The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire, founded by
Augustus Caesar in 27 B.C. and lasting in Western Europe
for 500 years, reorganized for world politics and economics.
Almost the entirety of the civilized world became a single
centralized state. In place of Greek democracy, piety, and
independence came Roman authoritarianism and practicality.
Vast prosperity resulted. Europe and the Mediterranean
bloomed with trading cities ten times the size of their
predecessors with public amenities previously unheard of
courts, theaters, circuses, and public baths. And these were
now large permanent masonry buildings as were the
habitations, tall apartment houses covering whole city
blocks. This architectural revolution brought about by the
Romans required two innovations: the invention of a new
building method called concrete vaulting and the organization
of labor and capital on a large scale so that huge projects
could be executed quickly after the plans of a single master
architect. Roman concrete was a fluid mixture of lime and
small stones poured into the hollow centers of walls faced
with brick or stone and over curved wooden molds, or
forms, to span spaces as vaults. The Mediterranean is an
active volcanic region, and a spongy, light, tightly adhering
stone called pozzolana was used to produce a concrete that
was both light and extremely strong. The Romans had
developed potsalana concrete about 100 B.C. but at first
used it only for terrace walls and foundations. It apparently
was emperor Nero who first used the material on a grand
scale to rebuild a region of the city of Rome around his
palace, the expansive Domus Aurea, after the great fire of
AD 64 which he said to have set. Here broad streets,
regular blocks of masonry apartment houses, and continuous
colonnaded porticoes were erected according to a single
plan and partially at state expense. The Domus Aurea itself
was a labyrinth of concrete vaulted rooms, many in complex
geometric forms. An extensive garden with a lake and forest
spread around it. The architect Severus seems to have been
in charge of this great project. Emperors and emperors'
architects succeeding Nero and Severus continued and
expanded their work of rebuilding and regularizing Rome.
Vespasian (emperor AD 63-79) began the Colosseum.
Which I have a model bad of. Built by prisoners from the
Jewish wars the 50,000 Colosseum is one of the most
intresting architectural feets of Rome. At its opening in 80
A.D. the Colosseum was flooded by diverting the Tiber river
about 10 kilometers to renact a naval battel with over 3,000
participants. Domitian (81-96) rebuilt the Palatine Hill as a
huge palace of vaulted concrete designed by his architect
Rabirius. Trajan (97-117) erected the expansive forum that
bears his name (designed by his architect Apollodorus) and
a huge public bath. Hadrian (117-138) who served as his
own architect, built the Pantheon as well as a villa the size of
a small city for himself at Tivoli. Later Caracalla (211-217)
and Diocletian (284-305) erected two mammoth baths that
bear their names, and Maxentius (306-312) built a huge
vaulted basilica, now called the Basilica of Constantine. The
Baths of Caracalla have long been accepted as a summation
of Roman culture and engineering. It is a vast building, 360
by 702 feet (110 by 214 meters), set in 50 acres (20
hectares) of gardens. It was one of a dozen establishments
of similar size in ancient Rome devoted to recreation and
bathing. There were a 60- by 120-foot (18- by 36-meter)
swimming pool, hot and cold baths, gymnasia, a library, and
game rooms. These rooms were of various geometric
shapes. The walls were thick, with recesses, corridors, and
staircases cut into them. The building was entirely
constructed of concrete with barrel, groined, and domical
vaults spanning as far as 60 feet (18 meters) in many places.
Inside, all the walls were covered with thin slabs of colored
marble or with painted stucco. The decorative forms of this
coating were derived from Greek The rebuilding of Rome
set a pattern copied all over the empire. Nearby, the ruins of
Ostia, Rome's port (principally constructed in the 2nd and
3rd centuries AD), reflect that model. Farther away it
reappears at Trier in northwestern Germany, at Autun in
central France, at Antioch in Syria, and at Timgad and
Leptis Magna in North Africa. When political disintegration
and barbarian invasions disrupted the western part of the
Roman Empire in the 4th century AD, new cities were
founded and built in concrete during short construction
campaigns: Ravenna, the capital of the Western Empire from
492-539, and Constantinople in Turkey, where the seat of
the empire was moved by Constantine in 330 and which
continued thereafter to be the capital of the Eastern, or
Byzantine, Empire. Christian Rome. One important thing had
changed by the time of the