Ancient Roman Architecture


Ancient Roman architecture has left unforgettable footprints in the world history. Its ideas and style have been the choice of a numerous number of architects for centuries. It is evident that the humanity and its architectural choices were under the influence of ancient Roman architecture. Roman architectural masterpieces have been the subject of inspiration for many centuries. They still inspire architects to build new masterpieces. However, they achieve modern quality due to the access to modern techniques and technologies. Ancient Roman architecture has been empowering architects for many centuries though their designs and tastes have changed. Most of them tried to find new trends in architecture but they admitted that nothing could be superior to the Roman Pantheon. For many years, people come to Rome to learn the mystery of Roman architecture from ancient manuscripts and architectural monuments that were created by very talented architects.

The Rebirth of New Ideas

Since the Middle Ages, attention of various architects has been captured by the Roman Pantheon. The studies have shown that the interest of people living in the Middle Ages to ancient Roman architecture was tremendous and it continued during the Renaissance (Murphy &? Matthews, 2010, p. 32). The end of the Middle Ages and the start of the Renaissance epoch was the time of revival of cultural life in Europe. The Renaissance empowered architects, writers, painters, and other artistic individuals to wake up and watch the beauty of the world. Thus, one of the first buildings that resembled the Roman Pantheon was the Hagia Sophia which was built in Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey) in the sixth century. Till now it attracts many tourists because of its beauty and greatness. The cathedral’s massive dome was inspired by the Roman Pantheon. The Hagia Sophia both develops its own legacy and extends that one of the Pantheon.

A second famous structure that was inspired by the Roman Pantheon was the Villa La Rotunda in Italy which was built in 1536 in a small town Vincenza. The dome which is located on the building was modeled after the Pantheon. Malacrino (2010, p. 123) assumed that the legacy of the Pantheon`s dome, which started to symbolize the Roman tradition, has spread across the Atlantic Ocean. The main example of this is American Neoclassical architecture. Among the most iconic representations of American Neoclassicism are several buildings that were designed or inspired by Thomas Jefferson. Among them are “The Rotunda” and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The research asserts that the design of the buildings that symbolized American ideals of democracy takes its roots from ancient Greek and Roman architecture (Murphy &? Matthews, 2010, p. 203).

Due to the need to construct new roads, buildings, and bridges architects of different historical periods studied the Ancient Roman techniques in architecture, building and engineering. The growth of cities led to the reproduction of Ancient Roman achievements. Though not all attempts were successful, many of them resembled Ancient Roman masterpieces. Those who studied Ancient Roman architecture tried to reproduce its style in modern Italy, the Middle East, and North Africa (Ulrich &? Quenemoen, 2013, p. 12). The Mediterranean world tried to bring its unique culture and architecture back to life. Thus, rebirth of people’s interest in architecture, music, culture, and arts was the main cause that led to the advancement.

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The Revival of Ancient Roman Techniques in Architecture

The advancement of people’s interest in Ancient Roman architecture empowered them to reproduce its masterpieces. The architects tried to create new monuments and buildings that would resemble the ancient ones. In their work they used new materials and modern engineering techniques. Malacrino (2010, p. 41) assumed that the Roman Pantheon empowered the world masters to review Ancient Roman architectural techniques. The legacy of the triumphal arches of ancient Rome can be observed throughout the world, for example, the Pennsylvania State Memorial, the Pacific Arch in Washington, D.C, and the Wellington Arch in London. The spirit of Ancient Roman Empire empowered architects to memorize important events in the world history by creating buildings, arches and domes similar to the Roman ones.

Not all the attempts to rebirth ancient techniques were successful because it was often hard to rediscover the knowledge of the Ancient Romans and Greeks. A new approach to the old practices and experiences helped in reproduction of more specific details in the modern architecture. During the Renaissance people had a great desire to improve their knowledge of Ancient Roman architecture. Murphy and ? Matthews (2010, p. 120) argue that the Romans used their unique architectural techniques as an essential tool to strengthen their power and superiority.

Years later, people wanted to revive this architectural style in order to express their power too. Many building designs are associated with authorities, as it used to be in the Ancient Rome. Design and construction of many buildings were very similar to the Roman Pantheon. However, all of them are only copies of Ancient Roman masterpieces that are very hard to reproduce. Many historians consider that the materials used by the Ancient Romans are impossible to find (Murphy &? Matthews, 2010, p. 56). Thus, the rediscovered architectural techniques that are used in engineering nowadays show the revival of ancient Roman architectural techniques.

The Evolution of the Roman Style

The evolution of the Roman style continues until nowadays. New archeological discoveries empowered architects to improve their architectural skills and techniques. Historians continue to rediscover the secrets of the ancient Romans. New technology gives an opportunity to build modern buildings, bridges and aqueducts in different parts of the world. Over the past years, experts have been trying to understand, modernize and implement the form of Rome’s production. Numerous studies have shown that modern technological tools provide a new trend in architecture which is very similar to the Roman style (Ulrich &? Quenemoen, 2013, p. 119).

Nowadays, the techniques used by the ancient Roman in road building have received new vision and design. Modern architects, who are well-educated and equipped, try to rediscover the techniques using which durable bridges and tunnels through the rocks had been constructed. Contemporary architectural buildings in America have a flavor of Ancient Rome, though they were built using modern stone and glass. The Ancient Roman architectural approach is especially popular among neo-modernist architects. Recent revival of classical architectural traditions is observed in many American and European cities. Ancient Roman architecture inspires modern architects to design new buildings that would stand as long as the Roman Pantheon.

The world-famous Colosseum, Trajan`s Bridge over the river Danube, aqueducts, amphitheatres, arches and columns attract people and inspire architects from all over the world. According to Ulrich and Quenemoen (2013, p. 123) Roman architecture has shaped modern architecture in many ways throughout the world. Its advancement is still in progress. Many historians came to a conclusion that Ancient Roman techniques have provided guidance to modern architects of different trends and schools. However, there are less common cases when the influence of a particular innovation on future technologies is remarkable. Nowadays, many architects and artists try to understand the factors that made the Ancient Romans create their masterpieces.

Forces Shaping the Role of Ancient Roman Architecture

Modern architects realize that the Romans created their masterpieces in a unique way. Having studied ancient Roman architecture for a long time, scholars and experts came to a conclusion that the methods incorporated by the Romans were unique. Ancient Roman architecture did not die; it continued to exist through the centuries. Moreover, it was advanced by many followers the years later. In spite of numerous destructions, the ideas and techniques of Roman architecture expanded throughout the history. Nowadays, the images of tunnels, bridges, and skyscrapers reveal the Roman style. Ancient Roman architecture is a constant phenomenon.

The architectural ideas of the Romans are used by modern architects all over the world. Many authors claim that the use of different architectural elements such as arch, dome and vault can be observed in different parts of the world (Malacrino, 2010, p. 234). The beauty of Roman architectural masterpieces is unsurpassed. Due to the durability of ancient Roman buildings, arches and domes it can be stated that no other population could overcome them in superiority. Moreover, even years and centuries later many architects were trying to replicate their masterpieces. Their appeal to modern architects is the evidence of ancient Roman architectural efficiency.


The efficiency and durability of ancient Roman architecture was evidenced through the centuries. Modern architects follow ancient Roman traditions. Till now, the Roman Pantheon inspires many architects to build new masterpieces. Ancient Roman architecture, which is now modernized due to the access to modern techniques and new technology, can be seen all over the world. Ancient Roman architecture has been empowering architects for many centuries, though their designs and tasted have changed. Most of them tried to find new trends in architecture but most of them admitted that nothing is superior to the Roman Pantheon. Nowadays, Ancient Roman legacy is seen throughout the world.

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