History of Art 252: Roman Architecture

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis o
  • Lectures 21
  • Video 26 Hours
  • Skill level all level
  • Languages English
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Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

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Curriculum

01:14:27
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner traces the evolution of Roman architecture from its beginnings in the eight-century B.C. Iron Age through the late Republican period. The lecture features traditional Roman temple architecture as a synthesis of Etruscan and Greek temple types, early defensive wall building in Rome and environs, and a range of technologies and building practices that made this architecture possible. City planning in such early Roman colonies as Cosa and Ostia is also discussed, as are examples of the first uses of the arch and of concrete construction, two elements that came to dominate Roman architectural practice. The lecture ends with an analysis of typical late Republican temples at Rome, Cori, and Tivoli.
01:10:49
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses the revolution in Roman architecture resulting from the widespread adoption of concrete in the late second and first centuries B.C. She contrasts what she calls innovative Roman architecture with the more traditional buildings already surveyed and documents a shift from the use of concrete for practical purposes to an exploration of its expressive possibilities. The lecture concludes with a discussion of the Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Palestrina, an impressive terraced complex that uses concrete to transform a mountain into a work of architecture, with ramps and stairs leading from one level to the next and porticoes revealing panoramic views of nature and of man-made architectural forms. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:11:48
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner explores the civic, commercial, and religious buildings of Pompeii, an overview made possible only because of an historical happenstance--the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which buried the city at the height of its development. While the lecture features the resort town's public architecture--its forum, basilica, temples, amphitheater, theater, and bath complexes--Professor Kleiner also describes such fixtures of daily life as a bakery and a fast food restaurant. The lecture culminates with a brief overview of tomb architecture in Pompeii and a moving account of what happened to the inhabitants of the city of Pompeii when disaster struck. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:15:31
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252).
Professor Kleiner discusses domestic architecture at Pompeii from its beginnings in the fourth and third centuries B.C. to the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. She describes the plan of the ideal domus italica and features two residences that conform to that layout. She then presents the so-called Hellenized domus that incorporates elements of Greek domestic architecture, especially the peristyle court with columns. The primary example is the famous House of the Faun with its tetrastyle atrium, double peristyles, and floor mosaic of the battle between Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia at Issus, a Roman copy of an original Greek painting. She concludes by highlighting the suburban Villa of the Mysteries and notes the distinction between plans of Roman houses and those of Roman villas.
01:12:44
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses domestic architecture at Herculaneum and the First and Second Styles of Roman wall painting. The lecture begins with an introduction to the history of the city of Herculaneum and what befell some of its inhabitants when they tried to escape obliteration by Vesuvius. She features three houses in Herculaneum, two of which--the Houses of the Mosaic Atrium and the Stags--are among the best examples of a residential style popular in Campania between A.D. 62 and 79. Professor Kleiner then turns to the First or Masonry Style of Roman wall painting, which seeks to replicate the built architecture of Hellenistic kings and other elite patrons by using stucco and paint to imitate a real wall faced with marble. She follows with Second Style Roman wall painting, which uses only paint to open up the wall illusionistically onto vistas and prospects of sacred shrines, city scenes, and landscapes. The lecture concludes with a discussion of the Garden Room from the Villa of Livia at Primaporta, which epitomizes the Second Style by transforming the flat wall into a panoramic window. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:13:58
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses the development of Third Style Roman wall painting in late first century B.C. villas belonging to the imperial family and other elite patrons. Third Style painting, as Professor Kleiner demonstrates, is characterized by departure from the perspectival vistas and panoramas of the Second Style toward an attenuation of architectural elements and a respect for the inherent flatness of the wall. The Third Style remains popular until the middle of the first century A.D., when it is replaced by the Fourth Style of Roman painting; both styles coexist in the Domus Aurea, the luxurious pleasure palace of the emperor Nero in downtown Rome. Professor Kleiner characterizes the Fourth Style of Roman wall painting as a compendium of previous styles, with imitation marble veneer, framed mythological panels, and the introduction of fragments of architecture situated in an illogical space.
01:07:08
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses special subjects in Roman wall painting that do not fall within the four architectural styles but were nonetheless inserted into their wall schemes: mythological painting, landscape, genre, still life, history painting, and painted portraiture. The lecture begins with an in-depth examination of the unique Dionysiac Mysteries painting in Pompeii in which young brides prepare for and enter into a mystical marriage with the god Dionysus and simultaneous initiation into his cult. Professor Kleiner then presents a painted frieze from Rome that depicts the wanderings of Odysseus against a continuous landscape framed by Second Style columns. She subsequently analyzes Roman still life, remarkable in its similarity to modern still life painting; a scene of daily life in Pompeii; and a painting depicting a specific historical event--a riot in the Pompeii Amphitheater that caused the arena to be shut down for ten years. The lecture ends with a discussion of painted portraiture on Pompeian walls, including likenesses of two different women holding a similar stylus and wax tablet. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:15:03
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses the transformation of Rome by its first emperor, Augustus, who claimed to have found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble. The conversion was made possible by the exploitation of new marble quarries at Luna (modern Carrara) on the northwest coast of Italy. The lecture surveys the end of the Roman Republic and the inauguration of the Principate and analyzes the Forum of Julius Caesar and the Forum of Augustus. Professor Kleiner shines a spotlight on Caesar's attempt to link himself to his divine ancestress Venus Genetrix and on Augustus' appropriations of Greek caryatids and other decorative motifs that associate his era with the Golden Age of Periclean Athens. Finally, she analyzes the Ara Pacis Augustae, a monument commissioned upon Augustus' return to Rome after achieving diplomatic victories in Spain and Gaul, and serving as the Luna marble embodiment of the emperor's new hegemonic empire. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:11:57
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner explores sepulchral architecture in Rome commissioned by the emperor, aristocrats, successful professionals, and former slaves during the age of Augustus. Unlike most civic and residential buildings, tombs serve no practical purpose other than to commemorate the deceased and consequently assume a wide variety of personalized and remarkable forms. The lecture begins with the round Mausoleum of Augustus, based on Etruscan precedents and intended to house the remains of Augustus and the new Julio-Claudian dynasty. Professor Kleiner also highlights two of Rome's most unusual funerary structures: the pyramidal Tomb of Gaius Cestius, an aristocrat related to Marcus Agrippa, and the trapezoidal Tomb of Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces, probably a former slave who made his fortune overseeing the baking and public distribution of bread for the Roman army. Professor Kleiner concludes the lecture with a brief discussion of tombs for those with more modest means, including extensive subterranean columbaria. She also turns briefly to the domed thermal baths at Baia, part of an ancient spa and a sign of where concrete construction would take the future of Roman architecture. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:13:50
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner features the architecture of Augustus' successors, the Julio-Claudian emperors, whose dynasty lasted half a century (A.D. 14-68). She first presents Tiberius' magnificent Villa Jovis on the Island of Capri and an underground basilica in Rome used by members of a secret Neo-Pythagorean cult. She then turns to the eccentric architecture of Claudius, a return to masonry building techniques and a unique combination of finished and unfinished, or rusticated, elements. Finally, Professor Kleiner highlights the luxurious architecture of the infamous Nero, especially his Domus Aurea or Golden House and its octagonal room, one of the most important rooms in the history of Roman architecture. The construction of the Domus Aurea accelerates the shift in Roman building practice toward a dematerialized architecture that fully utilizes recent innovations in concrete technology and emphasizes interior space over solid form. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:12:14
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner features the tumultuous year of 68-69 when Rome had four competing emperors. Vespasian emerged the victor, founded the Flavian dynasty, and was succeeded by his sons, Titus and Domitian. The Flavians were especially adept at using architecture to shape public policy. Professor Kleiner demonstrates that Vespasian linked himself with the divine Claudius by completing the Claudianum and distanced himself from Nero by razing the Domus Aurea to the ground and filling in the palace's artificial lake. In that location, Vespasian built the Flavian Amphitheater, nicknamed the Colosseum, thereby returning to the people land earlier stolen by Nero. Professor Kleiner discusses the technical and aesthetic features of the Colosseum at length, and surveys Vespasian's Forum Pacis and Titus' Temple to Divine Vespasian. The lecture concludes with the Baths of Titus, Rome's first preserved example of the so-called "imperial bath type" because of its grand scale, axiality, and symmetry. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:13:47
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner investigates the major architectural commissions of the emperor Domitian, the last Flavian emperor. She begins with the Arch of Titus, erected after Titus' death by his brother Domitian on land previously occupied by Nero's Domus Transitoria. The Arch celebrated Titus' greatest accomplishment--the Flavian victory in the Jewish Wars--and may have served as Titus' tomb. Professor Kleiner also discusses the Stadium of Domitian, the shape of which is preserved in Rome's Piazza Navona. Her major focus is the vast Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill designed by the architect Rabirius and featuring Domitian as dominus et deus (lord and god). Constructed from brick-faced concrete and revetted with multicolored imported marbles, this structure was divided into public and private wings, and was so magnificent that it served as the urban residence of all subsequent Roman emperors. The lecture concludes with the so-called Forum Transitorium, a narrow forum begun by Domitian and finished by his successor Nerva, which features a temple to Domitian's patron goddess Minerva and a series of decorative columnar bays that create a lively in-and-out undulation that heralds the beginning of a "baroque" phase in Roman architecture. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:11:33
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner analyzes the major public architectural commissions of the emperor Trajan in Rome. Distinguished by their remarkably ambitious scale, these buildings mimic Trajan's expansion of the Roman Empire to its furthest reaches. Professor Kleiner begins with Trajan's restoration of the Forum of Julius Caesar and proceeds to the Baths of Trajan. Situated on the Oppian and Esquiline Hills, these Trajanic baths follow the basic model of the earlier imperial Baths of Titus but increase the size of the complex several times. Most of the lecture focuses on the famous Forum and Markets of Trajan, built on land that the engineer and architect Apollodorus of Damascus created by cutting away part of the Quirinal Hill. The Forum of Trajan consists of a large open rectangular area, a basilica, Greek and Latin libraries, and a temple dedicated to Trajan after his death. Between the libraries stands the celebrated Column of Trajan with a spiral frieze commemorating the emperor's military victories in Dacia (modern Romania) and reaching a height of 125 feet. The brick-faced concrete Markets of Trajan climb up the hill and form a dramatic contrast to the marble forum. The lecture concludes with a brief discussion of the Arch of Trajan at Benevento, which depicts scenes of the emperor's greatest accomplishments and the first representations of his successor, Hadrian. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:13:24
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner features the architecture built in and around Rome during the reign of Hadrian. The lecture begins with the Temple of Venus and Roma, a Greek-style temple constructed near the Colosseum in Rome, which may have been designed by Hadrian himself. Professor Kleiner then turns to the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all the gods that combines the marble porch and pediment of a traditional Greco-Roman temple with a vast concrete cylindrical drum, hemispherical dome, and central oculus. The porch serves to conceal the circular shape from view, but upon entering the structure the visitor is impressed by the massive interior space and theatrical play of light. The Pantheon represents the culmination of the Roman quest towards an architecture that shapes and dramatizes interior space. Professor Kleiner next discusses the Villa of Hadrian at Tivoli, a sprawling complex in which the emperor re-created buildings and works of art he observed during his empire-wide travels. The lecture concludes with a brief overview of the Mausoleum of Hadrian (the Castel Sant'Angelo), a round tomb that refers back to the Mausoleum of Augustus and served as the last resting place for Hadrian and the succeeding Antonine dynasty. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:16:09
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner focuses on Ostia, the port of Rome, characterized by its multi-storied residential buildings and its widespread use of brick-faced concrete. She begins with the city's public face--the Forum, Capitolium, Theater, and Piazzale delle Corporazioni. The Piazzale, set behind the Theater, was the location of various shipping companies with black-and-white mosaics advertising their business. Professor Kleiner examines the Baths of Neptune and the Insula of Diana, a brick apartment building with four floors that housed a number of Ostia's working families. The Insula of Diana and other similar structures, including warehouses like the Horrea Epagathiana, demonstrate a fundamental feature of second-century Ostia: the appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of brick facing. Since the time of Nero, brick was customarily covered with stucco and paint, but these Ostian buildings are faced with exposed brick, the color, texture, and design of which make it attractive in its own right. The lecture ends with a survey of several single family dwellings in Ostia, including the fourth-century House of Cupid and Psyche, notable for the pastel-colored marble revetment on its walls and floors and for a charming statue of the legendary lovers. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:15:37
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses the increasing size of Roman architecture in the second and third centuries A.D. as an example of a "bigger is better" philosophy. She begins with an overview of tomb architecture, a genre that, in Rome as in Ostia, embraced the aesthetic of exposed brick as a facing for the exteriors of buildings. Interiors of second-century tombs, Professor Kleiner reveals, encompass two primary groups -- those that are decorated with painted stucco and those embellished primarily with architectural elements. After a discussion of the Temple of the Divine Antoninus Pius and Faustina and its post-antique afterlife as the Church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda, Professor Kleiner introduces the Severan dynasty as it ushers in the third century. She focuses first on the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum, the earliest surviving triple-bayed arch in Rome. She next presents the so-called Septizodium, a lively baroque-style façade for Domitian's Palace on the Palatine Hill. The lecture concludes with the colossal Baths of Caracalla, which awed the public by their size and by a decorative program that assimilated the emperor Caracalla to the hero Hercules.
01:12:59
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses two Roman cities in North Africa: Timgad and Leptis Magna. Timgad was created as an entirely new colony for Roman army veterans by Trajan in A.D. 100, and designed all at once as an ideal castrum plan. Leptis Magna, conversely, grew more gradually from its Carthaginian roots, experiencing significant Roman development under Augustus and Hadrian. Septimius Severus, the first Roman emperor from North Africa, was born at Leptis and his hometown was renovated in connection with his historic visit to the city. This large-scale program of architectural expansion features the Severan Forum and Basilica and the nearby Arch of Septimius Severus, a tetrapylon or four-sided arch located at the crossing of two major streets. The lecture culminates with the unique Hunting Baths, a late second or early third-century structure built for a group of entrepreneurs who supplied exotic animals to Rome's amphitheaters. Its intimate vaulted spaces are revealed on the outside of the building and silhouetted picturesquely against the sea, suggesting that the bath's owners knew how to innovate through concrete architecture and how to enjoy life. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:12:55
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner features the baroque phenomenon in Roman architecture, in which the traditional vocabulary of architecture, consisting of columns and other conventional architectural elements, is manipulated to enliven building façades and inject them with dynamic motion. This baroque trend is often conspicuously ornamental and began to be deployed on the walls of forums and tombs in Italy already in the late first century A.D. But baroque architecture in Roman antiquity was foremost in the Greek East where high-quality marble and expert marble carvers made it the architectural mode of choice. At Petra in Jordan, tomb chambers were cut into cliffs and elaborate façades carved out of the living rock. The cities of Miletus and Ephesus in Asia Minor were adorned with gates and fountains and libraries and stage buildings that consisted of multi-storied columnar screens. The lecture culminates with the Sanctuary of Jupiter Heliopolitanus, a massive temple complex at Baalbek in Lebanon, with Temples of Jupiter and Bacchus in enormous scale and with extreme embellishment, and the Temple of Venus with an undulating lintel that foreshadows the curvilinear flourishes of Francesco Borromini's S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in seventeenth-century Rome. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:16:03
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner discusses the rebirth of Athens under the Romans especially during the reigns of the two philhellenic emperors, Augustus and Hadrian. While some have dismissed the architecture of Roman Athens as derivative of its Classical and Hellenistic Greek past, Professor Kleiner demonstrates that the high quality of Greek marble and Greek stone carvers made these buildings consequential. In addition some structures provide evidence for the frequent and creative exchange of architectural ideas and motifs between Greece and Rome in Roman times. After a brief introduction to the history of the city of Athens, Professor Kleiner presents the monuments erected by Augustus and Agrippa on the Acropolis and in the Greek and Roman Agoras, for example the Odeion of Agrippa. Following with Hadrian's building program, she features an aqueduct and reservoir façade, the Library of Hadrian, and the vast Temple of Olympian Zeus, a project begun over six hundred years earlier. Professor Kleiner concludes the lecture with the Monument of Philopappos, a Trajanic tomb on the Mouseion Hill built for a man deprived of the kingship of Commagene by the Romans, but who made the best of the situation by becoming a suffect consul in Rome and then moving to Athens, where he died and was memorialized by his sister Balbilla. This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
01:14:15
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner explores the architecture of the western provinces of the Roman Empire, focusing on sites in what are now North Italy, France, Spain, and Croatia. Her major objective is to characterize "Romanization," the way in which the Romans provide amenities to their new colonies while, at the same time, transforming them into miniature versions of the city of Rome. Professor Kleiner discusses the urban design of two Augustan towns before proceeding to an investigation of a variety of such established Roman building types as theaters, temples, and aqueducts. The well-preserved Theater at Orange, the Maison Carrée at Nîmes, and the unparalleled aqueducts at Nîmes (the Pont-du-Gard) and Segovia are highlighted. The lecture concludes with an overview of imperial and private arches and tombs in the western provinces, among them the controversial three-bayed arch at Orange. The Trophy of Augustus at La Turbie serves as a touchstone for the Roman West, as it commemorates Augustus' subjugation of the Alpine tribes, clearing the way for Rome to create new cities with a distinctive Roman stamp.
01:15:34
Roman Architecture (HSAR 252). Professor Kleiner presents the architecture of Constantine the Great, the last pagan and first Christian emperor of Rome, who founded Constantinople as the "New Rome" in A.D. 324. She notes that Constantine began with commissions that were tied to the pagan past (the Baths of Constantine in Rome) but built others (the Aula Palatina at Trier) that looked to the Christian future. Professor Kleiner makes an impassioned case that some of the finest and most innovative Roman buildings date to the Constantinian period. The "Temple of Minerva Medica," a garden pavilion, for example, is decagonal in shape and the colossal Basilica Nova was inventively modeled on the frigidaria of Roman imperial bath complexes. In addition, the Arch of Constantine, a triple-bayed structure commemorating Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, serves as a compendium of Constantine's accomplishments in the context of those of the "good emperors" of the second century A.D. In conclusion, Professor Kleiner asserts that the transfer of the Empire's capital from Rome to Constantinople diminished Rome's influence, at least temporarily, but not the impact of its architecture, which like the city of Rome itself, is eternal.

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