Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

of Augustus, the architect of the original temple would not have run counter to that style, and have been guilty of the incongruity of placing an octastyle portico in front of a circular cella. In all Grecian temples the naos or cella was rectangular. • The temples of ancient Rome,' as Mr. Merivale remarks, were all, as far as we can trace them, constructed on the Grecian pattern, that is, generally in oblong masses of masonry, with long low roofs, corresponding with the apex of the pediment.' The original building had suffered by fire in the time of Titus; and in Trajan's reign it was injured by lightning ; but in the reign of Septimius Severus it would appear to have been completely destroyed, for the express words of the inscription are 'vetustate corruptum' (destroyed by age). Hence the necessity of a complete restoration; and this restoration consisted in the building of a new temple in a circular form, and with a domical roof. Of Roman temples being restored in a different style from the original, we have an instance in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. The temple was originally built in the Etruscan style, the front being low, with the columns wide apart ; but in the age of Diocletian it was restored with lofty columns, and in the Corinthian style. There is, therefore, a strong presumption in favour of the view, as suggested by Mr. Fergusson, that the original temple, in the time of Augustus, was rectangular, and being destroyed by age, it was restored by Septimius Severus and Caracalla in its present state, with a domed vault, which was the prevailing style of that age. These domed vaults, with caissons or panels, such as we see in the laconicum of the baths of Caracalla, and in the basilica of Maxentius, appear to argue late imperial times. Mr. Fergusson has further pointed out some features of the building which are peculiarities of a late age. First, that the masonry of the rotunda is full of constructive discharging arches, which are characteristics of a late age. Secondly, the cutting through the entablature by the arches of the great niches, which were becoming a characteristic of the style of the age to which he would assign the building. An instance of this feature occurs in the palace of Diocletian, at Spalatro. The reservoir, to carry off the rain which came through the roof, would show that the centre opening was intended to allow the rain to fall on the pavement, and was not closed by a clipeus, as the vault of a laconicum would be. The pumice-stone used in the roof would also argue a late date. We find it extensively used in the vaulted roofs of the baths of Caracalla. Another consideration is, how could Augustus say that he found Rome in brick and left it in marble, if the most remarkable temple of his reign was built almost completely of brick? The original temple, there is every reason to believe, was consequently built of marble. It is a remarkable circumstance that Vitruvius, when describing the circular temples of Rome, never alludes to the Pantheon, which he surely would have done if it had been built in the time of Augustus, when he himself lived. Lastly, which completely puts aside the bath theory, Pliny and Macrobius call the Pantheon a temple.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

NOTHING can give us a greater idea of the gigantic scale on which the Romans raised their buildings than the baths erected by the Roman Emperors. Almost all their structures, aqueducts, palaces, baths, temples, amphitheatres, were on the same grand and extensive scale. Such was the extent of the baths that they were likened by Ammianus Marcellinus to provinces.

'The buildings of Rome,' writes Mr. Fergusson, surpass in scale those of Egypt, and in variety those of Greece. In constructive ingenuity they far surpass anything the world had seen up to that time. In all cases,' he adds, 'these buildings display far more evidence of wealth and power than of taste and refinement, and all exhibit traces of that haste to enjoy which seems incompatible with the correct elaboration of anything that is to be truly great. Notwithstanding all this, there is a greatness in the mass, a grandeur in the conception, and a certain expression of power in all these Roman remains, which never fail to strike the beholder with awe, and force admiration from him despite his better judgment. Much of the extent and magnificence of the architectural works of the Romans is attributable to their knowledge and use of the arch, and to their employment of brick, of which almost all their structures were built. The arch, the vaulted roof or dome, were the glories of the Roman architect.

Therma, or Public Baths, may be considered as essentially an imperial institution. They began and ended with imperial times. The simplicity of early times did not require such luxurious structures and appliances. The Tiber answered for many generations all the purposes of health and exercise, but as luxury and luxurious habits increased, these splendid establishments became a necessity to the Roman people. It was under the reign of Augustus that the first Roman baths were built by Agrippa in B.C. 24 in the Campus Martius. He brought the Aqua Virgo into the city on purpose to supply his baths. They are spoken of by the Roman poets as one of the most populous resorts of the citizens, and the water enjoyed the reputation of being the coldest and freshest in the whole city. Pliny informs us he had the apoxuomenos of Lysippus placed in front of them. He also ordered paintings, set in marble, to be placed in the laconicum. After his death he bequeathed these baths and his pleasure grounds to the Roman people. Remains of these still exist

near the Pantheon. Nero, and afterwards Titus, followed the example of Agrippa. The baths of Nero were near those of Agrippa, and covered a vast extent of ground. The baths of Titus were erected in 80 A.D., on the site of the palace of Nero on the Esquiline. He availed himself of the earlier buildings to form the substructures of his baths. They are said to have covered an area of 1,150 by 850 feet. Trajan also erected baths on the same hill to the north-east of those of Titus. Caracalla commenced his extensive baths" about A.D. 212. They were enlarged by Heliogabalus and completed by Alexander Severus. These, however, were surpassed by the magnificent thermæ erected by Diocletian, A.D. 302, and finished by Constantius and Maximian. They were of immense size, covering a space of 150,000 square yards, and containing marble seats for 3,200 bathers, being double the number of those which the thermæ of Caracalla accommodated. The central hall or tepidarium was of magnificent size and proportion: the roof was 120 feet high, and was supported by colossal columns of red granite. Ammianus Marcellinus speaks of sixteen thermæ in Rome in the age of Constantius II.

Before describing in more detail the baths of Caracalla, we must give a short description of the arrangement of Roman therma. In the first place we must remark that thermæ are to be distinguished from balnea. The latter were simply baths, and had none of the luxurious accessories of the more extensive therme.

The thermæ of Imperial Rome were not alone baths on the grandest scale of refinement or luxury; they also included promenades, planted with trees, and covered alleys in which the idle took the fresh air.

« PredošláPokračovať »