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Ancient Rome. Rome was built on the banks of the Tiber River that flowed through a gently rolling terrain distinguished by seven prominent hills. The.

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Rome. Rome was built on the banks of the Tiber River that flowed through a gently rolling terrain distinguished by seven prominent hills. The."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Rome

2 Rome was built on the banks of the Tiber River that flowed through a gently rolling terrain distinguished by seven prominent hills. The low areas, those with the most fertile soil, were the earliest to be developed. Over time, farming took place beyond the seven hills and the city drained and filled the marshy lowlands. The Forum, at the base of the Capitoline and Palatine Hills, is the most ancient and sacred area of the city. Ancient Rome: Plan of the City Capitoline Aventine Palatine Caelian Janiculum Quirinal Viminal 501

3 Ancient Rome Ancient Rome: The Diagram Sometimes it helps to translate complex information into a well-organized and graphically succinct diagram. This very legible drawing (annotated with the names of the Seven Hills) comes from Edmund Bacon’s book Design of Cities. It identifies major landmarks in Rome during the classical period between 200 BC and AD 200. Capitoline Aventine Palatine Caelian Janiculum Quirinal Viminal Boundary wall 502

4 Ancient Rome The Forum: Government and Worship Together in a Sacred Place The most sacred of places in the city of Rome was the Ancient Forum, birthplace of Roman civilization and the center of public life. Orators used the art of rhetoric to strengthen the perception of the Roman Empire as the center of the world--and the emperor as a descendent of the gods. High priests and vestile virgins praised the gods and offered sacrifice at temple altars

5 Ancient Rome The Forum and the Via Sacra The ancient Romans developed the Forum around a processional route through the city known today as the Via Sacra. Temples and monuments to the gods and the mighty emperors marked this passage. The Forum, located just below the Senate on the Capitoline Hill, accommodated the marketplace, speech-making and religious ritual. For political gain, the distinction between the activities was often intentionally blurred

6 Ancient Rome Classical Motifs in Urban Structure Rome has become a model of urban design because of its sophisticated civic order, its beautifully articulated architectural grace, and its sensitive response to the natural hydrological and geological conditions of the site. The city’s buildings and public spaces were rendered with a geometric simplicity that established a clarity for the immediate environment and the overall urban form. The consistent, well-ordered street walls and courtyards gave way to the topographic changes of the defining hills and the Tiber River’s edge

7 Ancient Rome Roman Engineering, Roman Ingenuity Rome’s urban development is decidedly a result of its engineering accomplishments. The arch was initially used to support aqueduct and bridge structures throughout the city, bringing water directly from the mountain source and spanning the Tiber River for better communication and growth

8 Ancient Rome Markets & Theatres The market structures and theaters were often outdoor venues in this mild Mediterranean climate. Although the winters were cool and wet, dry weather prevailed most of the year. The Market of Trajan (below) was a crescent-shaped enclosure not unlike the amphitheaters that were so plentiful in the ancient city

9 Ancient Rome The Fabric of the City and the Pantheon Rome was a tightly woven fabric of narrow, shaded streets with periodic open courtyards. Small blocks of residential units created a fine texture that contrasted with large public buildings and the outdoor gathering areas used for worship, government, entertainment and commercial activities. The Pantheon, a massive civic assembly hall, built in about AD 100 during the reign of the great Emperor Hadrian, was a bold and artful architectural gesture in the dense urban context. 505

10 Ancient Rome The Pantheon The Pantheon exemplified the hierarchy created when building and outdoor space cooperate to announce a public activity. The open-air volume of a rectilinear forecourt once complemented the perceived weight and mass of the large drum and vast dome of the temple to dedicated to the emperor Agrippa. Access to the inner temple was ceremoniously approached through a guarded entry opposite the portico on axis with the the center of the dome. 506

11 Ancient Rome The Pantheon’s Place in the City Today the Pantheon’s immediate surroundings do not convey the same character in the shared responsibility between building and forecourt, yet the Pantheon remains an important icon of civic architecture and classically proportioned architectural form. The dome of the structure identifies this unique place in the overwhelming urban congestion of structures

12 Ancient Rome The Porch of the Pantheon The transition between the public circulation (street, piazza and, in ancient Rome, the forecourt) into the inner sanctum of the temple rotunda begins with the porch. This grand entry is both a practical and ceremonial gesture that celebrates the significance of the structure and the connection to the city. As in many temple structures erected since Egyptian and Greek times, the columns of the portico initiate the ritual of passage and the sequence of spaces toward a sacred place within.

13 Ancient Rome The development of the dome allowed vast areas of interior space to be built for public gathering. Prior to this time, urban dwellers congregated outdoors or in the more limiting basilica- form structures that were most common since the Greek period. The arch was a Roman invention and the dome was conceived as a series of arches turned around a central point. This ability to span large areas transformed Rome’s landscape with structures that began to serve the same purpose that the outdoor spaces had served. The Pantheon Dome

14 Ancient Rome The Oculus of the Pantheon The awe-inspiring expanse of the dome was made even more impressive by the opening at its center. The oculus, or eye, of the ceiling is open to the light of the sun and the stars of the sky. Rain (and on those rare occasions, snow) drifts through the opening and falls to the central drain in the floor

15 Ancient Rome The Pantheon’s Geometry and Mass These illustrations of the Pantheon (from 17th century records) show the proportional relationships of the large cylindrical drum that supports the semi- spherical dome. A complete sphere could fit within the space created by the interior ceiling of the dome and the flat floor of the rotunda. A rectangular solid makes the transition between the curve of the drum and the triangular- pediment porch and clearly articulates the connection with a simple geometric form. The elevation on the right has been inscribed with a circle to emphasize the spherical volume within the structure

16 Ancient Rome The Panntheon in Plan and Section These computer-generated drawings illustrate the Pantheon’s composition of simple and varied geometric forms that come together in a graceful, unified and comprehendible whole. The spherical volume is articulated in these two- dimensional drawings as circles in section (left) and plan (right). Compare the plan here with the elevation on the previous page to see how the two coordinate

17 Ancient Rome Resources Jellicoe, Geoffrey and Susan. The Landscape of Man: Shaping the Environment from Prehistory to the Present Day. The Viking Press: New York, Moore, Charles W., William J. Mitchell, and William Turnbull, Jr. The Poetics of Gardens. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mumford, Lewis. The City in History; Its Origins, Its Transformations and Its Prospects. Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., New York, Newton, Norman T. Design on the Land: The Development of Landscape Architecture. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971.


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