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How did the Romans become so successful, creating buildings and monuments that still visually impact on the viewer?  Through centuries of experimentation and identifying what worked, using local materials and aspiring to other forms and ideas from their immediate neighbors, then empires and kingdoms with which they interacted, traded, fought. 

One of the key documents that we possess today is the Augustan-age author and architect Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture.  He outlines and demonstrates the discipline of architecture as we know it today, looking at natural landscape, local materials, planning, with specific examples. He delves into theory, music, mathematics, logic, oratory, machines and construction of sacred and profane architecture. His is a quintessential document, and a great place to start.

Frontinus, in the reign of Nerva, sets forth in his book, On Aqueducts,  the engineering and management of the aqueducts of Rome. Again, his specificity details the construction and maintenance of the water supply of Rome.  

In recent decades, the classic works of Lanciani, Lugli, Ward-Perkins and MacDonald have been joined by the next generation of engineer-architects that have gleaned more detail and knowledge of Roman building: WM Jones, Lynne Lancaster, Janet DeLaine, A. Claridge.

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Introduction to Ancient Roman Architecture & Engineering” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 10/24/2019.


Created by The American Institute of Roman Culture, published on 10/24/2019 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.