Monumentality and the Roman Empire: Architecture in the Antonine Age

Monumentality and the Roman Empire: Architecture in the Antonine Age


By (author) Edmund Thomas

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 408 pages
  • Dimensions: 220mm x 276mm x 30mm | 1,479g
  • Publication date: 6 January 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199288631
  • ISBN 13: 9780199288632
  • Illustrations note: 200 figures, 6 maps

Product description

The quality of 'monumentality' is attributed to the buildings of few historical epochs or cultures more frequently or consistently than to those of the Roman Empire. It is this quality that has helped to make them enduring models for builders of later periods. This extensively illustrated book, the first full-length study of the concept of monumentality in Classical Antiquity, asks what it is that the notion encompasses and how significant it was for the Romans themselves in moulding their individual or collective aspirations and identities. Although no single word existed in antiquity for the qualities that modern authors regard as making up that term, its Latin derivation - from monumentum, 'a monument' - attests plainly to the presence of the concept in the mentalities of ancient Romans, and the development of that notion through the Roman era laid the foundation for the classical ideal of monumentality, which reached a height in early modern Europe. This book is also the first full-length study of architecture in the Antonine Age - when it is generally agreed the Roman Empire was at its height. By exploring the public architecture of Roman Italy and both Western and Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire from the point of view of the benefactors who funded such buildings, the architects who designed them, and the public who used and experienced them, Edmund Thomas analyses the reasons why Roman builders sought to construct monumental buildings and uncovers the close link between architectural monumentality and the identity and ideology of the Roman Empire itself.

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Author information

Edmund Thomas is Lecturer in Ancient Visual and Material Culture, University of Durham.

Review quote

Seldom have I read a book containing on the one hand such a broad and extensive overview of Antonine architecture and, on the other, such an abundance of information about selected aspects of the topic ... However, the present book sets new standards for how Antonine architecture should be addressed ... such a well-written book deserves to be read by many scholars, students and interested readers in general. Rubina Raja, Ancient West & East the scope of this book is precisely defined Penelope J. Goodman

Table of contents

Introduction ; I. MONUMENTAL FORM ; 1. Principles of monumental form in antiquity ; 2. The contribution of Antoninus Pius ; 3. The symbolic significance of monumental forms under the Antonines ; 4. Patrons and the monumentality of architecture ; 5. Creating form: architects in the Antonine age ; Conclusion ; II. MONUMENTS OF CITY AND EMPIRE ; 6. Buildings, politics, and the monumentality of Antonine cities ; 7. The cities and the emperor ; 8. Imperial architecture ; Conclusion ; III. MONUMENTS AND MEMORY ; 9. The monuments of the past ; 10. Building the monuments of the future ; Conclusion ; IV. RESPONSES TO MONUMENTS ; 11. Experiencing and responding to public architecture ; 12. The architectural descriptions of Lucian of Samosata ; Conclusion ; CONCLUSION