Classical Period

Paolo Vitti

Building Roman Greece. Innovation in vaulted construction in the Peloponnese.

Vincitore del XVII Premio L'ERMA.

Studia Archaeologica, 206
2016, 432 pp., 120 ill. col., 80 ill. b/n
Paperback, 17 x 24 cm
Vincitore del XVII Premio L'ERMA
ISBN: 9788891309518
ISSN: 0081-6299

€ 300,00
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  • Abstract
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  • Abstract

    About the book
    This book discusses a selection of 29 vaulted Roman buildings in the Peloponnese dating from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD. The research was carried out over a period of ten years through the summer of 2013. It was awarded the "Grand Prix" of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/ Europa Nostra Award in May 2014.

    This work fills a gap in the study of Roman construction, which has generally failed to seek innovation in building techniques outside of Central Italy. The research has revealed the importance of Roman architecture in the Peloponnese and its contribution to the development of construction techniques. The significance of these structures had been hitherto only partially recognised and understood, because the few publications to have dealt in any depth with Roman architecture in the Peloponnese were conditioned by an excessive focus on the city of Rome, attributing only relative importance to the specific nature of local building traditions.

    For the first time, a study systematically and analytically evaluates Roman construction in Greece. Most of the buildings included in the study had not been previously analysed nor were they even known to specialists. In earlier discussions of Roman architecture in Greece, the construction aspects had been treated cursorily. Scholars were basically focused on comparisons with Rome, thus failing to understand the peculiarities of the construction process. This study offers a detailed layout of the ways in which solid-brick vaulting and concrete vaulting were employed, showing that local workmen were experienced and expert enough to use inventiveness in dealing with technical and structural problems, thus creating a construction tradition distinct from the one in use in Rome. The author analyses on one hand the Italic construction tradition and on the other, the development of a local construction techniques, which were also influenced by eastern vaulting tradition imported from Parthia.

    The new methodological approach of the research is based on on-site study, with sketches, drawings and descriptions, through which it was possible to recognise and understand the construction solutions adopted in each building. The first-hand observations and technical drawings and/or descriptions of the construction characteristics eventually made it possible to identify and understand a building style based on the widespread use of brick for walls and vaults that was to become particularly influential in the late antique period, when Eastern building techniques became more markedly different from the ones adopted in the Western part of the Empire.

    This methodology becomes a reference point for future research on similar regional contexts and historical periods that share the same construction principles, rooted in the use of mortar as a bonding material.

    About the author
    is an architect and historian. He has been studying and working on Cultural Heritage Restoration since 1984, and particularly on archaeological monuments in Italy, Greece, and Turkey as well as on medieval monuments in Italy and Cyprus. He is interested in both the theoretical and professional aspects of architectural and archaeological restoration. As a practising architect, he has designed many restoration projects on archaeological and medieval sites located in Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

  • Table of Contents

    CONTENTS.
    LIST OF FIGURES AND PLATES
    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    INTRODUCTION
    METHODOLOGY AND PREVIOUS SCHOLARSHIP
    ABSTRACT
    chapter 1: VAULTED CONSTRUCTION IN ROME
    Foreword
    1.2 Roman mortared masonry
    1.2 Concrete vaulting in Republican and Imperial Rome
    1.2.1 Republican period
    1.2.2 Imperial Period
    1.2.3 The use of brick for vaulting in Rome
    Chapter 2. BUILDING ACTIVITY AND PATRONAGE IN ROMAN PELOPONNESE
    Foreword
    2.1 The region
    2.2 Cities
    2.3 The spread of Rome's architectural models
    2.4 The spread of bath buildings
    2.5 Imperial and Private Euergetism
    Chapter 3. ROMAN VAULTING AND CONSTRUCTION IN THE PELOPONNESE. CASE STUDIES
    Foreword
    3.1 Argos
    3.1.1 The Great Hall of the Cult Complex (Bath A)
    3.1.2 The Service Corridors of Bath A
    3.1.3 The Access Ramp to Bath A
    3.1.4 The Odeon of Argos
    3.1.5 Hadrian's Aqueduct
    3.1.6 The Nymphaeum-Castellum aquae on the Larissa hill
    3.1.7 The Drains in the agora
    3.1.8 The Iseum
    3.2 Troezen
    3.2.1 The Cistern/Castellum acquae
    3.2.2 The Museion
    3.2.3 The Mausoleum RG1
    3.2.4 The Mausoleum RG2
    3.2.5 The Mausoleum RG3
    3.2.6 The Mausoleum RG4
    3.2.7 The Mausoleum RG5
    3.3 The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
    3.3.1 The Odeon of the sanctuary of Epidaurus
    3.3.2 The northwest bath complex
    3.3.3 The northeast bath
    3.4 Corinth
    3.4.1 The aqueduct from Stymphalos
    3.4.2 The Great Bath on the Lechaion Road
    3.4.3 The baths north of the Peribolos of Apollo
    3.4.4 The Odeon of Corinth
    3.5 Gytheion
    3.5.1 The cistern of the aqueduct
    3.6 Isthmia-Zevgolatio
    3.6.1 The baths of Zevgolatio
    3.7 Patras
    3.7.1 The mausoleum of Marcia Maxima
    3.7.2 The aqueducts of Patras
    3.8 Thouria in Messenia
    3.8.1 The bath on the Pamisos valley
    3.9 Corone
    3.9.1 The mausoleum on the Acropolis
    3.10 Sparta
    3.10.1 The Roman Stoa
    3.10.2 The "Arapissa" bath complex
    Chapter 4. ROMAN VAULTING IN THE PELOPONNESE: EXCEPTIO PROBAT REGULAM IN CASIBUS NON EXCEPTIS
    Foreword
    PART 1
    4.1 Architectural forms
    4.1.1 Barrel vaults
    4.1.2 Cloister vaults
    4.1.3 Groin (Cross) vaults
    4.1.4 Domes and semi-domes
    4.1.5 Sail (domical) vaults
    4.1.6 Rampart vaults
    4.2 Vaulting techniques in the Peloponnese
    4.2.1 Concrete Vaults
    4.2.2 Stone Arches and Vaults
    4.2.3 Solid-brick vaults laid radially
    4.2.4 Solid-brick vaults set vertically or pitched
    4.2.5 Mixed vaults (radial-bricks and vertical/pitched-bricks)
    4.3 Techniques for reducing the centering
    4.3.1 Radial solid brick vaults
    4.3.2 Vertical-/pitched-brick vaults
    4.3.3 Concrete vaults
    PART 2
    4.4 The making of the brick vaulting tradition
    4.4.1 Concrete versus brick vaulting in the Pelopponnese
    4.4.2 Vitruvius and the Greek tradition for solid wall brick construction
    4.4.3 The Latin tradition for solid-brick wall construction: Vitruvius and the archaeological evidence
    4.4.4 Rubble masonry with brick and stone facing
    4.4.5 The fired-brick construction in the Province of Achaia: walls, arches, vaults
    4.4.6 Pitched-/vertical-brick vaulting: an Eastern technique imported to the Peloponnese
    4.4.7 Other vaulting techniques used in the Peloponnese
    PART 3
    4.5 The rule: solid-brick vaulting
    4.6 Concrete vaulting: Rome in the Peloponnese
    4.7 Structural purpose for the use of brick in concrete
    CONCLUSIONS
    APPENDIX. A CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ
    1. Concrete Vaults
    2. Stone Arches and Vaults
    3. Solid-brick vaults laid radially
    4. Solid-brick vaults set vertically or pitched
    5. Mixed vaults (radial-bricks and vertical/pitched-bricks)
    REFERENCES

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