22 The Tetrarchic Renaissance

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 22 of 24

Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner characterizes third-century Rome as an "architectural wasteland" due to the rapid change of emperors, continuous civil war, and a crumbling economy. There was no time to build and the only major architectural commission was a new defensive wall. The crisis came to an end with the rise of Diocletian, who created a new form of government called the Tetrarchy, or four-man rule, with two leaders in the East and two in the West. Diocletian and his colleagues instituted a major public and private building campaign in Rome and the provinces, which reflected the Empire's renewed stability. Professor Kleiner begins with Diocletian's commissions in Rome--a five-column monument dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the formation of the Tetrarchy, the restoration of the Curia or Senate House, and the monumental Baths of Diocletian. She then presents Diocletian's Palace at Split, designed as a military camp and including the emperor's octagonal mausoleum, followed by an overview of the palaces and villas of other tetrarchs in Greece and Sicily. Professor Kleiner concludes with the villa on the Via Appia in Rome belonging to Maxentius, son of a tetrarch, and the main rival of another tetrarch's son, Constantine the Great.

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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