The Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia in Ancient Roman Palestrina

The presence of wealthy Romans led to the expansion of the temple structure and its continuing decoration. Introduction The Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Palestrina (ancient Praeneste) in Italy was built in the 2nd century BCE to honor the goddess Isis and the goddess Fortuna. The massive site spans a mountainside, built with Roman cement or[…]

Bronze Age Ambition and Luxury: Marquis Yi of the Zeng State

How early burial customs and practices could not only reflect someone’s ambition, but also elevate their status. Introduction Imagine stumbling upon an undisturbed tomb filled with 15,000 items—from hundreds of jade and golden objects and enormous bronze wine vessels to massive lacquered coffins and a vast assortment of musical instruments. In 1978 in Leigudun, Suizhou,[…]

Art and Architecture in the Ancient Parthian Empire

The Parthians brought with them cultural influences from their Scythian cousins. By Patrick Scott Smith, M.A.Historian Introduction Parthian art flourished within the Eurasian cultural corridor from the late hundreds BCE to the early 1st and 2nd centuries CE. With the Parthian Empire (247 BCE – 224 CE) stretching from India and China in the east to[…]

Alexander Jackson Davis and Architecture in Mid-19th Century America

Alexander J. Davis was America’s greatest architect of the mid-nineteenth century. America’s greatest architect of the mid-nineteenth century, a designer of picturesque buildings in myriad styles, Alexander J. Davis was born in New York City on July 24, 1803. The son of a relatively poor bookseller and publisher of religious tracts who moved around the[…]

A History of Baroque Roman Art and Architecture

It was a focus for tourists and artists and a watershed of inspiration throughout the Western world. Introduction In the seventeenth century, the city of Rome became the consummate statement of Catholic majesty and triumph expressed in all the arts. Baroque architects, artists, and urban planners so magnified and invigorated the classical and ecclesiastical traditions[…]

How the Needs of Monks and Empire Builders Helped Mold the Modern-Day Office

The needs of the times have always influenced office space – whether for the colonial empire or a growing commerce. Introduction The coronavirus pandemic has forced most people to create an office space of their own – whether by devoting a room in our homes for work, sitting socially distanced in common areas or just[…]

Medieval Monastic Cistercian Architecture

Most Cistercian abbeys and churches were built in remote valleys far from cities and populated areas. Introduction Cistercian architecture is a style of architecture associated with the churches, monasteries and abbeys of the Roman Catholic Cistercian Order. It was headed by Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), who believed that churches should avoid superfluous ornamentation[…]

Medieval Stave Churches of Norway

The churches incorporated local ancient traditions of woodcarving and stone architecture more common on the European continent. Introduction Stave churches are the most famous medieval buildings in Norway and are admired for their unique architecture and beautiful decorations. They are named after the staves or masts that hold up the main structure of the church. Only 28 stave churches are[…]

Architecture of Great Churches and Cathedrals since Late Antiquity

The earliest large churches date from Late Antiquity. Different styles of architecture developed and their fashion spread. Introduction The architecture of cathedrals and great churches is characterised by the buildings’ large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that derive ultimately from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in[…]

Londinium, the Proud City: A History of Rebuilding London since Late Antiquity

The resulting texture of the metropolis has a diversity of buildings unlike any other. In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, the British government published a plan for the destruction and rebuilding of whatever of London was left standing after German bombing. The ambition compared with Albert Speer’s ‘Germania’ proposal for a new[…]

Prehistoric Domestic Architecture in the Ohio Valley

Present knowledge indicates that the first permanent houses were constructed by the Adena people between 1000 BCE and 400 CE. By Raymond S. BabyLate Curator Emeritus of Archaeology, Ohio History ConnectionLate Professor of Anthropology, The Ohio State University Introduction “Man’s home is his castle.” Whether this old axiom applies to prehistoric man is a matter[…]

The Forum Romanum and Archaeological Context

The city’s monuments (and their ruins) are cues for memory, discourse, and discovery. Views of Rome The Roman emperor Constantius II (the second son of Constantine the Great) visited Rome for the only time in his life in the year 357 C.E. His visit to the city included a tour of the usual monuments and[…]

Hindu Architecture at Rajarajesvara Temple in Tanjavur, India

The Rajarajesvara temple was built by one of the most successful rulers of the medieval period, Rajaraja Chola I. By Dr. Arathi MenonHistorian of Art and Architecture Introduction To see the Hindu god Shiva in the Rajarajesvara temple complex in Tanjavur, we must enter two impressive gateways, walk into a cloistered courtyard, past an enormous[…]

The Origins of Cathedrals and Chapels

Millions step into cathedrals and chapels every year. The history of these places of worship offers important insights into Christianity. Introduction Cathedrals and chapels have played vital roles in the development of Christian culture. As a scholar of the Bible, Judaism and Christianity, I have come to learn the historic importance of these structures and[…]

Leading Figures of the Renaissance

From the 14th through the 16th centuries, Europe crackled with energy. Introduction The period in Europe known as the Renaissance began in Italy around 1300. From the 14th through the 16th centuries, Europe crackled with energy. Trade and commerce boomed. Cities grew. Artists and writers experimented with their crafts and created wonderful works of art[…]

Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance

Exploring the Italian city-state of Florence to learn about a number of advances made there during the Renaissance. Introduction Florence is located on the Arno River, just north of central Italy. The city is often called the “cradle of the Renaissance.” Between 1300 and 1600, it was home to some of the greatest artists and[…]

Stone and Concrete in Ancient Italo-Roman Building Techniques

The masonry techniques discussed here cover a broad chronological range from the second millennium B.C.E. to Late Antiquity. Introduction Building techniques represent an important means through which to study and understand ancient structures. The building technique chosen for a given project can indirectly provide a good deal of information about the building itself, in terms[…]

William Strickland and Greek Temple Architecture in the Early United States

In the architectural void of a new nation, he borrowed from ancient Athens to express America’s democratic ethos. President Andrew Jackson took a keen interest in the construction of the federal mint in Philadelphia, a grand, columned edifice, inspired by the temples of ancient Greece, that opened in 1833. Jackson was not a man known for his appreciation of cultural and artistic pursuits.[…]

Magna Ecclesia: A History of the Hagia Sophia

The aesthetic qualities of a geometric design are what most concern the twentieth-century work on Hagia Sophia. Introduction Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, constructed 532-537 CE, continues to be revered as one of the most important structures in the world. Hagia Sophia (Greek Ἁγία Σοφία, for ‘Holy Wisdom’) was designed to be the major basilica of the[…]

Capturing the Architecture of American Agriculture – and a Passing Way of Life

For 45 years, David Hanks has photographed feed mills in every season and mood. By David HanksPhotographer “Why would anyone want to take pictures of a place like this?” That’s the question I often get when I enter the office of a feed mill or grain elevator, asking permission to make photographs on the property[…]

Alberti’s Late Medieval Revolution in Painting

Alberti’s De Pictura (On Painting, 1435) was the first theoretical text written about art in Europe. Introduction In a fresco (water-based pigment applied to fresh moist plaster) high on one wall of the Sistine Chapel, the aged Saint Peter kneels as he humbly accepts the keys of heaven from Jesus Christ standing before him. These[…]

Thailand’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha

What is this figurine and why was it so important to King Rama I (r. 1782-1809 CE)? Introduction A small carved figurine sits high on a grand multi-tiered pedestal in a magnificent wat (temple) in Bangkok, Thailand. It has been sitting there since 1784 CE and was originally thought to be made of emerald. Hundreds of[…]

Ancient Rome’s Wealthy Cities of Oplontis, Stabiae, and Boscoreale

While the Vesuvian eruption was devastating, and many lives were lost, it preserved a moment in Roman history. Introduction More than 2,000 years ago, extremely wealthy Romans lived on the sunny shores of the Bay of Naples at Pompeii and in opulent villas nearby, unconcerned about Mount Vesuvius in the distance. Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE), Augustus[…]

Types of Patronage in Renaissance Art and Architecture

We often forget that for most of history artists did not simply create art for art’s sake. Introduction When the banker’s guild of Florence commissioned a massive bronze statue of St. Matthew for Orsanmichele—a former grain house turned shrine at the heart of the city—they clearly had their own magnificence in mind. Not only did[…]

Civic Patronage of Art and Architecture in Ancient Rome

The complex patronage relationships changed with the social pressures during the late Republic. Introduction Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus (“patron”) and their cliens (“client”). The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patron was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for[…]

Medieval and Early Modern Windmill Architecture and Technology

Historical aspects in the transformation of the windmill’s architectural forms, structures, and elements. Introduction The modern wind-power engineering is one of the perspective directions of using ecological clean energy. Renewable energy sources used to ensure energy supply can be considered to be an upcoming trend for civil engineering [1-10]. The article deals with the historical[…]

Medieval Castles and Fortification Architecture and Technology

Construction could sometimes take decades to complete these massive defensive structures. Introduction Medieval fortification refers to medieval military methods that cover the development of fortification construction and use in Europe, roughly from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance. During this millennium, fortifications changed warfare, and in turn were modified to suit[…]

We Want Our Stuff Back: A Look at Art Imperialism since Ancient Rome

Empires acquire artifacts from source nations by various means, and the newly acquired art takes on some new role within the empire. Cultural history inquiries can benefit by using a world historical lens to view and interpret sources and events. By widening both the geographical and chronological boundaries, this global vision reveals patterns and trends[…]

The Sanctuary at Ancient Keros: Materiality and Monumentality

A place for the perform­ance of rituals of congregation. Abstract The discovery of the early bronze age sanctuary on the Cycladic island of Keros is briefly described. Why islanders in the Aegean should establish the world’s first maritime sanctuary around 2500 bc is then considered, and other instances of early centres of congregation are briefly[…]