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Roman Architecture Essay

Roman architects were normally known to be successors of the Greek legacy of architectural work. The large buildings designed by the Romans have showcased that the Roman respects this art that was founded by the Greeks. On the other hand, Romans were also talented in creating imperial monuments by using new techniques, quality materials, and styles. This paper uses the basilica and amphitheatre types of imperial monuments to illustrate the materials, techniques, and styles of Roman architecture.

The basilica was rectangular and regarded as vital places of high respect in Rome. They serve as the places of justice and commercial purposes. For instances, the basilica had a raised semi-circular extension which was set aside for the judiciary officials. The Romans were experts in truss construction, an art which made it possible for them to make basilica a trussed roof structure instead of a dome one (Anderson, 1997). The Romans architects embraced a simpler and plain exterior design that was cost effective as opposed to the normal Roman architecture. In AD 310-313, Constantine type of Basilica which was 265 feet in length by 80 feet in width (Anderson, 1997). Furthermore, as the time rolls more changes commenced to take root in the field of construction and architecture hence intersecting vaults connected to the pier and a 43 forerunner was made part and parcel in the design of the Constantine type of Basilica. Basilica as business premises booted the entire Roman economy as well as the per-capita income of the country. On the other hand, it serves a wonderful purpose in law enactment, enforcement, and application and facilitating the whole judiciary system. Notably, this imperial monument depicted a low standard picture of an empire due to its simplicity in the design (Anderson, 1997).

Amphitheatre was an outdoor imperial monument which was used for entertainment purposes and usually known as the stadium in the modern era. Amphitheatre had an independent design that was purely a Roman invention that was not an upgraded Greek design. The construction of amphitheatre took a compact shape with long tiers of seats in an approximately 44 round space. Notably, this monument was incorporated in Roman lifestyle and was constructed in all Empires. Also, in AD 81 the most luxurious and famous type of amphitheatre called Colosseum was completed after almost thirteen years of construction (Sear, 2002). Colosseum’s outer walls were 619 feet by 515 feet and had 289 feet by 178 feet base, these approximated measurements made an accommodative arena enough for the entertainment role (Sear, 2002).

Moreover, the space provided by the Colosseum had a raised floor with seats where dignitaries like Emperors and other political leaders of the country occupied, and the remaining space was enough to accommodate not more than 49000 people. Also, the architectural design of the Colosseum was well praised among the Romans since its construction utilized all the available quality materials in the Empire. For example, the walls were made from a combination of tufa stone and hard bricks supported by a concrete foundation. The seats for the very important people and spectators were made from travertine blocks reinforced by the metal clamps which was comprised of façade and marble (Sear, 2002).

In conclusion, Roman’s architectural capability to construct magnificent imperial monuments that stand the test of depicted a true and convincing picture to conclude that Rome had a strong combination of Empire, economic power, and creativity and innovation in practice.


Anderson, J. C. (1997). Roman architecture and society. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sear, F. (2002). Roman architecture. Routledge.



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