Constructing the Ancient World

Constructing the Ancient World

Architectural Techniques of the Greeks and Romans

Book - 2010
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Blackwell Publishing
A fascinating and accessible overview of the engineering innovations that macie possible the great architectural monuments of Grece-Roman antiquity

Architectural Remains are among the most important archaeological evidence we have from Greco-Roman antiquity, helping us to understand the values and the technology of the societies that created them. In this richly illustrated book, Carmelo G. Malacrino relies on architectural remains as well as on ancient literary and historical sources to present a wide-ranging overview of the materials and techniques used by ancient Greek and Roman builders from the third century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.

The author begins by examining the variety of materials used in ancient buildings and discussing how these materials varied across time and geographical location, often giving a regional look to architecture. From the Greeks' early employment of wood, plant materials, and clay to their adoption of stone as the principal building material in the seventh century B.C. Malacrino traces the development of increasingly sophisticated technologies to quarry and prepare stones for shipment to their building sites.

The theme of construction technology occupies the central part of the book, with a discussion of the Greeks' mastery of the process of working with white marbles, the material preferred by the leading architects of antiquity. The Greeks devised several ingenious methods for transporting materials from quarries to building sites, including inclined roads that were specially paved to act as slipways and underwater suspension systems set between two ships. They also invented hoisting systems for raising and positioning monumental elements. The Romans not only expanded on the engineering experiments of the Greeks but also developed their own methods and materials, such as their version of concrete (opus caementicium), which was used to make the vaulted roof of the Pantheon, an advance unequaled for many centuries

Malacrino devotes the final chapters to construction methods for hydraulic systems, roads, and bridges necessary to support growing urban centers. The Greeks' early efforts in transporting water and in building roads were surpassed by the Romans' vast network of thoroughfares and elevated aqueducts, the infrastructure needed to bind together a far-flung empire. With their invention of a system for heating their baths, the Romans paved the way for the cultural phenomenon of communal bathing as a central event in daily urban life.

Using straightforward language and clear descriptions of construction processes, accompanied by detailed drawings of the technologies discussed. Malacrino reveals how the ancient Greeks and Romans were able to produce such technically sophisticated and monumental projects, and how modern architectural engineers are indebted to their ancient counterparts.

Oxford University Press
This fascinating book provides a chronological overview of the methods and materials employed in Greek and Roman architecture from the third century B.C. through the fifth century A.D. The first half of the book, devoted to Greek architectural techniques, traces the development and uses of building materials throughout the Aegean region. The author highlights key innovations, such as the replacement of wooden structures by those made of stone and the development of hoisting systems for moving large blocks of stone. The Romans not only expanded on the engineering experiments of the Greeks but also developed their own construction methods and materials, as seen in the second half of the book. For instance the Romans' version of concrete was used to make the Colosseum and the vaulted roof of the Pantheon, an advance unequaled for many centuries.
Constructing the Ancient World includes a wealth of illustrations of surviving structures, accompanied by concise explanations of the discovery, significance, and historical details along with precise drawings that clearly illustrate the various techniques under discussion.

Publisher: Los Angeles, Calif. : J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010
Description: 216 p. : col. ill., col. maps ; 27 cm
ISBN: 9781606060162
Branch Call Number: 690.0938 Mal


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May 18, 2012

A lavishly illustrated book with photographs and helpful drawings to complement the text. The bibliography is well organized and lengthy.

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