Innovation in Religious Roman Architecture

Topics: Roman temple, Ancient Rome, Roman Empire Pages: 6 (1790 words) Published: December 11, 2010
Innovation in Religious Roman Architecture

Throughout human history man has been finding ways of doing art and figuring different ways of doing over time, one such form of architecture that man has discovered long ago and has extensively worked hard in is the art of architecture. One of the definitions of “architecture” is the profession of designing, communities, open areas, and other artificial constructions and environments.[1] Architecture also involves the design or selection of furnishings and decorations of buildings.[2] Architecture has been used for various purposes; one such purpose it has been used for is for religious purposes, like buildings houses of worship. Among these great human civilizations that have constructed pieces of architecture, especially those of religious purposes, is the Roman civilization. Roman civilization has gone through many different changes, one such change can be seen in the innovations that have occurred in religious architecture. The evolution of Roman religious architecture is one of the best examples of seeing how human civilization can and does change in its form of art over a period of time.

During the Ritual and Space period, which lasted from 800-600 B.C, the Romans had no empire of their own and would use ritual, which is a an art of action, but to the Romans it was used for another reason, which was architecture.[3] The Romans believed that rituals had the power to engender architectural form because of the fact that they took place in space.[4] The great rituals of the earliest Romans were that of the cultivation of the gods, the life of the family, and the ordering of the community.[5] Each of these rituals would also get a formation of space that were believed to suit to them.[6] The first Roman architects were no other than the Roman priests themselves who prayed, asked the gods for signs and made sacrifice.[7] To perform these rituals of worship they would frame the amount of space that would be needed and would start their construction by reciting an incantation.[8] The incantation would be like this, “this space shall be for worship and for nothing else; it shall be four-square; its boundaries shall be this, that and the other; whatever is done or said in this holy space the gods shall be aware of; whatever comes into this holy space from above shall be a sing from the gods.”[9] Saying these words of incantation was considered enough to create a piece of religious architecture.[10] The enclosure of space would be complete and rigid, but nevertheless also invisible and nonexistent, while the ritual acts of the priests sets the inner configuration.[11] After that, a fellow worshipper would stand up in the middle or at one end, facing in the right direction, establishing the front and back, right and left side, center axis, and cross-axis of the invisible temple in order to create symmetry of line of force, not allowing there to be any deviations.[12]

After the end of the Ritual and Space era of the early Romans, began the period of Old Rome from 600-200 B.C, where we begin to see the Romans to start building religious monuments for their gods.[13] This idea of building religious infrastructure, in order to protect the images of their gods from weather and prevent them by being seen by ordinary people, was something that he Romans learned from the Greeks and the Etruscans.[14] It is because of this the Romans now would be able to start doing their rituals of public worship in the presence of a god’s image sheltered in its house.[15] One of these early temples has a raised high podium, which is only accessible form the front, and overhanging eaves that reach out and down to define the volume of space where worshippers stood.[16] The massive nature of this temple was believed to control the attitude, attention and movement by its dominance.[17] The temple also a stair that is broad with an upward sweep and is colored from the dun footing of the temple space to the...
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