Roman Architecture Lesson
The following is a lesson on Roman Architecture. The lesson has follow-up questions and additional links are included for more study and illustrations.
Romans are famous for their advancement in architecture and engineering. Before the Romans, the most commonly used building style was the post and lintel. The post and lintel systems were limited in the weight it could carry and the span between the supports. The Roman invention of the arch allowed architects to build larger structures than ever before. The extension of the arch idea lead to the development of domes. The largest dome built was the Pantheon for eighteen centuries. The idea of the arch was further extended in the middle ages with the barrel vault and other types of vaults which became the central theme of the Romanesque and Gothic Cathedrals. In addition, to the arch, Romans also began the use of the cement in their building which again allowed the builders to expand buildings. For example the Coliseum used the arch system, along with concrete, to build a four story high stadium to seat over 50,000 spectators. In addition the Romans developed over 500 KM of aqueduct to bring fresh water into the capital city. This along with over 50,000 miles of roads show the size and strength of this empire.