Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/404

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
ROMAN]
383
ARCHITECTURE
Falerii), at Luna, Telamon and Lanuvium (the latter in the British Museum), show that in their modelling and colour they must have possessed considerable decorative effect, and when raised on an eminence, as in the case of the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, formed striking features of importance, enriched as they were with gilding. There is one feature in the Etruscan examples which seems to have been peculiar to their temples, viz. the pendant slabs hung round the eaves to protect the walls; these latter were probably covered with stucco and decorated with paintings. The lower portions of many of these slabs were decorated in relief and in colour at the back, showing that they were exposed to view below the soffit of the projecting eaves.


1911 Britannica-Architecture-Corneto.png

Fig. 25.—The Corneto Tomb.


Owing to the ephemeral nature of the materials employed in the building of the walls of Etruscan temples, viz. unburned brick or rubble masonry with clay mortar, the roofs being in timber, little is known of their general design; the terra-cotta decorations are, however, fortunately in good preservation, and suggest that although the Etruscan temple, architecturally speaking, was not of a very monumental character, its external decoration and colour added considerably to its effect.

 (R. P. S.) 


Roman Architecture

The rebuilding of Rome, which began in the reign of Augustus, and was carried on by his successors to a much greater extent, has caused the destruction of nearly all those examples of early work to which the student, working out the history of a style, would turn. There are, however, a few early buildings still existing, and these are of value as showing the extremely simple nature of their design. The temple of Fortuna Virilis (so-called) in the Forum Boarium, attributed to the beginning of the 1st century B.C., shows the great difference between Greek and Roman temples. Like the Etruscan temple, it is raised on a podium, and approached by a flight of steps. The Etruscan cella is dispensed with; and what may be looked upon as the semblance of a Greek peristyle is retained in the semi-detached columns which are carried round the walls of the cella. To the entrance portico, however, the Roman architect attached great importance, and we find here that one-third of the whole length of the temple is given up to the portico. The Tabularium built by Lutatius Catulas (78 B.C.) is a second example of early work. On a lofty substructure, built of peperino stone, was raised an arcade, which formed a passage from one side of the capitol to the other, and here we find the earliest example of the use of the Classic order, as a decorative feature only, applied to the face of a wall. The arcade consists of a series of arches with intermediate semi-detached Doric columns carrying an entablature. The architectural design of the substructure is of the simplest kind, depending for its effect only on the size of the stones employed and the finish given to the masonry. The same remark applies to the few remains left of the Forum Julium (47 B.C.), where an additional decorative effect was produced by the bevelled edge worked round all the stones, producing the effect of rusticated masonry.
If, however, the remains are few, the records of classical writers show that already before the beginning of the 1st century B.C. the influence of Greece had been shown in the transformation of the Forum, the embanking of the river Tiber, the erection of numerous porticoes throughout the Campus Martius, and of basilicas, one of which, rebuilt by Paulus Aemilius in 50 B.C., was remarkable for its monolithic columns of pavonazetto marble; and further that on the Palatine hill were various mansions, the courts and peristyles of which were richly decorated with marble.
The boast of Augustus that he found Reme built of brick and left it in marble is true in a sense, but not in the way it is usually interpreted. He greatly encouraged the use of marble—the temple of Venus in the forum of Julius Caesar is said to have been built entirely of that material—but as a rule marble was only used as a facing. This, however, led to the substitution of solid concrete for the core of walls, in place of the unburnt brick which up to that time had been employed. On this subject the writings of Vitruvius, the Roman architect, are of the greatest value, as they describe clearly not only the materials used at this time (about 30 B.C.), but the different methods of building walls (see Rome). The material which contributed more than any other to the magnificent conceptions of the Roman Imperial style was that known as pozzolana, a volcanic earth which, mixed with lime, formed an hydraulic cement of great cohesion and strength. Not only the walls but the vaults were built in this pozzolana concrete, and formed one solid mass. Bricks were employed in arches, on the quoins of walls, occasionally in bond courses, and in the constructional vaults as ribs, in order to relieve the centreing of the weight until the pozzolana concrete had been poured in and had consolidated. The bricks employed in these ribs, and for the voussoirs of arches, were of the kind we should describe as tiles, being about 2 ft. square and 2 in. thick. Bricks also of smaller size and triangular in shape were used for the facing of walls, the triangular portions being embedded into the concrete walls.
The Romans themselves do not seem to have realized the tenacious properties of this pozzolana cement which, when employed for the foundation of temples, formed a solid mass capable of bearing as much weight as the rock itself. They feared also the thrust of the immense vaults over their halls, and always provided crosswalls to counteract the same, as shown in the plan of all the thermae; when, however, they had discovered the secret of covering over large spaces with a permanent casing indestructible by fire, it not only gave an impetus to the great works in Rome, but led to a new type of plan, which spread all through the Empire, varied only by the difference in materials and in labour. In this respect the Romans always availed themselves of the resources of the country, which they turned to the best account. As pozzolana was not to be found in North Africa or Syria, they had to trust to the excellent qualities of the Roman mortar, but even in Syria, where stone was plentiful and could be obtained in great dimensions, when they attempted to erect vaults of great span similar to those in Rome, these probably collapsed before the building was finished, and were replaced by roofs in wood.
In the styles hitherto described the gradual development has been traced to their primitive, culminating and decadent periods. This is not called for in a description of the Roman style of architecture, which to a certain extent appeared phoenix-like in its highest development under Augustus. Roman orders in the Augustan age had reached their culminating development. The capitals of the portico of the Pantheon (27 B.C.), or of the temple of Mars Ultor (2 B.C.), constitute the finest examples of the Corinthian order, whilst those of later temples show a falling off in style. It was only in the application of the orders that new combinations presented themselves, and this can be better understood when we refer to the monuments themselves. The description of the Roman orders, with the subsequent modifications, is given in the article Order. It is necessary, however, here to draw attention to two very important developments which the Roman architect introduced as regards the orders: firstly, their employment as decorative features in combination with the arcade, known as composite arcades, and secondly, their superposition one above the other in storeys. The earliest example of the first class is that found in the Tabularium as it now exists; of the second class the Colosseum and the theatre of Marcellus are the best known examples. In principle the practice must be condemned, for the employment of the column and entablature, which was designed by the Greek architect as an independent constructive feature, in a purely decorative sense stuck on the face of a wall, is contrary to good taste, but it is impossible not to recognize in its application to the Colosseum the value of the scale which it has given to the whole structure, a scale which would have been entirely lost if the building had been treated as one storey. The superposition of the orders as exemplified in the Roman theatres and amphitheatres throughout the Empire constitutes the greatest development made in the style, and it is one which, from the Italian revivalists down to our time, has had more influence in the design of monumental work than any other Roman innovation.
In the preceding sections it has been necessary to confine our descriptions, in the case of Egypt and Greece, more or less to temples and tombs, and in that of Assyria to palaces, but in Roman architecture the monuments are not only of the most extensive and varied kinds, but in some parts of the Empire they become modified by the requirements of the country, so that a tabulated list alone would occupy a considerable space. The following are the principal subdivisions: The Roman forum (see Rome); the colonnaded streets in Syria and elsewhere, and temple enclosures; temples (q.v.), rectangular and circular; basilicas (q.v.); theatres (q.v.) and amphitheatres (q.v.); thermae or baths (q.v.); entrance gateways and triumph arches (see Triumphal Arch); memorial buildings and tombs, aqueducts (q.v.) and bridges (q.v.), palatial architecture (see Palace); domestic architecture (see House).