A Synopsis of Architecture

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Principle Works in Ancient Greece

Being now arrived at the third division of our subject, we will enumerate, in the first place, some of the principal states and towns in Greece, Italy, and the adjacent islands, distinguished for architectural excellence, mentioning the most important works in each; and the names of such of their inhabitants as were celebrated as architects or sculptors. We will then proceed to detail the orders and other parts of the architecture comprehended in these edifices.

In the Peloponnesus

Epidaurus, a town of Argolis, was famous for a temple dedicated to Æsculapius.

Amyclæ, in Laconia, possessed a splendid temple of Apollo.

Bassæ, near Phigalia, in Arcadia, was famous for a Temple of Apollo Epicurius.

Corinth was celebrated for an uncommonly rich display of architectural beauty, and gave rise to the elegant order which takes its name.

Olympia, a town of Elis, was famous for a Temple of Jupiter Olympius, to whom were dedicated the Olympic Games, which were celebrated every fifth year; these games were the chief; the others being the Pythian, near Delphi, in honour of Apollo; the Isthmian, on the Isthmus of Corinth, in honour of Neptune; and the Nemean, at Nemea, in honour of Hercules. The exercises used at these games were running; leaping; boxing; quoits; wrestling.

There was also a contest in which boxing and wrestling were united, called pancratium.

The place where the exercises were exhibited, and the Athletæ, and youth trained, was called the Stadium, or palæstra.

There were uncovered walks attached to the Greek palæstra, peridromides.

The apartment for exercising the youth, ephebeum.

The dressing and undressing room, apodyterium.

The apartment for anointing, elaeothesium.

The apartment for sprinkling the combatants with sand after anointing, conisterium.

That part of the Stadium where the horse and chariot races were performed was called hippodromus; the course began at the carcer, and ended at the meta.

To the palæstræ were frequently attached baths, comprising a frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium, laconicum, and sometimes a natatio.

The prize in these games was a palm branch, palma, which was carried in the hand of the Victor. At the Olympic Games it was a wreath of wild olive; at the Pythian, a crown of laurel; at the Isthmian, a garland of pine leaves; and at the Nemean, a crown of parsley. The athletic games among the Greeks were called iselastic, because the victors, drawn in a chariot with white horses, and wearing crowns on their heads, were conducted with great pomp into their respective cities, which they entered through a breach made in the walls for that purpose.

In GrÆCia Propria

Athens, the chief city of Attica, was founded by Cecrops, A.C, 1556. Its harbours were the, Piræus, fortified with a wall, enclosing the town and harbour; this port had five porticoes connected, called long portico; the Munychia, and the Phalerum.

This city was the seat of learning, the arts, and sciences, which were carried to the summit of perfection by the assiduity of Pericles; and within its circumference were contained the following most elegant classical works:

The acropolis, or citadel, which was built by Cecrops, contained several magnificent edifices in the centre stood the Temple of Minerva, Parthenon,or Hecatompedon, of the Doric order. It was built of marble; and on the front of the entrance were beautifully represented, in alto relievo, the circumstances relating to the birth of Minerva. In the metopes were sculptured the combats of the Centaurs and Lapithæ. This temple contained the colossal statue of Minerva, worked by Phidias in gold and ivory.

Principal Doric Buildings
The Opisthodomus, or Public Treasury.

The Temple of Minerva without wings, called Nike.

The vestibules to the citadel, Propylæa

The Temple of Theseus, built by Cimon; in the metopes of the east front were represented ten of the labours of Hercules, and on the returns of the portico, eight of the achievements of Theseus himself, four on each side.

The choragic Monument of Thrasyllus.

The Temple of Augustus.

The Doric Portico.

Principal Ionic Buildings
The temple on the banks of the Ilissus.

The Temple of Neptune, surnamed Erectheus, which contained a salt spring. Minerva Polias, protectress of the city. Pandrosus, dedicated to Pandrosus, daughter of Cecrops.

The Temple of Ceres.

The Aqueduct of Hadrian.

Principal Corinthian Buildings
The choragic Monument of Lysicrates, or Lantern of Demosthenes; round the frieze was represented the story of Bacchus and the Tyrrhenian pirates, in basso relievo.

The octagon Tower of Andronicus Cyrrhestes, or Tower of the Eight Winds, which were represented by figures on the frieze.

Boreas - North
Caecias - North-east
Subsolanus - East
Eurus - South-east
Notus - South
Libs - South-west
Occidens - West
Corus - North-west

The Stoa Poecile from the various curious paintings it contained by eminent masters; in these paintings were represented the taking of Troy; the succours given by the Athenians to the Heraclidæ; their battles with the Lacedæmonians at Oenöe, with the Persians at Marathon, and with the Amazons in Athens. At the entrance was the Statue of Solon.

The Arch of Hadrian

The Monument of Philopappus

The Temple of Jupiter Olympius.

We will now proceed to notice the Greek Agora, or Forum, which was principally appropriated to the meetings of the senate, and the assemblies of the people; in many instances it also served as a market and trading place, and consisted usually of,

1. The open Space, or Agora.
2. The Basilica, the Hall of Judicature.
3. The Temple of Isis.
4. The Temple of Mercury.
5. The Entrance to the Senate House.
6. The Senate House.
7. The Treasury.
8. The Prison.
9. Double Porticoes for merchants and other traders to meet.

The Gymnasia were capacious buildings, consisting of several parts; a palæstra, and porticus, with exedrae, and seats for spectators; the sphæristerium, a place appropriated to the exercise of the ball; also apartments for philosophers and professors in the arts to deliver their lectures; these Gymnasia were surrounded with uncovered walks, a garden, and a sacred grove; the chief were the Lyceum, the Academia, and the Cynosarges.

The theatres of the Greeks were usually of a semicircular form, and divided into the following principal parts :

the stage.
retiring and dressing room.
scene room above the stage.
a room under the stage, where were brazen vessels filled with stones, with which they imitated the noise of thunder.

Orchestra, where were performed the dances and the chorusses; in the centre was the [greek], or pulpit, under which was the [greek], for the music.

Cavea, for the spectators, divided into three parts, one above the other; the lowest for persons of distinction and magistrates, the middle for commoners, the uppermost for females. These ranges were separated by passages. Behind the cavea porticoes were formed as a retreat for the spectators in case of rain.

The Theatre of Bacchus, and the Odeum of Regilla, were the most celebrated.

The dwelling-houses of the Greeks commonly consisted of the following divisions on the ground floor; they were sometimes raised more than one story in height, so that stairs must have been used; but their situation on the plan has never been exactly ascertained.

a. Thyroreum, entrance passage.
b. Stabula, stables.
c. Cellae ostiarii, porter's lodges.
d. Courts.
e. Peristyle of the Gynæconitis, or portion allotted for the women.
f. Common triclinia.
g. Pastas, or vestibule.
h. Thalamus.
i. Amphitlalamus.
k. Square oeci
l. Great oecus.
m. Mesaulae.
n. Hospitalia, rooms for guests.
o. Vestibule.
p. Great peristyle.
q. Bibliotheca, library.
r. Exedrae, rooms for conversation.
s. Cyzicene Oecus, dining hall.
t. Pinacothecae, picture rooms.

Mesaulæ were the courts forming the separation between the andronitis, the men's apartments, and the gynæconitis, the rooms for the women.

Eleusis, a town of Attica; here was a temple of Ceres and Proserpine, which, with the three temples before-mentioned, viz., Diana at Ephesus, Apollo at Miletus, and Jupiter Olympius at Athens, were considered the four most beautiful in antiquity.

Thæbæ, the principal city of Boeotia, was distinguished for its seven gates, hence called septem portas habens.

Delphi, a town of Phocis, was famous for the Oracle of Apollo, and a temple built. by Trophonius.

Thessalonica, a city of Macedonia, presents the remains of a Corinthian building, called the Incantada, whose peculiarity consists in the addition of an attic above the Order.

Near Sunium, a promontory of Attica, stood a Doric temple of Minerva.

In the island of Aegina was a Doric temple of Jupiter Panhellenius.

In Ægina and Sicily

The island of Sicily afforded many ancient works of art.

Syracuse, its capital was built A.C. 732, by Archias of Corinth. Here was a Doric temple of Minerva. Ancient subterraneous vaults or catacombs are also to be found; they are cut through strata of soft stone, in long alleys. At stated distances were circular rooms, with an aperture in the roof to admit light and air: in the walls of these rooms were recesses to receive the dead.

The Lautumiæ was a prison of immense extent, cut out of the solid rock.

The Ear of Dionysius, also an excavation out of a rock.

At Agrigentum, another city of Sicily, were the Doric temples of Juno Lucina, Concord, and Venus.

At Selinus were three Doric temples, one of which was three hundred and thirty feet long, and tliirty-nine wide.

At Segesta was also a Doric temple.

The general style or order of the ancient temple was chosen according to the deity to whom it was dedicated. Thus, they were circular, to Vesta, Sol, Luna; open, to Jupiter; Doric, to Mars, Minerva, Hercules; Ionic, to Juno, Diana, Bacchus, Corinthian, to Venus, Flora, and the Muses.

Grecian Architects and Sculptors

Among the principal Greek architects may be enumerated:

Daedalus, who constructed the Cretan Labyrinth (1240 BC)

Epeus (1209 BC)

Hermogenes of Caria (895 BC)

Theodarus (718 BC)

Trophonius of Boeotia and Agamedes who built the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (546 BC)
Spinthdrus of Corinth (546 BC)

Ctesiphon of Athens, the Temple of Diana at Ephesus (544 BC)

Libon, the Temple of Jupiter Olympius (457 BC)

Ictinus and Callicartes, the Parthenon (442 BC)

Satyrus and Petus, the Tomb of Mausolus (356 BC)

Dinocrates of Macedonia, the City of Alexandria in Egypt (331 BC)

Sostritus of Cnidos, theWatch-Tower of Pharos (269 BC)

Hermodorus of Salamis (103 BC)

Nicomedes (90 BC)

Among the principal sculptors are the following, whose names we cite, as their art, from its abundant use in the Grecian public buildings, is united most intimately with that of our present subject.

Anthermus of Chios (539 BC)

Bupälus of Clazomene (538 BC)

Callimachus, inventor of the Corinthian Capital (532 BC)

Alcamenes, two celebrated bass reliefs of Pentelican marble and colossal size, Hercules and Minerva (448 BC)

Phidias, the Statue of Jupiter, at Olympia, and Minerva, at Athens (445 BC)

Scopas (430 BC)

Lysippus of Sicyon (350 BC)

Chares, the Colossus at Rhodes (345 BC)

Praxiteles, a celebrated Statue of Venus (340 BC)

Polycletes of Sicyon (232 BC)

Euphranor of Corinth (176 BC)

Arcesilaus (72 BC)

Diogenes (28 BC)

Agesander of Rhodes & Polydorus & Athenodorus, the statue of the Laocoon (AD 76)

Principle Works in Ancient Italy


Rome was founded A.C. 752 by Romulus; it was called Septicollis, being built upon seven hills. Romulus built only on the Palatine; Tullus added the Caelian; Ancus Marcius, the Janiculum and Aventine; Servius Tullius, the Viminal, Quirinal, and Esquiline. Besides these, there were also the Vatican and Capitoline Mounts; on the latter was built the Capitol, comprising temples to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva: near these were the Temples of Terminus, Jupiter Feretritis, and the Cottage of Romulus and Remus. Below the Capitol, (the descent from which was by one hundred steps), was the ancient Forum, comprising the Comitium, or that part of it, where the assemblies of the people were held; the Curia or Senate House; the Columna Milliaris, whence distances were reckoned by the viae or roads to different parts of the empire. Around the Forum, were situated Basilicae, wherein the Courts of Justice sat; porticoes were likewise attached, adapted to the purposes of exercise, and for the transaction of business. There were also the Fora Augusti, Trajani, and Nervae, all which were used for the purposes of markets.

Of the temples in Rome, the following are the most celebrated.

Of the Ionic Order.
The Temple of Concord.

The Temple of Fortuna Virilis.

Of the Corinthian Order.
The Temple of Jupiter Stator.

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina.

The Temple of Mars Ultor.

The Temple of Peace.

The Temple of Vesta.

The Temple of Jupiter Tonans, which was erected to Jove the Thunderer, by Augustus, in commemoration of his escape from lightning on his return from Spain, when a slave was killed close by his side.

The double temple of Rome and Venus.

The Basilica of Antoninus.

The Temple of Bacchus, of the composite Order, and that of Faunus, of the Ionic and Corinthian, were both of a circular figure.

The Pantheon was a temple dedicated to all the gods; it was of a circular form, with seven Exedræ, or Chapels, in the interior: the Corinthian Portico is supposed to have been built by Marcus Agrippa, as would appear from the following inscription visible on the frieze: M. AGRIPPA, L. F. Cos. tertium, Fecit.

The Temple of Janus, dedicated to that deity, built by Numa Pompilius, which was open only in time of war.

The Temples of Minerva Medica, and Venus Erycina.

The principal amphitheatre in Rome was built by Vespasian and Titus, and called the Coliseum; it comprised four heights of orders, the Tuscan, Ionic, and two Corinthian; and was an elliptical building of immense extent. The space allotted for the combats of the gladiators was called the Arena, which, as a security against the irruption of the wild beasts, was surrounded with a canal, an iron railing, and a low wall: the part round the Arena was called the Podium, where the senators sat; here also was the seat of the emperor, called the Suggestum, elevated like a tribunal, and covered with a canopy, denominated the Cubiculum: the Podium was raised ten or fifteen feet above the wall which surrounded the Arena. The Equites sat in fourteen rows behind the senators; the seats of both were covered with cushions; the people were ranged behind all; their seats of stone, without covering, were called Popularii, the entrances to them, Vomitoria.

The Theatre of Marcellus was also a large semicircular theatre, consisting of two heights of orders, Doric and Ionic.

The Circus Maximus, built by Tarquinius Priscus, was a building of a compound figure with parallel sides, one end semicircular, and the other segmental, appropriated to foot, horse, and chariot races in common; at one extremity were several openings, from which the horses started, at a point called the Carcer; in the middle of the Circus, and nearly the whole of its length, was a low wall, called Spina, at either end of which were three columns on one base, called Metæ, and round these the horses and chariots turned, leaving the Spina and Metæ always on their left hand.

    Sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
    Collegisse juvat, metaque fervidis
    Evitata rotis, palmaque nobilis
    Terrarum dominos evehit ad Deos.
    Horace, Lib. I. Carmen 1.

In the middle of the Spina was an obelisk, brought from Egypt, and raised in the Circus by Augustus. Near the first Meta, whence the horses started, were seven other columns, called Falæ, one of which was taken down for each round, as the chariots were usually driven seven times round the course. The exercises in the Pentathlon, or Quinquertium, (cursus, saltus, pugilatus, lucta, disci jactus,) were performed in the Circus. The venationes, or combats of animals with each other, and those of gladiators with wild beasts, (bestiarii), were also exhibited there. The representation of sea fights, (naumachia), was also made in the Circus Maximus, and in the Naumachia Domitiani.

The Circi Flaminii, Antonini, and Aureliani, were also celebrated edifices.

The Romans had Palæstræ much resembling those of the Greeks; the uncovered walks attached to them were called Xysti.

The Roman theatres were in the form of a semicircle; the Scena, or part for the actors, consisted of--

Postscenium, space behind the stage.
Pulpitum, where was the declamation.
Proscenium, where the pantomimes were performed.
Orchestra, where were the dances.

The scenery was concealed by a curtain, (aulaeum), which was drawn down, (premebatur), when the play began, and drawn up, (tollebatur), when the play was finished. The part for the spectators was called the Cavea, the seats, (cunei), were raised one above the other; the passages separating the different ranges were termed Præcinctiones.

Rome boasted of several Triumphal Arches and Porticoes.

Of the Corinthian Order
Arch of Constantine.
Portico of Octavia.
Portico of Septimius Severus.
Frontispiece of Nero.

Of the Composite Order
Arch of Titus.
Arch of Septimitis Severus, adorned with bass reliefs representing the triumph of Severus over the Parthians.
Arch of the Goldsmiths, adorned with Composite pilasters.

The triumphal columns of celebrity were those of Trajan and Antonine, of the Doric Order; and a rostrated column erected in honour of Duilins.

The Thermæ or Baths, were very magnificent, the basin, (lacus), wherein they bathed was called (Piscina) the reservoir, (Castellum): they contained also peristyles, groves, saloons, and reading-rooms; the most celebrated were those of Agrippa, Caracalla, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Dioclesian, Constantine, and Paulus Aemilius.

The principal Tombs were those of Augustus, Hadrian, Caius Cestius, Cecilia Metella, and Alexander Severus.

Bridges were very numerous in and near Rome; the chief were the Pons Aelius, built by Hadrian; Pons Æmilius, built by Antonine, of white marble; Pons Senatorius or Palatinus, finished by Lucius Mummius; Pons Triumphalis, passed over by the victors at the games, and others who triumphed, on their way to the Capitol.

The Aqueducts were works of great celebrity, the chief of which were the Aqua Appia, and the Aqua Claudia, the latter conveyed the water from Tusculum to Rome, a distance of seven or eight miles. Some of these aqueducts consisted of long ranges of arches, placed in rows one above the other, the whole structure in some parts being one hundred feet high.

The Cloaca Maxima or Great Sewer, for draining the city, was begun by Tarquinius Priscus, and completed by Tarquinius Superbus. It was an immense arched drain, which extended under the principal streets of the city, and branched by smaller channels into all the surrounding lanes and less frequented parts into the Tiber.

We must also mention their public paved ways, called Viæ the principal of which was the Via Appia, called the Regina Viarum, proceeding from Rome to Capua, and thence to Brundusium. The Via Flaminia, through Etruria and Umbria to Ariminum. The Via Aurelia, along the coast of Etruria. These Viæ were divided into three parts, the central division was paved for pedestrians, and that on either side gravelled for carriages and horsemen. Small stones were placed at certain distances to assist persons to mount on horseback, and higher ones, called Milliaria, were occasionally added for the purpose of marking distances.

The private houses of the Romans shall be next considered, they consisted generally of--

    b. Atrium, Great Hall
    c. Aloe Atrii, Wings of Hall
    d. Cellze Familiaricae
    e. Courts of the Offices
    f. Tablinum, Place for Records
    g. Cavaedium
    h. Exedra.
    i. Bibliotheca
    k. Cyzicene Oecus
    1. Gardens
    m. Pinacotheca.
    n. Embroidery Room
    o. Peristyle Impluvium
    p. Vernal (triclinia)
    q. Summer (triclinia)
    r. Winter (triclinia)
    s. Cella frigidaria, cold bath
    t. Calida piscina, tepid bath
    v. Cella tepidaria, warm bath
    w. Cella Caldaria, or Laconica, Sudatories
    x. Cubicula, Bedchambers

Their Villas were each divided into three parts, Urbana, Rustica, and Fructuaria. The first contained chambers, baths, tennis-courts, (coryceum), terraces and Xysti. The second contained accommodations for the various servants and workmen, stables, etc. The third consisted of oil and wine cellars, granaries, store-houses, and repositories for preserving fruits.

Adjoining to the Villa Rustica, were places for keeping fowls, gallinarium; geese, chenoboscium ducks and wild fowls, nessotrophium; birds, aviarium; bees, apiarium; pigsties, suile. There were also flower and kitchen gardens, hortus pinguis; and a park for deer and wild animals, theriotrophium.

Laurentium, Tiber, Tusculum

At Laurentinum was the winter Villa of the younger Pliny, on the sea coast: it was beautifully situated and surrounded with gardens, and a Gestatio or Circus was added for the exercises of riding and driving. Pliny had also a magnificent summer Villa in Tuscany.

At Tiber, now Tivoli, was a Corinthian temple of the Tiburtine Sybil; here were also the ruins of a Villa built by Hadrian; and some remains still exist of the Villa of Mæcenas; near this place it is believed, stood the Villa and farm of Horace.

At Tusculum was a Villa of Cicero, called Tusculanum. Between Naples and Mount Vesuvius are magnificent and interesting relics of the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Baiæ, Verona, Pæstum

At Baiæ was the Pons Baianus, a bridge of boats, constructed by Caligula.

Verona presents the remains of a celebrated amphitheatre of an elliptical figure, and consisting of three heights of arcades with pilasters.

Pæstum is famous for three ancient temples of the Grecian Doric Order.

Remains in France, Spain, &c.

Before we conclude this branch of our subject, we will advert to the ancient relics still existing at Nismes in France, La Maison Carrée, and the celebrated aqueduct called Le Pont du Gard, which consisted of three rows of arches, one above the other, the whole height being one hundred and eighty feet.

A Bridge of a single arch over the Allier in France, near Brioude in Auvergne, the abutments of which were one hundred and ninety feet distant from each other.

At Paris are the remains of an edifice, supposed to have formed the baths connected with the palace of the Emperor Julian.

A Bridge built over the Tagus, near Alcantara in Spain, in the time of Trajan.

Across the Rhine, was a wooden bridge, built by Julius Caesar.

The Pons Trajani across the Danube, was famous for its size and magnificence. Upon it were inscribed the words; "Providentia Augusti vere Pontificis, Virtus Romana quid non domet? Sub jugo ecce rapidus Danubius."

Salonæ, the 'principal city of Dalmatia, was celebrated for the ruins of a palace of Dioclesian, near Spalatro.

Roman Architects, and the Ten Modern Masters

Among the principal Roman architects, may be enumerated Cossutius who followed the Grecian style, and was employed by Antiochus the Great to finish the Temple of Jupiter Olympiae at Athens, A. C. 196.

Scaurus, who built many splendid theatres; Curio, who constructed moveable theatres, so that two could be brought together to form an amphitheatre.

M. Vitruvius Pollio, A. C. 45.

Valerius, who built the Pantheon.

Celer and Severus, the Golden Palace of Nero.

Rabirius, a palace of Dioclesian.

Frontinus, Aqueducts in the reign of Nerva.

Apollodorus of Damascus, Trajan's Column and Bridge across the Danube.

Detrianus, in the reign of Hadrian.

Isidorus & Anthemius, in the reign of Justinian, built, the Church Della Santa Sophia, at Constantinople.

Palladio, Scamozzi, Vignola, Alberti, De Lorme, Serlio, Viola, Cataneo, Boullant, Barbaro, were called the ten modern masters.

The Roman sculptors were not very celebrated, most of the ancient works in that city being wrought by Grecian artists.




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