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Studies in Roman architecture: Configuring the classical orders
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study describes the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders as subsystems, which were configured according to the desired effect of the system, i.e. the architecture. This follows what Vitruvius termed decor and was dependent on either physical factors, convention or custom. The most important in this context was convention. Consequently, traditions of adorning buildings with certain columns and beams are being explored here.

A major point is to emphasize the post-depositional processes, mainly in the form of the Renaissance studies of ancient Roman architecture, which through an unbroken tradition, have set the standards for many modern handbooks on the subject and thus have formed our own perception of it. The main objective is therefore to treat principally archaeology, i.e. the monuments. A large amount of archaeological data is collected and patterns of use in, among and between the orders are being explored.

The first case study ("The Roman Blattkelch capital: typology, origin and aspects of employment") deals with modifications of the Corinthian order, in which an alien element (the Blattkelch capital) was adopted to express qualities that the conventional Corinthian order failed to do-probably due to its gradually more extensive use. These qualities included cultural identity, and the ability to define architectural space in a milieu with a multiple use of the standard, configured, Corinthian order.

"Superimposed orders: the use of the architectural orders in multi-storeyed structures of the Roman Imperial era" treats the columnar setting with superimposed Tuscan/Doric, Ionic and Cornithian orders, known as the "theatre motif". It is argued that this is a Renaissance concept and that an archaeological study reveals quite a different use of orders in superimposed columnar displays. These patterns of modulations (the sequence or replacement of one order with another) are instead dependent on the architectural context. For instance, superimposed Tuscan orders were often used in amphitheatres, while superimposed Corinthian may be seen in theatres. I further propose that the few ancient examples of the "theatre motif" that do exist, were probably influenced by the important theatre of Pompey in Rome.

The third case study ("Rustication and decor in Roman architecture and their reflection in the architecture of the 16th century, with special attention to their use in the classical orders"), which deals with rusticated architectural members, further elaborates on the non-canonical modifications of the orders. Here, modifications within the orders in terms of form and manipulation of the stone are described as means of emphasizing the plain and robust qualities of the Tuscan and Doric orders. This made the Tuscan/Doric orders suited mainly for buildings connected with the agro-economic sector and the spheres of the arena and war, all according to what was considered proper-decor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 138 p.
Keyword [en]
Archaeology, Architecture, classical architecture, Roman archaeology, classical archaeology, column, capital, ornamentation
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-790ISBN: 99-3261018-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-790DiVA: diva2:170307
Public defence
2000-09-08, Gustavianum, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2000-08-18 Created: 2000-08-18Bibliographically approved

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