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University of Central Lancashire

Selected Topic: I

Classical Architecture: Greece Begets Rome

Submitted by: Charlie Leung Pui Lam BSc (Hons) Architectural Studies AO2005 Architectural History and Theory 2 Course Tutor: Mr. Jeff Fan 29th July 2018

The Grenfell-Baines School of Architecture Construction and Environment | VTC (SHAPE)

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Classical Architecture: Greece Begets Rome By Charlie Leung Pui-lam

“’Greece’ and ‘Rome’ are related but sequential phenomena…they are different in aim and achievement, based upon evolving, not merely repetitive values.” –Roman Art and Architecture (Sir Mortimer Wheeler, p.24, 1964)

Abstract During the period of 146 B.C. to 330 A.D., Greeks and Romans were in opposite pole. Although Romans disagree with Greek’s delicate, they saturated with Greeks thought and their design idea, which influence Roman to establish a mature building technology. Greek are romantic and attach great importance to philosophy, all their designs are chase for proportional, harmony, perfection, and take gods as the center. Alternatively, Roman are more concern about practical issue, well combination with the structure and function. Up to now, the development of Greek and Roman architecture becomes the origin of classical architecture. In this essay, we are going to explore the Greek and Rome architecture on Baths by comparing their common and differentiate on building technology, architectural features and style. Keywords: Greek, Roman, classical architecture, building technology


Introduction Classical architecture, originated from Ancient Greek, however, it was well-developed and refined by Roman. Greeks are particular about the manner and etiquette, while Roman advocates military force and fierce. Base on the cultural difference, people may not hard to realize the social status of a human during the Ancient Greek and Roman from different perspective and positioning by travels along those architectures. Under any circumstances, gods always come first with Greeks. They anthropomorphized the power of nature, and believed that all natural phenomena were mastered by gods. Therefore, Greek architectures are built with mythical element, imaginative and idealistic. On the other hand, Roman regarding on fulfillment and regulation establishment. After Roman conquered Greece at 146 B.C., they transplanted great amount of the high quality of art and culture from Greek into their own ethnic group. Those building technologies becomes mature because of the continuous improvement and new



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materials invention by Roman, such as Roman concrete (Latin: opus caementitium) According to Quintus Horatius Flaccus[1], “Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio.”- Latin [2] “Greece, the captive, made her savage victor captive, and brought the arts into rustic Latium[3]” It is believed that Roman was deeply influenced by Greek, no matter on cultural, technical, astronomy and religious level. For example, most of the Greek Gods and Goddesses were adopted by Roman. Also, it reflected that the architecture development processes of Roman were changed from simple to complicated, from rational thought to vision space. 2

Building Type 2.1

Bath “The history of public baths begins in Greece in the sixth century B.C.," – The book of the bath (Françoise de Bonneville, 1998). Bathing culture was rooted deeply to the Ancient Greek and the Roman. The Ancient Greeks and Roman believed that bodily cleanliness was an essential condition to achieve good hygiene and good health, therefore bathing culture was formed. When the development scale on baths getting bigger, the baths became a space not only for body cleaning, but also a gathering point for the community in Ancient Rome. 2.1.1 The Origin of Bathing Culture In Greece, the first such baths were served for the athletes, which located in the open air in the shade of olive trees, near the palaestra (wrestling school) and exedra (a room as in a temple or house used for conversation and formed by an open or columned recess often semicircular in shape and furnished with seats). Referring to the stamnos paint (Fig.1) in 440-430B.C., which shows that three women performing the eternally

Fig.1 Jar (stamnos) with female athletes

graceful gesture of bathing with louterion (a large basin). bathing, Greek, Classical Period 440– They splashed themselves with water from it.

430 B.C.

[1] Quintus Horatius Flaccus: Horace, the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus [2] Horace, Epistles 2.1.156, in Horace : Satires, Epistles, and Ars Poetica (1929) edited and translated by H. R. Fairclough, p. 408 [3] Latium: the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire, which was located on the left bank of the River Tiber, extending northward to the River Anio and southeastward to the Pomptina Palus.



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2.1.2 Development In Greece, people believed that cold water was a symbol of health, so hot thermal bath was seldom used in the past. However, people started to discover the possibility on both hot and cold baths in Ancient Rome. During the Ancient Rome, the bathing culture was changed. The Romans turned the focus on the issue of beauty satisfaction rather than to maintain their health or to keep clean only. Moreover, public and private baths were both existing in the Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. In Ancient Rome, the balneae (Bath-houses) and the thermae (Thermal baths) were facilities for bathing. The balneae in Rome were small-scale facilities for private villas, town houses, and forts. At the very beginning, the balneae were private business and built by patrician, which charged for admission. However, pressure from the authorities soon turned philanthropy into civic duty; the thermae, refers to the large imperial bath complex, which were often furnished with open spaces and gardens.

Fig.2 Bathtub, Ancient Greece (Display in: Palais Paphos Museum)

Fig.3 Bathroom, The Palace of Knossos, Crete, Greece

2.1.3 Bath Type Private Baths In Ancient Greece, private baths only served for the noble. According to the research from Dr. Stella Nenova


, the first bath the world oldest bathtub (approximately

1700-1400B.C.) was found in the Palace of Knossos during 1870s, which located in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. It was the first bath for the queen also. Referring to the picture from the bathroom in the Palace of Knossos (Fig.3), there were dolphin mosaic on the wall. Regarding to the photo (Fig.4), mythical story wall art and bright color tune was applied in throne room, that means Greeks are keen to use color rendering to represent their imaginative thought. Actually, the Greek baths were usually decorated with mosaics, and the floors paved with pumice-stone to protect their feet; massages were also available after bathing. [4] Stella Nenova: Professeur de Lettres Classiques at Collège Privé St. Charles, M.A. in Ancient Religions and Cultures at New Bulgarian University, and Ph.D. in Ancient History at University of Veliko Tarnovo CLASSICAL ARCHITECTURE: GREECE BEGETS ROME


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Fig.4 Throne Room, The Palace of Knossos, Crete, Greece

Fig.5 Plan of Knossos, Crete, Greece Public Baths Greek Public Baths As we know, the history of bath in Ancient Greece begins with Gymnasium. The oldest building complex of baths for athletes was found in Olympia, west of the sanctuary, near the bank of Cladeos and dates back to the mid-5th century B.C. Referring to the photo (Fig.6), Fig.6 Aoytpo Tymnaeioy, Greece

it shows that the bath was arranged in sequence and aligned to the boundary, which reflected that Greeks were not really aware of the designation on internal space, too simplify. The development on bathing culture was quite slow during the Ancient Greece, they are usually simple and small building complex, therefore the Greek baths could adaptable and accommodate for very few users only. Ancient Gortyna, one of cities in Arcadia, also a

Fig.7 Baths in Ancient Gortyna, Arcadia, Greece

well-known healing center of the whole Greek. The thermae in Gortyna could simultaneously serve thermal baths for around 30 people. Regarding to the photography (Fig.7), the stones were working with clean cut surface, it has been proved that Greeks were very skillful at cutting stone into different sizes and carving



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them into various shapes; Greeks built the rubble masonry walls gently by mature techniques. It is surprised that circular structure is observed during the Ancient Greek, as it baths were mostly rectangular planning and rigid form. In Ancient Greece, stone was the most common material for the public building, such as temples, theatres and baths etc. Clay was seldom applied for bathing architecture, but for sanitary fitments, for example, bathtubs, basin etc. Roman Public Baths Unlike Greece, baths became places for socializing and Fig. 8 Plan of Old baths, Pompeii

developed as huge complex of community centre in Ancient Rome. Many famous baths had been built

LEGEND A — atrium

a, a2, a3 — entrances to men's baths

B — apodyterium

b — entrance to women's baths

during that prosperous period, like Baths of Caracalla

C — frigidarium

c, c2 — entrances to furnace rooms


D — tepidarium

d — circular furnace

E — caldarium

e — passages

F — thermal chamber

f — probably an oecus or exedra

G — women's tepidarium

g — portico

H — women's apodyterium

h — walls

J — women's cold bath

i — small room

K — the servants' atrium

m — small vestibule

M — chamber for

q — passage to the furnace room

fornacatores (persons in

r — mouth of the furnace

charge of the fires)

x — water closet

, Stabian Baths of Pompeii


, Baths of Diocletian


etc. Professor Diana E.E. Kleiner


States, “These early

Roman baths there was a separation between the men's section of the baths, and the women's section of the baths…in Ancient Pompeii, the women's section was quite nondescript. It was much smaller than the men's, at least they had one. But it was smaller than the men's, and the rooms had no architectural distinction whatsoever. All of the designer's effort went into creating a wonderful set of rooms for the men.…” [9] As the women had faced gender discrimination in Ancient Roman, there was only a few spacing designated for women in the early Roman baths. Alternatively, men had higher social status, they became the target users in the design of baths, and received priority to enjoy most of the facilities.

Fig. 9 3D plan of the Stabian Baths, Pompeii


[5] Baths of Caracalla: Rome, Italy, AD 212 [6] Stabian Baths: Pompeii, Rome, 120BC [7] Baths of Diocletian: Regione VI Alta Semita, Rome ,298 AD [8] Diana E.E. Kleiner: Professor in the History of Art and Classics at Yale University and the Founding Director of Open Yale Courses [9] Open Yale Course: 4.5 Bath Complexes at Pompeii, Roman Architecture, University of Yale UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE∣CHARLIE LEUNG PUI-LAM

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Structure of the bath became complicated and wide ranging. Roman bath can be divided into three main parts, including caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (warm room), and frigidarium (cool bath). Some of the public baths included sudatorium (sweat room) and laconicum (dry sweating room) also. The spatial quality had been improved while the internal connections were built. From the plan of an old baths at Pompeii (Fig.8), a series Fig. 10 Barrel vaulted ceilings of south-east corner of men’s caldarium and tepidarium, Stabian Baths, Pompeii. (by Michael Binns, 2012)

of room have been found which correspond to the rectangular boundary. The planning of all rooms were rectangular and squarish. The atrium was placed at the center point. For the cold room of both old baths and Stabian Baths at Pompeii, they were round structure with radiating alcoves, not only a dome, there was a hole in the ceiling, light passing through the structure by an oculus. The skylight in the apse (Fig.13) may help to regulate the temperature. It is not hard to find that design of Ancient Roman architecture was more aware of environmental conditions, form of life and their interaction, those ideas were converted into practical planning.

Fig. 12 South end of men’s caldarium (by Michael Binns 2012)

Fig. 13 Stabian Baths, Pompeii. (by Giorgio Sommer, 19th century)


Fig. 11 A Favourite Custom by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1909 (Oil on wood)


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The above painting, A Favourite Custom (Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1909) tried to showcase a real scene in the frigidarium of Stabian baths at Pompeii. It had been proved that the baths in Ancient Rome were richly decorated, such as marble pavement, mosaic wall finish/ art. However, Romans keen on using single tone inside the building, which leads the people to feel the sense of distance. Fig. 14 Floor supports of Men’s tepidarium

As Romans constructed aqueducts, so there was adequate water supplied for huge number of baths users. In the design on baths, they used the underground spacing for water storage.

Fig. 15 Recess in east wall at base of men’s tepidarium, Stabian Baths, Pompeii

The wall was built with different layers, which is a Roman Incertum walling style, by using irregular shaped and random placed uncut stones or tuff blocks into a core of Opus caementicum. Alternatively, the Greek walls are usually constructed in single layering.

Fig. 18 Baths of the Forum in Pompeii

The general layout for the Forum Baths was designed and built similarly to the Stabian Baths

Fig. 16 Cold bath and steps, Stabian Baths, Pompeii

Fig. 19 Baths of Trajan, Rome, 104 A.D.

Regarding to the picture, some of the

Later on, Romans invented an ingenious system of clerestory windows. And primary Roman Tuscan was formed.

painting are remain on smooth surface of the concrete wall, with blue and red color. CLASSICAL ARCHITECTURE: GREECE BEGETS ROME


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Compare with the construction methods between Greeks, Romans tried to improve the building technology from Greek. And then, Romans had a well-developed skill on construct arches, dome and vault, they invented roman concrete and brick. Although Greeks grasped the technique on making arches, they discarding to it, so nearly most of the public building from Ancient Greeks were with flatten roof top. Arches Fig. 17 Wall decoration, Men’s tepidarium, Stabian Baths, Pompeii

can span large area, which help the builder to create an

extensive spacing. Roman take an advance of this kind Both Greeks and Romans love to carve on of building technique and modified it into barrel vault. the wall as an ornament. Especially dome and barrel vault, it became significant structural features in Ancient Roman architecture. Those features and techniques were wildly applied during the Roman empire.



After review the above cases, it is believe that the architecture development from Ancient Greek to Ancient Roman was a process to bring rational thought to vision space. Base on the culture difference, you may observe that the design of Greeks was always single perspective – gods always come first with Greeks. For Roman, human is more powerful, so that their design was formed according to the social status, and considers the form of life, lighting control, human comfort, surrounding environment, natural conditions etc. Besides, Romans adopted the building technology from Greeks as their own, modified and perfection on it. They were successful to make good use of the barrel vault, it makes people to feel awe and the sense of distance. Also, invention of new material allows the baths or other public building to be diversify and more durable. Finally, Romans redefined the meaning of Baths, from gymnasium into social community centre, the embodiment of value on bathing architecture.



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Book [1] Roman Art and Architecture, 1964, Mortimer Wheeler, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London [2] A Concise history of western architecture, 1984, Jordan, R. Furneaux., Harcourt, Brace & World [3] The Book of the Bath, 1998, Françoise de Bonneville, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London [4] Subterranean Rome, 2000, Ivana Della Portella, Konemann, Cologne, 50-55 [5] A Short History of Ancient Greece, 2014, P.J. Rhodes, I.B. Tauris, London [6] Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture (20th Edition), 1996, Banister Fletcher, Routledge [7] Architectural Styles A Visual Guide, 2014, Owen Hopkins, Laurence King Publishing Ltd, London, 6-15 Website [1] Materials Used in Ancient Greek Architecture | Synonym [2] Ancient World Alive [3] Forum Baths - Parco Archeologico di Pompei [4] Knossos Crete | Knossos Palace [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] Stabian Baths | AD79eruption Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema 1836-1912 | Tate Ancient Gortyn - Megalopoli of Arcadia The Ancient Greek Monumental Construction | Ancient Greek Architecture 4.5 Bath Complexes at Pompeii – Roman Architecture | Coursera



Fig. 1

Greek Athletes | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Fig. 2

Artefacts – Greek Baths | David Allsop Classics

Fig. 3

Dolphin mosaic in a bathroom at the Palace of Knossos - Picture of The Palace of Knossos, Heraklion TripAdvisor sos-Heraklion_Crete.html



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Fig. 4

First bath - Picture of Knossos Archaeological Site, Heraklion - TripAdvisor gical_Site-Heraklion_Crete.html

Fig. 5

Knossos Ground Plan | Ancient Wisdom

Fig. 6

Λουτρά στην αρχαία Ελλάδα | ξωτικο

Fig. 7

Ancient Gortyn - Megalopoli of Arcadia Fig. 8

古羅馬浴場 | Wikiwand

Fig. 9

Baths & Bathing as an Ancient Roman | University of Washington

Fig. 10

Barrel vaulted ceilings | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 11

A Favourite Custom | TATE

Fig. 12

South end of west end of men’s calidarium | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 13

Stabian Baths, Pompeii | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 14

Floor supports in Men’s tepidarium | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 15

Recess in Men’s tepidarium | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 16

Cold bath and steps | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 17

Wall decoration, Men’s tepidarium | Pompeiiin Pictures

Fig. 18

Baths of the Forum in Pompeii

Fig. 19

Bruno Tours Private Guide of Rome & Italy Ancient Thermal Baths Tour | Bruno Tours



Profile for Charlie Leung

Classical Architecture: Greece Begets Rome  

Classical Architecture: Greece Begets Rome by Charlie Leung Pui-lam (UCLan)

Classical Architecture: Greece Begets Rome  

Classical Architecture: Greece Begets Rome by Charlie Leung Pui-lam (UCLan)