A description of
Cities provides an insight
into the layout and organisation which was utilised in the
construction of Roman Buildings. The different types of
Roman Buildings included Forums, Markets and Shops, Temples,
Basilicas, Colosseum and arenas or amphitheatres, Circus
Maximus, Theatres, Baths and Bath houses, Forts, Gymnasium,
Stadia and Xysti, Campus Martius, Triumphal arches and
triumphal columns, Ancient Roman Aqueducts and Factories.
Private Buildings and Houses included the Palaces of the
Emperors, Town Houses for wealthy Romans, Country Villas and
small, dark and crowded houses and tenement buildings for
Public Roman Buildings
Many of the public Roman Buildings
are detailed in separate articles as indicated by relevant
links. A fast overview and brief description of the public
buildings are as follows:
Markets were an
essential part of Roman life. The buildings which the
Emperor Trajan had
constructed included Trajan's forum,
market and his column which were all constructed to commemorate his
victories over the Dacians. Whilst some markets consisted of the
type of stalls we still find in markets today Trajan's market was
different. The market was a semi-circular building, three
storeys high above which was a large vaulted hall, resembling a
basilica. The Trajan's market consisted of shops, all of which faced
on to a corridor allowing passers by to see the goods on sale such
as luxury items such as silks together with everyday items and fresh food. There
were also restaurants and bars. Sounds like a modern day
shopping mall but Trajan's market
was built almost 2000 years ago!
Roman Temples were built to provide
places of worship for their Gods and Goddesses and were located in
important positions such as at one side of the forum or alongside
one of the major roads. Roman Temples generally had gabled roofs, a
deep porch called a portico with high columns and a frontal
staircase giving access to a high platform which was called a
Colosseum and arenas
Roman Theatres buildings were designed in the shape of a half
circle and built on level ground with raised stadium-style seating.
The Roman Theatre buildings could hold up to 15,000 people who were
entertained by mime, orations, dance, choral events and different
types of plays including farce, tragedy and comedy.
Baths and Bath
Stadia and Xysti
The Campus Martius
The Campus Martius
was a magnificent complex built in Rome
Sports where physical exercises were practised and performances
featuring chariot races and horse races were shown. This location also housed the villa publica or palace, for the
reception and entertainment of ambassadors from foreign
states, who were not allowed to enter the city of Rome.
Triumphal arches and
Private Roman Buildings
Private Roman Buildings and Houses included the Palaces of
the Emperors, Town Houses and Country Villas and small, dark
and crowded houses and tenement buildings for the poor.
Ancient Roman palaces built
for the Roman emperors were simply fabulous. Vast buildings
featuring beautiful marble columns and floors. Fine frescoes which
decorated the walls and elaborate mosaic flooring. Heating, baths
and fountains were all found in the opulent palaces of the Roman
emperors. The palace of Nero, called the Domus Aurea (Latin for
"Golden House") was demolished and the Roman Colosseum was built on
this site. This palace contained 300 rooms and featured stuccoed
ceilings set with semi-precious stones and layers of ivory and gold
leaf. There was even a rotating ceiling.
Roman Town Houses
The Roman Town Houses were
strictly for the wealthy Patricians of Ancient Rome. These were
massive buildings and it was not until after the great fire of Rome
that these town houses were limited to seventy feet! Each town house had a portico
which was a porch that
led to the entrance of a building with a roof structure
supported by columns or enclosed by walls. The windows of some of the
ton houses were glazed with a thick
kind of glass. Detached town houses, those homes not joined with the neighboring
houses were called Insulae.
Roman Villas were the
country houses or residences of the wealthy Romans. The principal
rooms of private houses, villas and ancient
included the vestibulum,
or court facing towards the
street with a portico extending along the entire front, an atrium or hall, which was in the form of an oblong
square, surrounded by galleries supported on pillars, reception rooms, bedrooms,
an inner apartment to the main bedroom called the penetralia,
the second floor housed the
dining-room and apartments of the women and the
dormitories of slaves and menials
were called the cellae. Villas and Town Houses were decorated with
mosaics and frescoes and some had private baths. They also had
courtyards, gardens and fountains.
The poor lived in small, dark, filthy, crowded
Tenement Apartments four to six stories high. They were very often
badly built of wood and therefore prone to collapse and fire.
There were no toilets so the poor Romans used public latrines or chamber pots.
There was no water or heating. Water was obtained from neighborhood
fountains. Windows did not have expensive glass but were covered by curtains or by wooden shutters.