The Life of Jesus in Harmony
- The Romans were probably the greatest architects of the ancient world.
- They borrowed almost all their architectural forms and building techniques
from earlier civilizations but had so changed and modified them that by the 1st
cent. AD they had created a unique style that would greatly influence the
- The style was based on the arch, the vault, and the dome.
- All made possible by a Roman invention, concrete, that did not buckle under
the stresses of the huge structures.
- Civil engineering was another highly developed skill.
- City planners laid out towns supplied with elaborate systems of aqueducts and sewers.
- Cities were connected by vast networks of solidly constructed roads.
- By the middle of the first century AD, the concrete and brick arch had
become not only the means for erecting larger buildings but also an expression of
sheer architectural beauty.
The Pantheon (Rome's Masterpiece)
- A temple built in honor of all the gods of the universe in 125 AD at the
request of the emperor Hadrian.
- It is the masterpiece of Roman architecture both aesthetically and
- It is not known exactly how the building was erected but like most Roman
buildings its basic ingredients are brick and concrete.
- Hidden within the walls is a framework of brick arches to support the weight
of the dome.
- There is no windows except one opening in the center through which light and
- To provide fresh water for the many public baths and private consumers,
aqueducts were constructed to conduct water from the hills down into the city.
- Most of the aqueducts had underground conduits, or pipes,
- A few were bridges with open concrete canals such as the three tiered Pont
du Gard in Nimes, France.
- The arch enabled them to span any river or gorge.
- The bridges and aqueducts they built were meant to be functional, but they
are also among the most beautiful ever built.
- The most imposing structure built in Rome was the Colosseum.
- This huge amphitheater (double theater) with seating all around
- The arena is also known as the Flavian amphitheater because it was built
during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD).
- The murderous battles of man-and-man and man-and-animal were staged in the
- The oval arena (287 x 180 feet) was surrounded by a 15 foot wall and had
deep cells and cellars below.
- It had three tiers of arches, plus a top story with superimposed Doric,
ionic, and Corinthian half-columns.
- The 45,000 spectators were protected from rain or fierce sun by huge canvas
awnings fixed to masts secured to the topmost rim.
- After nearly two thousand years of pillage by other builders who used it as
a quarry for building churches, palaces, and houses, the Colosseum still
remains a lasting monument to the indestructible solidity of Roman architecture.
Pleasures of the Arena
- By the beginning of the 2nd cent. AD, the Romans seemed to care about little except food and circuses.
- Food was a necessity, but circuses became an addiction of every class in the
- The mania for chariot racing knew no geographical limits.
- Thousands of spectators in every part of the empire attended the races to
cheer on the drivers.
- Drivers rode under certain colors.
- Only the wealthiest citizens could afford to keep stables of horses with
attendants, trainers, grooms, and chariot makers to produce winners.
- The opportunity to bet on the races added to their popularity.
- Adding to the excitement was the virtual certainty that, on any given day,
at least one charioteer strapped to his reins would mess up on a turn, and
either be dragged to his death, or cause a spectacular chain reaction of accidents.
- Only the desire to watch gladiators die, equaled the chariot races in
- Roman emperors devoted many days to these events because of the popularity
of the arena.
- Eventually, many citizens were spending as many as 150 of the year in
stadiums or amphi-theaters watching charioteers race, animals being tortured and
butchered, and desperate men kill each other.
A Day at the Colosseum
- The usual program for a day at the Colosseum would begin with the "venatio,"
(an event that featured wild animals).
- The animals might be pitted against each other, or sent into the arena to
mangle defenseless humans, but the typical display was a simulated hunt during
which animals were stalked by "bestiarii"
-specialists armed with spears, bows and arrows, and other weapons. (always
lots of blood)
- As many as 5000 animals may have died during one day of major festivals such
as the inauguration of the Colosseum in 80 AD.
- To keep amphitheaters supplied, a great trade in wild beasts developed.
- Many species virtually disappeared from their home regions of North Africa
and the Middle East.
- The animal displays were merely used to wet the audience's appetite for the
main attraction-the gladiatorial bouts.
- Roman gladiators were specially trained performers, mostly captured war
prisoners, who fought to stay alive a little longer.
- The gladiators specialized in peculiar forms of fighting:
- For the most part, these games aroused brutal passions and blood lust in the
Roman people and created a class of lazy loungers who did nothing but attend
The helmeted figure in the transparency was called a "samnis." He wore a
sleeve of leather or metal with a shoulder piece on the right arm, a belt, greaves
on the legs, a vizored helmet with crest, and carried a shield and short sword.
- the "retiarus" armed with a net, dagger, and a trident (three pronged pitch
fork) usually fought the:
- the "secutor" who was armed only with sword and shield and a helmet on his
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