Imperial Roman Architecture flashcards |

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Triumphal Arch

Is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. Were made in the Roman Empire to honor a military victory. Would be commissioned by a emperor during a battle victory and would be built by his return, and a parade would be held at the arch while the emperor and his army marches through the arch.


A pipe for conducting water under gravity flow.


An arena with seating around a circular or oval floor. Amphi means all the way around. Seating is 360 degrees.


Area of performance and Latin for sand. The arena was made of wood but covered in sand, because it was easier to clean up.


Roman theaters created vaulted structures to create a slope for viewing. Did not need to rely on the landscape like the Greeks. They were freestanding buildings. Had a stage and 180 degree sitting and was elevated. A foundation of stone or concrete was built into the ground. Used a series of Barrel vaults radially as the structure. The barrel vault will increase in height as it goes backwards. Has stairs inside the structure.


Latin for large statue.


"King's Hall". A hall used for public administration. The term generally refers to a rectangular building that has a central section with a higher roof flanked by lower aisles on both long sides.


Half circle at each end of the building.


Roman baths that were hygienic facilities and also used for exercise, relaxation, and as a spa. Public bath. Roman practice to take a shower once a week.


Hot steam baths.



Warm water pool.



Cold water pool.



Open air swimming pool.


A heavy, rough building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, that can be spread or poured into molds and that forms a stone-like mass on hardening.



The binding component of concrete.


Volcanic ash used with water and lime to make concrete.


Center voussoir of an arch.

Barrel Vault

A semicircular vault over a rectangular space. A true arch that has been extended on its longitudinal axis. One true arch behind another and behind another and so on until you have a covered space. Used in warehouses and ports. Can't have windows on the 30 degree angle. Made of masonry. Used allot of material.

Annular Barrel Vault

Vault designed in the shape of a ring.

Groin Vault

Is when two barrel vaults intersect each other at right angles. It reduced material, transportation and labor cost. Allows windows. Can be built out of concrete, not just masonry.

Hemispherical Dome

A dome made from a true arch rotated in 360 degrees.


"Eyeball", a circular hole in the dome.

Coffered Ceiling

Box indentions in the interior of the dome or ceiling. Lightens the weight of a ceiling and lessens material use.

Opus reticulatum

A Roman wall formed of pyramidal stones forming a diagonal grid.

Opus testaceum

Roman walls constructed of brick facing on a concrete core.


Opus listatum

Roman walls constructed of stone and brick in alternate courses.


Marcus Vitruvius Pollio

Roman engineer and architect. Wrote an architecture treatise about principals of good architecture design in the Ten books of Architecture.


The Ten Books of Architecture

Written by Vitruvius about good architecture design. Main audience is Augustus. Writes about how architecture must be solid, useful, and be beautiful. Topics were building design, city planning, military engineering, and the design of machines.


Roman apartment block.


Residences outside cities.


(Castillo/Castle) Military fort. Built in Spain, France, and North Africa by the Romans. Barcelona and Paris were originally this. Always had 4 fortified walls. Towers placed at intervals. One gate on each of the 4 sides. Led to the 2 major roads of the castle. Political and religious institution was built near the forum. It contained a Thermae and a aqueduct was built as irrigation channels to bring water to the fort. Theater and amphitheater were also built here.


Bread and Circus Policy

Entertainment buildings were required for all Roman cities and free entertainment was guaranteed to Roman citizens. Food was also guaranteed for all Romans, so grain and food would be stored away for emergencies.



Heating system. Would stack brick piers under the floor. The servant would boil water and the steam would go under the floor and walls and heat up the floors.


A Roman Gym.

Augustus, Primaporta, Italy Early 1st Century

Died at age 80. Told people he was semi divine - part god and part human. Idealistic statue. Commissioned after his death.

Forum of Trajan Rome, c. 112 CE

Imperial forum, Entries had Triumphal arch. Had Atriums and courtyards. Enclosed but open to the sky. The arch is tri-partite and has ornament. Has the Corinthian order. Has a courtyard and a temple dedicated to Trajan.

The Basilica Ulpia, 112 CE

Used for high finance business and lawyers. Has a apse at each end of the building. Part of the Forum of Trajan.

Column of Trajan, 112 CE

Marked the tomb of Trajan. Has successful images of the military on the column. At the Forum of Trajan.

Port-du-Gard, Nimes, France, 20-16 BCE

Aqueduct made of unmortared masonry, 882ft over the river Gard valley on 3 tiers of arches. 160ft above the river.

Temple of Fortuna Virilis, Rome, Italy, late 2nd century BCE

Name meant good luck. Was a typical urban temple. Made of Marble and concrete. The columns are Ionic. Columns on the side were half columns for imagery. Podium and steps built of stone. Has one set of stairs leading up on one side. Has denteling and a blank frieze.

Baths of Diocletian Rome, Italy, 298-306

Roman Thermae. Walls were concrete with a veneer of brick. Made up of groin vaults. The bath house has bilateral symmetry. It has a Palestra, a Frigidarium, a Tepidarium, and a Caldarium. Ritual you would go to the cold to the warm to the hot. Said it stimulated your immune system. The rooms on the exterior were used as retail shops. That rent went to the maintenance of the building. Some exterior rooms were used as offices or meeting places. Had Corinthian marble columns in the interior.

Palace of Diocletian, Split, Serbian Croatia, c. 300 CE

Is an ancient palace built by the Diocletian at the modern day city, Split Croatia. Built near Diocletian's birth place. The building style represents the same form of a imperial villa, Hellenistic town and a castrum. Contains the Mausoleum of Diocletian.

The Arch of Titus, Rome

Triumphal arch. Situated at the highest point of the Sacra Via, the Arch of Titus was commissioned by Domitian commemorating the capture of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70.

The Colloseum, Rome, Italy, c. 80 CE

The arena was the stage and was covered in sand. Has an exterior wall. In between each arch is an engaged column. The lower floor had a Doric floor. 2nd was Ionic and 3rd was Corinthian. The blank wall above was the entablature. It is oval shaped and used barrel vaults. Annular barrel vault designed in the shape of a ring.

The Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 118-128 CE

Temple dedicated to all Roman gods. Columns were in Corinthian order. Foundation was stone. Built from the emperor Hadrian. Agrippa - former emperor, died before construction was completed. It was his idea. Tripeptide building. A rotunda held a semi hemispherical dome made from concrete. The walls of the rotunda was very thick. It was the largest dome in the world at the time, until Hagia Sofia. Has relieving arches - arches built into the wall. The rotunda walls go up to 75ft with marble veneers. Has niches in the wall. Has 8 niches - 7 were alter spaces and 1 was the door way. The floor tiles were marbles with alternating patterns of circles and square symbolizing unity. The dome is a perfect semicircular dome. Perfect half circle. Has an oculus in the dome. Gives you connection to nature. Has coffering in the interior of the dome. Helps the eye read the curvature of the dome. Has 5 rings of coffering. Lightened the dome.

Hadrian's Mausoleum, Rome, Italy, 130 CE

Tomb for Hadrian with a floor plan to circle around inside and leave. Was a monument and tomb.


Recycled building parts.

Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy, 315 CE

Arch made of spolia. Commissioned by Constantine. Rome had no money so they used old building parts. Rome was in decline at the time.

Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, Rome, 307-315 CE

Basilica with no collonades. Has a series of groin vaults in the center and barrel vaults with coffering. Construction started with Maxentius, and finished with Constantine.

Hadrian's Villa, 117-138 CE

A imperial villa for Hadrian outside Tivoli. Used architecture forms from all over the world. The largest element of the villa was the Poikele, an enclosed garden around a rectangular fish pond.

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