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Roman Architecture

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ROMAN ARCHITECTURE. The early Romans can scarcely be said to have possessed any style of architecture of their own, but borrowed their ideas ot' building first flout . the Etruscans, and, at a later period, front the Greeks. In the time of Romulus, their buildings would seem to have been of the most rude description, their dwelling-houses being composed chiefly of straw, and thence termed culmina ; and at a somewhat later period, even their temples were only small square erections scarcely large enough to contain the statue of the deity.

Aliens Martins was the first king who commenced works of a larger class requiring skill in their construction, and his first attempt was the construction of the city and port of Ostia, at the month of the Tiber. Ta•quin the Elder brought with him the skill and enterprise of the Etruscans, and set about improving the city with energy and perseverance ; his first work was to erect the grand circus ; he also constructed the walls of the city with large hewn stones, and commenced the great cloaca, or public sewer, as well as the tenpin of Jupiter Capitolinus, which was continued by Se•vius fins, who also enlarged the city. Tarquinius Superbus yielded to none of his predecessors in the decoration and improvement of the city. During his reign the circus was completed, as was also the cloaca maxima, which was consi dered one of the wonders of the world, and still remains as a monument of the enterprising spirit of the Tarquins. It was constructed of wrought stone, and was of such dimen sions, that a wagon loaded with hay could pass through it ; and was carried through rocks and under hills, and many were the engineering difficulties overcome in its construction. The temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was not completed till after the expulsion of the kings, but was considerably advanced by this king.

After this period, some of the principal works Wel'C—the completion of the Capitol, commenced by Tarquinius, the formation of the Campus Martins, and the outlet for the relief of the lake Alba. in the year 3S9, n. c., the city was burned

by Brennu-;, which afforded an opportunity for rebuilding it in a more convenient and sumptuous manner ; but unfortu nately, the opportunity was not taken advantage of and the houses were erected after a more irregular plan than they had previously been ; for whereas, in the old city, the public sewers ran tinder the roadway ; in its re-edification, the streets were laid out without any reference to this arrange ment—a want of consideration, the effects of which were greatly felt at a subsequent period.

During the censorship of Appius Claudius, 309 n.c., the first paved road was laid by the Romans ; it extended from Rome to Capna, and afterwards to Brundusium, a length of 350 miles, and is to be seen at the present day. It was 14 feet in width, and about 3 feet deep, being composed of three thicknesses, the lower one consisting of rough stones grouted together, the second of gravel, and the third of stones of vari ous dimensions, but so accurately pointed, as to have the appearance of a single stone. The credit of constructing the first aqueduct also belongs to this censor, by which a supply of water was conveyed from Pranteste to Rome, by means of a deep subterraneous channel upwards of 11 miles in length. During the two first Punic wars, many temples were erected, but they do not appear to have been of great magnificence. Cato adorned the city with a basilica, which he named Portia, and Sempronius erected a second, which was called after his Own name.

The censors Fulvius Flaccus and A. Postufnius Albinus, contributed much to the embellishment of the city ; they paved it, adorned it with porticos, enlarged the circus, and made public ways and bridges on the outside. At this period, the more wealthy Romans began to live oat of the city, and build country-residences, which were,in many cases, of considerable extent and luxurious decoration. To such an extent was the magnificence of these villas carried at last, that, we find Cicero in the habit of employing no less than two architects.

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