Discovering the Roman Provinces

The dining room (triclinium) of Herod’s Third Palace at Jericho with impressions of the stone inlays in the white-mud floor. / Courtesy of the Jericho and Cypros Expedition, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem/ by Zeev Radovan

Lecture by Dr. Diana E.E. Kleiner / 02.28.2009
Dunham Professor, History of Art and Classics
Yale University


We begin with the Roman city of Corinth, which is in Greece. This is great for anyone who is fairly well steeped in Greek culture, as well as Roman culture and civilization, who might want to look back at a Greek city, a city that was already very built up under the Greeks, as early as the Archaic Period. This is a view, for example, of the Greek Archaic Temple at Corinth. So a Greek city, a very well developed Greek city, that is eventually taken over by the Romans, and the Romans remake it in the Roman manner. They add typical Roman buildings to it, create a kind of mini Rome, in Greece. But it’s interesting to see the way in which those new buildings blend with those that were built there earlier.

Isthmus of Corinth / Photo by Finaglo, Wikimedia Commons

Temple of Apollo at Corinth / Wikimedia Commons

I also mention here not only the Archaic Temple at Corinth, but also the so-called Isthmus at Corinth. You might remember, from our conversation about Julius Caesar and the architecture that he built, that Julius Caesar was the one who built a canal at the Isthmus of Corinth. And the canal that is still visible and used at Corinth today–which you see an excellent view of on the left-hand side of the screen–is essentially the same canal that was built initially, or begun initially, by Julius Caesar. So that gives you some sense of a Roman addition to the scene. And I show you just one other example. There are quite a number of buildings preserved from Corinth, Roman buildings.

Ruins of Roman baths at Corinth / Wikimedia Commons

I show you, for example, a view of the remains of the Roman Baths at Corinth. And what’s interesting about these–and you can pick this out on your own already, just by looking at this one view–what’s interesting about these is although they look back to Roman bath architecture, in Italy, you can see that this bath is made entirely of cut-stone construction, which is quite different from either the small baths we saw at Pompeii, the Stabian Baths or the Forum Baths, or the later imperial baths — the Baths of Titus, for example, that we’ve already explored, where concrete construction was used. Here stone was used. Why was stone used? Because there was a very long tradition, already begun in Greece, from the Archaic Period through the Classical Period to the Hellenistic Period, of using stone for architecture. And the architects, in this particular part of the world, because stone was so readily available–and especially marble, but other kinds of stone as well–so readily available, and because the architects and designers in this part of the world were so skilled at carving stone, it was natural for them to use stone in their construction.

So we see that they are not seduced by concrete domes and the like–don’t use concrete in their architecture, which you’re going to see, not only today but in the future, is really an Italian phenomenon. Concrete is picked up very sparingly in the Roman provinces. Stone construction tends to be the norm, for the most part, and we see that at Corinth. So the whole question of building materials becomes very important. But one would ask oneself, if one looked at the Baths at Corinth for example, what is the plan like? How similar is it to the small baths that we saw at Pompeii? How similar is it to the imperial bath building, that we saw the symmetrical and axial–imperial bath building that we saw, for example, under Titus. What kinds of materials was it made of? What is the layout of rooms; the men’s section, women’s section? All the obvious questions that you would want to put to this particular structure.

Reverse of coin of Gordianus with the temple of Artemesis at Ephesus / Wikimedia Commons

Also in the eastern part of the Empire, the city of Ephesus, in what was ancient Asia Minor, modern Turkey, on the western coast of Turkey. An extraordinary place. It too had a very long history, not only historical and cultural and political, but also in terms of its architecture; built up already in the Greek period, just as Greece itself was. And one of the most famous temples at Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis, at Ephesus. And I show you a coin of that temple here. It was renowned worldwide, and pilgrims came from all over the Hellenistic and Roman world, to see it. And I show you a representation on this coin of what the Temple of Artemis, in Ephesus, looked like.

Artemis of Ephesus cult statue, 1st century CE Roman copy of the cult statue of the Temple of Ephesus. / Museum of Efes (Turkey).

Fountain of Diana of Ephesus, Tivoli, Villa d’Este / Photo by Yair Haklai, Wikimedia Commons

And you can see on the coin image that it had eight columns across the front. They were Ionic columns; at least at one point. It was rebuilt over a number of years and that got changed over time. But we see it here, with its Ionic columns, with its pedimental decoration, and with the columns spread out in the center, in order to reveal the cult statue of Artemis. And what a statue it was. I show it to you, a copy of it. A very well endowed Artemis, as you can see here, on the left-hand side of the screen. And there are tons and tons of copies of these, and this is one of those that gives us a very good sense of what this cult statue of Artemis, in this famous temple, looked like. And you can see that she’s had a very long afterlife. It’s very tempting to use her in all kinds of later ways. And as you can see in this wonderful view of the Villa d’Este, at Tivoli, in Italy–which is very close to Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli–a Renaissance area with lots of fountains and so on, and you can see how they’ve taken Artemis, or Diana of Ephesus, and made her into a fountain. So she comes up in all kinds of later contexts, as you can see.


Gate of Augustus (left) and Temple of Hadrian (right), Ephesus / Wikimedia Commons

With regard to the Roman city, the city of–the Roman city of Ephesus is extremely well preserved. It’s one of the best preserved Roman cities today, up there with places like Pompeii and Herculaneum. But, as you can see from two buildings from Ephesus, it is very different from either Pompeii or Herculaneum. It is essentially a marble city, and it’s another example of the fact that in Greece and in Asia Minor, marble construction and using the traditional language of architecture, as developed by the Greeks–columns and pediments and walls and the roofs that they support–remains the way of going about construction. And I show you here, for example, the very well-preserved Gate of Augustus at Ephesus, which gives you the sense of the kind of stone construction that was used for that.

Also above is the Temple of Hadrian, the emperor Hadrian, at Ephesus, that was put up in honor of Hadrian. It’s a very small temple, more a shrine. And what’s interesting about it is again that it is made out of stone; think of this in relationship to the Pantheon in Rome, which of course is one of the greatest concrete buildings the Romans produced, or is the greatest concrete building the Romans produced. If you compare that with its very large scale, with its concrete construction, to this, you get a very good sense of the difference between Rome and Ephesus, in the Hadrianic period. This is again a very small building. You can see it’s made entirely of stone. It has columns, it has pilasters. It is very highly decorated; in fact, almost overly ornate, with that decoration almost dematerializing the architectural members.

Temple of Hadrian illustration / Wikimedia Commons

And you can also see a motif that we have seen before in painting, but never before in built architecture, and that is a straight lintel, and then the arcuation of the lintel, and then the straight lintel again; and that is housed in a pediment, or least part of a pediment. We can’t tell, but you can see on both sides the pediment begins to rise, but it’s not completed. Now whether it’s just broken off, or whether it was what we would call a partial or broken triangular pediment, we’re not absolutely certain. My guess is it was a broken triangular pediment. So we have this arcuated lintel emerging from the broken triangular pediment. We’re going to see that this motif of straight, arcuated lintel is very popular in the Hadrianic period, and even brought to Italy from these experiments in the East. But again we saw this in painting. We saw this in that painting that was from Cubiculum 16 in Pompeii, for example, already in paint. Now we see it in built architecture. But what we see in the eastern part of the Empire is the way in which architects used the traditional language of Greek architecture–columns, pediments, lintels–and do something entirely different with them. And it’s very different from built architecture in Rome, of the same period.

The Library of Celsus at Ephesus

The Library of Celsus – we see lots of libraries in Rome and around Italy and around the Empire; Greek and Latin libraries. Libraries that are either part of private villas sometimes–we’ll see that at Hadrian’s Villa, for example, or in fora, like Trajan’s Forum, which we’ll look at on Thursday. But also large enterprises that served a city, such as this one. This is the Library of Celsus, in Ephesus. It is called after Celsus, because Celsus–a man by the name of Celsus–was the patron of this particular library that bears his name. He was the benefactor who wanted to splash his own name on this library, the purpose of the library being a library for everybody who lived in Ephesus.


Library of Celsus plan and restored illustration / Wikimedia Commons

We see a plan, and also a restored view, of the interior. In the plan you see its inside. It’s a rectangular space with a niche, with columns in that niche; columns around the perimeter of the room; and then columns, as well as a staircase, on the front of the structure. In this restored view you get a better sense of what it would’ve looked like inside. You see that niche here. You can see now that it’s a two-storied niche, with columns on two stories, and with a semi-dome with coffers, at the top. And then a series of tiers, with rectangular storage areas here, with shelves, where they placed those–remember, there were scrolls, not books. So they piled the scrolls on these shelves, and then each of these rectangular areas had a wooden door that would cover–would close and keep those scrolls protected, unless someone wanted to check them out, or consult them, or whatever. We see it also had a flat roof with a coffered ceiling.

Now what’s also very interesting about this library, and essentially unique, is that Celsus not only wanted to give this as a benefaction to his city, for the public good, he decided he also wanted it to serve as his tomb. Now I’ve told you that people made strange choices vis-à-vis their last resting places, and Celsus decided that he wanted to be buried in his library. So he provided–beneath that central niche there was a burial chamber, and he was indeed buried in his library. So this is not only a library, it’s also a tomb, which again makes it a particularly interesting topic, I believe. It had fallen, the building had fallen down, and about in the 1970s it was still on the ground, in bits and pieces. In more recent decades they have taken those pieces–there were tons of them, hundreds and hundreds of pieces–and the authorities, the archaeological authorities, have put this building back together. But they’ve put it back together with its own architectural members and so on.

Library of Celsus ruins, Ephesus / Wikimedia Commons

And this is what you see today, if you go to Ephesus. It’s an extraordinary structure. You can see that it’s entirely made out of marble. This is the façade of the Library of Celsus; it’s entirely made out of marble. We can see that it is two-tiered, with columns supporting straight lintels, down below, and then in the upper tier a combination of arched–of arcuated pediments and rectangular pediments up above, to give it some variety. And you’ll also see something very interesting here, which is although the architect has used the traditional language of Greek architecture–columns and pediments and the like, which is very traditional, when you compare it to the sorts of concrete buildings going up Rome–but at the same time has injected motion into this façade, by having a series of projecting bays, receding bays, projecting bay, receding bay, creating a kind of undulating in-and-out effect, across the façade. And then has done something quite interesting, which is to place the columns in the second tier, not immediately above those in the lower tier, but straddling the spaces in between them, above the receding bays rather than the projecting bays, which injects still more motion into the upper part of the structure, in contrast to the lower part. And you can see also the–again marble construction here, variegated marble used for the columns; so very much a marble building. And marble, very high quality marble was more readily accessible in Greece and in Asia Minor than anywhere else in the Roman world.

Library of Celsus, detail of columnar facade / Wikimedia Commons

This is another wonderful view. We’re standing below, looking up from the first tier to the second tier of the Library of Celsus. And as you look at this, you probably are thinking: “Hey, architectural cages at the top of Fourth Style Roman wall painting.” We’ve seen this before, but only in painting. We haven’t seen anything like it. The closest we got is our look at the Forum Transitorium, or the Forum of Nerva, in Rome, where I showed you those columns that project out of the wall, and have projecting entablatures, and that kind of in-and-out effect. I said that was the first example in Rome of what we might call the “baroque” trend in Roman architecture, where this motion is injected into the façade. But we see this very naturally in Asia Minor, over and over again. We see it here. So an example of something in built architecture that we’ve seen earlier in painted architecture, and which is going to have–as we’ll see, I have an entire lecture on the baroque architecture of Roman antiquity, where we look at a series of buildings around the provinces that all make use of traditional vocabulary, but use it in a very vibrant way, as you can see here.


Library of Celsus statues of women / Wikimedia Commons

And then there are, as you probably already noticed, statues that are placed in the niches on the façade; in this case of two women. The interesting question, for anyone working on it, who are these? Their names are given, or they have inscriptions down below, identification, in Greek. And you can also see, with these details, how elaborate these were, how they, just like in the shrine, in the Temple of Hadrian, in Ephesus, the use of decoration covers almost every available space and helps to not only decorate or ornament, but dematerialize the architecture elements. Something again we saw in painting, Third Style Roman painting. Here we see it–and on the Ara Pacis; so we have seen it in architecture–here we see it in architecture in the Western [correction: Eastern] Empire.

Gerasa and Palmyra

Rough map of Jerash Jordanien / By Holger Behr, Wikimedia Commons

The Triumphal Arch (Hadrian’s Arch) in the south of the Roman city of Gerasa (now Jerash) in Jordan. The tripartite triumphal arch was erected in commemoration of emperor Hadrian’s visit to the city in 129/130 AD. / Photo by Askii, Wikimedia Commons

Another very interesting city, and issue, is in the Roman City of Gerasa, or Jerash, in what is today Jordan. I show you a plan of what the Roman City of Jerash looked like, and where the Roman buildings were located. You can pick out all the obvious components of a miniature Rome. You see a hippodrome, for example, over here, with its hairpin shape. There was an Arch of Hadrian as well, shown above. There were two theaters, the North Theater over here, and there’s another theater somewhere there, the South Theater, up there. And you can see that they conform to the shape of a typical Roman theater. You also see there was a temple to Artemis here as well. There are a couple of tetrapylons. We haven’t seen tetrapylons in Rome, and in fact the Romans didn’t build tetrapylons in the city. A tetrapylon is a four-sided arch that is made specifically to span two streets, so that you can go through the arch. And the arch is right over the intersection of those two streets, so that you can drive your cart, or walk, right through the arch on either street, either of the two streets. These tetrapylons were very popular in the eastern part of the Empire. We’ll see a number–we’ll see a couple of them today, and others in the course of the term, and you see that here.

And for anybody interested, both in Jerash and in tetrapylons, I recommend–I’m not going over the specific references here, but if you don’t–you probably didn’t bring this today, but on the web portal you will find bibliography for each one of these topics, and again, as I mentioned, most of these are on reserve for the course. I recommend, in particular, the book by William MacDonald, called The Architecture of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, in which he focuses specifically–anyone working on one of the cities in the East, the eastern provinces, will find this book very valuable. Because he, in very poetic language, he is able to conjure up the way in which these cities were planned, the way in which these buildings interacted with the streets of the city, and the kind of vistas and visual kind of views that were carefully orchestrated by the designers of these cities, as well as the ways in which they wanted to move people around those cities. I think you’ll find that book particularly valuable.

Gerasa nymphaeum / Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki, Wikimedia Commons

Let me just go back for a moment. I just want to show you that plan one more time, because eventually I am going to show you the Forum of Gerasa, which you see is located right over here, and the shape of that forum is particularly interesting, as we shall see. Just a couple of buildings from Gerasa. On the left-hand side of the screen, the Arch of Hadrian, which you can see, once again, stone construction here; with large projecting columns; niches on the second story; contrast between larger order and smaller order. Here we again see projecting columns with projecting entablature, but then a pediment that is recessed. So again, this playing around with the traditional language of architecture, in a way the Greeks themselves would not have done. Same happens up here. You have tall projecting columns with a triangular pediment, but a triangular pediment that is made up of projecting wings on either side, and then the central part of the pediment is placed in depth. Above a view of the fountain, or the nymphaeum, of the city of Gerasa, where you can see again the use–just as the Library of Celsus–the use of columns, in this case sets of columns that are placed one on top of the other, in two tiers. There would’ve been a columnar display here, probably–certainly also in two stories, on the interior of this building.

Forum ruins at Gerasa / Photo by M. Disdero, Wikimedia Commons

Now this is the part of Gerasa that I think is most interesting, and that is that it has an oval forum; an oval forum, a forum in an oval shape. Now we’ve seen ovals before, for amphitheater architecture, the elliptical plan of an amphitheater, but we have not seen–and we’ve seen octagonal rooms, and we’ve seen round rooms–but we have not seen the Romans in Italy use the oval for anything other than amphitheater architecture. And yet we see here this wonderful forum in Gerasa that consists of an oval, which is defined essentially by a series of columns on a curve. So placing of columns, placing of the traditional language of Greek architecture along a curve, which we’ve seen before. We saw that at Palestrina, for example, but we see it here, with this oval shape. And the other thing that you see in this view, that is so interesting, is the fact that many–most of the streets in the cities in the eastern provinces are colonnaded streets, are streets that have columns all along them. We never, ever see this in Italy. There is no ancient Roman town in Italy that has a colonnaded street.

So we begin to see these interesting differences between Rome and the provinces. Why is this? It’s interesting to ask ourselves why this might be. I think again it probably has to do with the fact that there was a long tradition, in Greece and in Asia Minor, for Greek architecture: Greek architecture made out of stone, using columns, for the most part. And that was something that they were used to. They liked it, and they continued it on. But they began to do it in a different way. The Greeks would never have built an oval meeting or marketplace, but here we see the oval. So this combination of the idea of the oval, probably from amphitheater architecture, combined with the traditional language, the traditional vocabulary, of Greek marble architecture.

Palmyra ruins, Syria / Wikimedia Commons

Palmyra street with colonnades and arch / Wikimedia Commons

Another extraordinary site is the site of Palmyra, which is in modern Syria. Above I show you a view of the ancient remains of Palmyra, as they look today. And you can immediately see that Palmyra, just like Gerasa, has colonnaded streets. Here’s the street. You can see all of the columns along it, as well as a series of large buildings that are part of the Roman structures that were added to the city of Palmyra, in Roman times. Here’s an example of one. This is a stone arch at Palmyra, and you can see that the stone arch has been made part of that colonnaded street. And the columns that lead up to it create a very interesting vista toward the arch. And then you can see–this is very interesting, we also see this quite commonly in the eastern part of the Empire–not only do they have columns, but they place brackets on those columns, that project out from them, and those brackets were meant to hold honorific statuary: so statues of some of the famous people of the city, or magistrates or whatever, of the city of Roman Palmyra.

Tetrapylon at Palmyra / Wikimedia Commons

I mentioned a tetrapylon, a four-sided arch that would span two streets. We see one of those here, a very well-preserved tetrapylon, in Palmyra. And you see that once again they’ve used the traditional language of architecture: made out of stone, with columns supporting straight lintels, that serve–and placed on stone bases, as you can see here–that serve as the four sides of that tetrapylon. There would’ve been some roof on top of this, of some sort; or maybe not, I’ve forgotten whether that was the–I’ve forgotten what people think about this particular arch, whether there was–some of them have roofs and some of them do not. I don’t actually recall what the case is with this one. But it gives you again a very good idea of this tetrapylon arch that was so popular in the eastern part of the Empire.

But the building again in Palmyra, that I think is by far the most intriguing–when you go out into the Roman provinces, to try to determine what it is; in what ways has what’s going on in the capital had impact on what’s happening in the provinces, and what local traditions are so strong that they continue to exist, and even resurface, in some of these buildings? It’s usually a coming together of both of those elements–elements from Rome and local elements–and the way in which those co-exist and end up creating an entirely different architectural phenomenon; which is what we see in this building here. This plan (below) is of what is called the Temple of Bel, at Palmyra, again in modern Syria.

Temple of Bel plan / Wikimedia Commons

And you say to yourself, “Well who is Bel?” Well Bel is a god, and that tells you something already. Bel is a local god. So this is not a temple to Jupiter or to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. This is a temple to Bel. So that already tells us something about this structure, as it goes up in Rome, that they are–as it goes up in Palmyra, during Roman times, that they are interested in commemorating and honoring a local god. If we look at the plan–and maybe you can help me here with this–if we look at the plan, and we think back to what we know of typical Greek, Etruscan, and Roman temple architecture, we should be struck by this plan.ns go all the way around, and–you can see in this restored view–the staircase goes all the way around. So the podium, the staircase and the columns–which are freestanding, as you can see here–go all the way around. So that is characteristic of Greek temple architecture.

We have a single cella. We have a staircase, an additional staircase, on one side, which leads into the cella, from the side; not from the end, as we usually see. You usually enter from one end, one short end, and you have the apse, or the place where the god’s statue was kept, on the other side. But here we see a staircase that’s placed in the center–and it isn’t even quite in the center, it’s actually slightly off-center–on one of the long sides of the temple, which we have never seen before. So we have this interesting location of the other staircase, but also this combination of a staircase that goes all the way around, in the Greek manner, but then a kind of façade-orientation, by the placement of an additional staircase on one side of the monument. So a very schizophrenic building, in that regard. And the list goes on and on.

Temple of Bel restored illustratoin / Wikimedia Commons

Temple of Bel ruins, Palmyra, Syria / Wikimedia Commons

Above is the restored view. What do we see here that’s curious? Anyone? We have tall columns, with capitals. Look at the doorway. Can you see? I don’t know how clear it is to you, from where you sit. What’s happening above the doorway? We have additional–we have the upper part of the column and the capital, truncated, placed on top of the doorway. That’s strange. How are we meant to read that exactly? We’ve never seen that before. And look at the top. We have crenulations on the top of the monument. And at the very top we have some kind of a deck up there, that may have been used for something having to do with the worship of Bel. So one asks–so we see this interesting combination of the influence of Greek temple architecture, Roman temple architecture, and local practice. And so one would want to ask oneself, or one would try to find out what one could, about the worship of Bel, and about whether there were any earlier temples of Bel here, and whether any of these features have to do with local practice. The building still stands, or part of it, and you can see it here. Here you see that doorway that we were looking at just before, some of the columns, and you can see the kind of very nice honey-colored stone, out of which the Temple of Bel was made.

The Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum and the Getty Villa

Papyrus fragment from the Villa of Papyri, Herculaneum / Wikimedia Commons

The Villa of the Papyri is so-called because of papyrus fragments that were found there. The owner of this particular villa had his own library–we’re back to libraries again. And by the way, on the bibliography, there’s a particularly good book by Lionel Casson, on the libraries of the ancient world, that anybody who works either on Ephesus or this will probably want to take a look at. He has his own library here, and there were scrolls from that library, especially from one specific author, that were found there, and it is because of those papyrus fragments that the villa got its name, the Villa of the Papyri, in Herculaneum.


Villa of Papyri excavations / Wikimedia Commons

The excavations–excavations were done some time ago of this villa. A plan was drawn of the villa at that particular time, but the excavators found that noxious gasses were starting to be emitted from the ground, and there was a great–it was a health hazard. And so after they unearthed it, after they drew it, they covered it back over again. And it’s only been in very recent years that excavation has again begun on the site. And I show you a couple of views of the excavation that is currently underway, that is once again revealing some of the original walls, as well as some of the stucco and paintings of the original villa.

Plan of the Villa dei Papiri as reconstructed by Karl Weber / Public Domain

Now what’s particularly interesting, and where the Getty Museum comes in, is John Paul Getty, when he designed his villa at Malibu–which serves, of course, as a museum of antiquities–when he was building that, he used the Villa of the Papyri as a model, and I mean as an exact model, he really duplicated quite precisely the Villa of the Papyri. This is the plan of the Villa of the Papyri, as it was drawn, when it was originally excavated. And you can see–I guess of the structures we looked at, it’s probably most like the House of Loreius Tibertinus, where you’ll remember there’s a small amount of space given to the house on two stories, and most of it given to a large garden. We see the same idea here, where we have–and you can see it better over here–where we have one area around a court, that has living spaces on the second story, and then the rest of the villa is taken up, in this case, by a huge, hugely long pool, that has statuary and the like around it.

Getty Villa aerial / Wikimedia Commons

Now John Paul Getty decided again to use this Villa of Papyri as the model for the Getty Villa. And this is actually the Getty Villa that you’re looking at here, from the air: a painting of the Getty Villa that you see from the air here. And you can see that it is almost exactly the same, in plan, as the actual Villa of the Papyri. So going to the Getty Villa–and this is, of course, a view of that long pool at the Getty Villa–going to the Getty Villa is like going back in time, to the Villa of the Papyri. And I know a lot of people think this is sort of Disneyland in Malibu, a Roman version of Disneyland. Yes, to a certain extent. But the truth of the matter is you will get a better sense of what a Roman villa looked like, in Roman antiquity, from going and looking at the Getty Villa than you will get from going and looking at the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii — only because they have restored, and because it is in such good condition and because they have added to it–the kind of plants that would have been used there. The paintings are in good shape. They’ve placed statuary, actual copies of the ancient statuary that would have been at the Villa of the Papyri; because hundreds of statues from the Villa of the Papyri have survived, and they have–you can see them all at the Getty.

Getty Villa pool with statuary, Malibu / Wikimedia Commons

A view of another pool, with some famous copies of some famous bronze dancers from Herculaneum; I’ll show you the originals in a moment. This is the Getty’s version of First Style Roman wall painting, along the walls, as you can see here. It’s not quite the same, but nonetheless it conjures up what one of these walls would’ve looked like, if you had it all the way along your corridor. And they have Second Style Roman wall painting as well, and these of course based–they looked mostly at the villa, but when it came to the paintings, they certainly used other models. And if you walk around the villa you’ll able to say: “Oh yes, that comes from the–“. This is a very Ara Pacis like motif, with the garland and the columns and so on here — so Second Style wall painting, in these particular cases. Here’s another example of Second Style wall painting at the Getty, where they have wonderfully incorporated the door and two of the windows, into this Second Style scheme, as you can see here. And here we’re dealing with an atrium, in the Getty Museum, which is based atrium in the Samnite House with its second story in the loggia, and then with its impluvium and its compluvium. This is really good stuff. And then here, here you see a view of one of the pools, looking back through the doors. They would’ve had the wooden door jambs. We saw those in Herculaneum, preserved. Through that, to the pool, with the dancing women. And then at the very end you see a fountain that is based exactly on the large fountain–I showed it to you earlier this term–at Pompeii. And here this whole concept of vista, panorama, from one part of the house to another, taking advantage of light streaming through the compluvium, onto the pool, reflections in that pool, statuary. This really conjures up, as I said, better than anything I can show you, what an ancient Roman villa actually looked like.

Getty Villa Museum path / Wikimedia Commons

Getty Villa Entry Pavilion / Wikimedia Commons

Getty Villa theatre / J. Paul Getty Museum, Creative Commons

Getty Villa inner peristyle / J. Paul Getty Museum, Creative Commons

Getty Villa corridor with Second Style fresco / Wikimedia Commons

Getty Villa atrium / J. Paul Getty Museum, Creative Commons

There are rooms like this at the Getty, with marble incrustation, that is very much like both marble incrustation we’ve seen, and also like First Style Roman wall painting. Areas like this, where you can see again columns surrounding a garden, with rooms on the second story; paintings, First Style paintings on the wall; statuary in the center. And all of this, again, based on the actual statuary that was found; a great–a huge collection of statues that this particular owner had, that are now on view in the Archaeological Museum in Naples, were copied for this here.

Getty Villa vista / Wikimedia Commons


Busts of athlete (left) and young man (right) from the Villa of Papyri / Archaeological Museum, Naples

Dancer statues from the Villa of Papyri / Archaeological Museum, Naples

And then just another view showing that they too, at the Getty Villa at Malibu, were very cognizant of the siting of the structure, placing it on a cliff, so that you can have a beautiful panorama down from there: very much in line with the way the Romans sited their buildings. And then just quickly, just to give you a sense of how compelling some of the sculpture is from here. These are the originals. This is the head of an original athlete or gladiatorial figure from Herculaneum. You can see how vivid it is, especially–it’s done in bronze–but especially with the inlaid eyes, that were customary for statues of this type. This has got to be the best hair in Roman Art. I love this one. It’s a fantastically dramatic photo of this particular head that also comes from the Villa of the Papyri. And here are dancing ladies. These are the original versions of the dancing women that would have surrounded a pool in the actual villa at Herculaneum, extremely well preserved, and in every possible posture, as you can see here.

England, Israel, Italy, and France

Model of the Villa of Fishbourne / Photo by Immanuel Giel, Wikimedia Commons


Villa of Fishbourne floor and mosaic detail / Photos by Immanuel Giel, Wikimedia Commons

We’re not going to look at Roman Art in Britain. This is the Roman Villa at Fishbourne, in Sussex, England. It’s a model of what that villa would’ve looked like. And you can see that it has a lot in common with the Templum Pacis in Rome, with its great rectangular space and one of the buildings pushed back against it. But one of the questions one would ask for this, as for any buildings that were done somewhere other than Rome.

Villa of Fishbourne hypocaust / Photo by Charles Drakew, Wikimedia Commons

Villa of Fishbourne roof tiles / Photo by Immanuel Giel, Wikimedia Commons

If one visits the Fishbourne Villa today, you can still see the mosaic floors that are well preserved here. And you can also–here’s a detail of one of them, which is touted as the oldest to be seen, the earliest to be seen anywhere in Britain, as you can see from the label. And you can even see at the Fishbourne Villa, for example, a private bath, with the hypocaust. So clearly the impact of Rome is clear here. And they even have such elements preserved as these roof tiles that you can see here, on the right-hand side.

Aerial view of Bath, England / Wikimedia Commons

Roman bath at spa in Bath, England / Wikimedia Commons

Another British topic is the Roman Bath at Bath, Aquae Sulis, now in Avon, England. This is a view of the magnificent city of Bath itself, as it looks today. And here’s a view of part of what is preserved of the Roman Bath at Bath; the water as green as the Tiber, as you can see in this view. But this is part of the bath structure, and again what one would ask oneself is–and there are, there’s enough there, that plans of what this bath would’ve looked like exist–and one would ask oneself, “What is this–how does this compare to baths that we saw in Italy? What is it–how does it compare to the bath at Pompeii, the Forum Baths or the Stabian Baths, to the imperial bath architecture of Titus? Are there similar kinds of rooms? What is the construction technique? Who was this used for? Who did this belong to? Who put this up? And what part did it play in the social and cultural environment of the city of Aquae Sulis in ancient Roman times?

Bath vault in England / Photo by Heinz-Josef Lücking, Wikimedia Commons

Hypocaust in Bath, England / Wikimedia Commons

Another view of that, where you can see some of the stone construction. And then, once again, a very well-preserved hypocaust at the bath at Bath, as well as a very interesting brick arch, that you can see here. So the whole question of technology. What kind of technology is used in buildings like this is an intriguing question.


Models of Herod’s Palace in Masada / Wikimedia Commons

The particular aspect that would be at issue here would be to look at the Herod’s Palace, the great Herod, about whom much is known — a very interesting historical character, who was around in the first century B.C., the time of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra and so on. His palace at Masada, which was built on the top of the peak, is particularly interesting. Given its date, it’s roughly contemporary to the sorts of things we saw going on in Italy, at Palestrina, and at Tivoli the placement of–well in that case, the pouring of concrete on a tiered hillside; in this case use of different materials, as you can see here. But two views of what the Palace of Herod on Masada would have looked like. Again, a tiered structure, multi-tiered structure, roughly three tiers.

Herod’s Palace hypocaust / Wikimedia Commons

Herod’s Palace fresco / Photo by Berthold Werner, Wikimedia Commons

So the question here is, what did he have in mind? Why did he put it here? Why did he choose to represent it as a kind of cascading structure, from top to bottom? How does it compare to Palestrina and Tivoli? What is it made of; is it made of concrete or is it made of something else? And why in each instance? What kind of architectural elements are used in this particular case? And if I show you a couple of details, you will see that Rome is not too far away, in the sense that once again we see a hypocaust system being used to heat the floor of this particular room, in Herod’s Palace. Was this a bath or was this something else? Remember, we saw the hypocaust also used to heat the floor of Domitian’s dining room, in his palace, in Rome. And then over here, look–wall painting: very similar to what we see in Italy, at roughly the same time. This is again B.C., so we’re talking about First and especially Second Style Roman wall painting, or the transition between First and Second Style Roman wall painting.

Tombs on the Via Nucera, Pompeii / Wikimedia Commons

Portrait busts and inscriptions on tomb along Via Nucera, Pompeii / Wikimedia Commons

Pompeii columbarium / Wikimedia Commons

Tombs, we’ve seen tombs are particularly interesting as a topic, because they’re so varied, and have so much to do with the particular patrons who commissioned them. I showed you fleetingly the two tomb streets at Pompeii, the Via dei Sepolcri and the Via Nucera, and I told you that we would concentrate instead on tombs in Rome. There is a variety of tomb architecture in Pompeii. That varies from house–tombs that look like houses, to tombs that have columns in the second story, with statues interspersed among them, to tombs that again have a niche in the center, with statuary–unfortunately one missing here–but preserved inscriptions. So if you want to get into who these people were, what we know about them, a kind of cultural study, you could do that. And this is my favorite tomb on the Via Nucera in Pompeii, because it is reminiscent of the columbarium at the Vigna Codini. But you’ll remember that scheme of placing niches on a wall was for subterranean tomb architecture in Rome. And here we see–it’s just a great idea. They took the idea of the columbarium and they slapped it on the front, on the façade of a tomb. So you see the niches with portrait busts. Same kind of portraits that we saw, or urns that we saw, in the Vigna Codini columbarium, brought above ground. Same kind of inscriptions in front of each of them, and made into the façade, this very interesting façade of a tomb, on the Via Nucera in Pompeii.


Vaison-la-Romaine archaeological site / Wikimedia Commons

Residential architecture in the Roman provinces. The houses in France at a place called Vaison-la-Romaine; Vasio Vocontiorum in antiquity. The French tout this as the French Pompeii. It is far from the French Pompeii, unfortunately, because it doesn’t have all of those public buildings. It doesn’t have an amphitheater or a theater or an odeon or a so on and so forth. But it does have some interesting houses. The houses are not as well preserved as those in Pompeii. But it’s interesting to look at them. This is a model of one of them, showing the same sort of elements that we’ve seen in Italy: the peristyle–this is the Hellenized domus type–the peristyle court over here. The compluvium of the atrium over here. So it gives you–and then down on this end, a colonnade with a pool in front of it. So very similar to the kinds of things that we saw in Pompeii.


 Vaison-la-Romaine house architecture and decoration / Wikimedia Commons

This is a view of some of the ancient houses, as they look today, and as they make up part of the modern town that surrounds them, in Vaison-la-Romaine. You can see that they’re not–they’re preserved, only the foundations essentially are preserved. But enough of them are to give us a very good sense of the plans, the architectural plans of these. And it can be interesting to look at these in connection to what we have from Pompeii, and to see how they stack up, and to whether they are different in any way, because of the fact that they were put up in what was ancient Gaul and not in Italy. And here a view of one of the peristyle courts of one of those, as well as a mosaic. And if you look at what remains of the wall painting, you can see that that is completely consistent with what’s going on in Italy at the same time.

Tower Tombs at Palmyra

Tower Tombs at Palmyra, Syria / Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki, Wikimedia Commons

Elable Tower Tomb, Palmyra / Wikimedia Commons

Decorated ceiling in the Eggelin Tomb Tower, Palmyra / Wikimedia Commons

Funerary relief portrait of a woman from Palmyra / Yale Art Gallery, Creative Commons

The Tower Tombs at Palmyra – you see that these tombs here are very distinctive, these tall tower-like tombs, which is why they’re called tower tombs. Here’s one of them here, made out of local stone, very stark, usually with a niche in the center, that sometimes has a representation of a deceased member of the family lying on a bed. And here the interior of one of these: very ornate; a coffered ceiling with paintings, with portrait paintings in the top; and then a series of niches where you see either single portraits or group portraits of members of the same family, sort of like what we saw on the outside of tombs on the Via Appia, in this case on the inside of tombs. This would be an interesting topic for someone who would also like to use, to go actually look at something at the Yale Art Gallery, because we have some of the portraits that come from these Palmyrene tombs in the Yale Art Gallery.