The Axiality Of Greek Architecture In The Etruscans, Greek And Rome

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There is extensive overlap between Mediterranean cultures, such as the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans, due to their close proximity to each other. As a result, the monumental architecture of these societies share common characteristics, some of which are adopted from previous societies. The axiality of Etruscan architecture greatly impacted the construction and orientation Roman structures built during the Roman Empire. The massive proportions and prominent colonnades of Greek temples also reappear later in Roman temple, illustrating the connection between the two cultures. Although architects appear to create, or invent, new structures, they often adopt aspects from pre-existing buildings previously known to the society and incorporate them…show more content…
New architectural forms, such as Roman temples, are not isolated inventions specific to a singular culture, but rather a unique combination of elements borrowed from the Etruscans and Greeks, shared through forms of information exchange, such as the unification of the Roman Empire. There are various forms of Roman temples, but many are defined by their axial orientation, stemming from Etruscan architecture and exemplified by the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus. Augustus came into power during a time when Rome was extremely run down and corrupted. As a result, he began to transform Rome by cleaning up the city and rebuilding structures, ultimately changing the city to the grand center it came to be. Augustus did not invent the Roman temple by any means, but he drew attention to it by emphasizing the forum surrounding the temple. The Forum of Augustus, where the Temple of Mars Ultor resides, is adjacent to the Forum of Caesar, establishing his power as a ruler as well as paying tribute to his predecessor. The temple sits at the end of an axis, directly across from the entrance to the forum. The steps leading up to the temple…show more content…
As the Roman Empire spread, it eventually encompassed the area the Greeks used to control, bringing them in contact with Greek architecture. Closely following the Greek temples, a classic Roman temple is made up of four main components: the steps, the colonnade, the portico and the cella. Greek temples were built with massive steps to be used by the gods, not humans, on all four sides of the temple. Romans borrowed the idea of steps leading up to the temple, but transformed it to fit their own needs by building the steps small enough for humans. This alteration allows the temple to be more accessible by humans, reinforcing the relationship between the members of Roman society and the gods. In addition to the steps, the Temple of Mars Ultor consists of “eight Corinthian columns in front and along the flanks…omitting two rows of columns created space for a generous entrance.” The colonnade is a very prominent similarity between Roman and Greek temples because of the sheer size of the columns and their location on the temple. When approaching the temple from the axial Roman forum, the colonnade is the first visible element, clearly separating the divine from the secular. The height of the colonnade gives the impression that the temple is built as a house for the gods by representing power

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