very conservative individuals, who did some writing at this particular time, who bemoaned the fact that the Romans had moved away from the Etruscan temples made out of wood and mud-brick and so on, and were becoming too ostentatious in their taste. But I think these new Greek style temples were definitely here to stay. And I just wanted to end up with a quote from Cicero. After one of these fires, these fires that so often raged in Rome, the Great Fire of 83 B.C., Cicero talks about the rebuilding, still again, of the Temple of Jupiter OMC. And I quote from Cicero when he says: “Let us feel that conflagration to have been the will of heaven and its purpose not to destroy the temple of Almighty Jupiter, but to demand of us one more splendid and magnificent.”
What did that mean? More Greek, more Greek-looking, more marble. And–the last comment I’m going to make is–to make the Temple of Jupiter OMC even more magnificent. The Roman general Sulla, who was sacking Athens at this particular time, goes into Athens, and after he sacks it, takes it over, conquers it, he goes up to the biggest temple in town, the Temple of Olympian Zeus–Zeus, the Greek counterpart of Jupiter–and he takes some of the columns, actually steals some of the columns from that temple, has them shipped back to Rome, and he incorporates them into the Temple of Jupiter OMC, on the Capitoline Hill. These columns–my last point–these columns were fifty-five and one-half feet tall, and they were made of solid marble. So that gives you some sense of the objectives of the Romans vis-à-vis temple building in the first century B.C. Thank you.
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