17 The Baths of Caracalla

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 17 of 24

Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner discusses the increasing size of Roman architecture in the second and third centuries A.D. as an example of a "bigger is better" philosophy. She begins with an overview of tomb architecture, a genre that, in Rome as in Ostia, embraced the aesthetic of exposed brick as a facing for the exteriors of buildings. Interiors of second-century tombs, Professor Kleiner reveals, encompass two primary groups -- those that are decorated with painted stucco and those embellished primarily with architectural elements. After a discussion of the Temple of the Divine Antoninus Pius and Faustina and its post-antique afterlife as the Church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda, Professor Kleiner introduces the Severan dynasty as it ushers in the third century. She focuses first on the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum, the earliest surviving triple-bayed arch in Rome. She next presents the so-called Septizodium, a lively baroque-style facade for Domitian's Palace on the Palatine Hill. The lecture concludes with the colossal Baths of Caracalla, which awed the public by their size and by a decorative program that assimilated the emperor Caracalla to the hero Hercules

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

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