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And there were four emperors in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. These were Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. The so-called Temple of Mercury, we see it again with its dome made out of concrete construction, a view from the exterior, and a view of the interior of the monument, and I remind you of the way in which is that designed so that light streams through the oculus in the dome, down onto the sides of the wall, creating light effects: a circle that corresponds to the shape of the opening above, and then falling initially on the pool of water that would have been located there, as well as across the walls, which probably would have been covered with mosaic.
And you see a portrait of Tiberius above, just to give you a sense of what he looked like. Tiberius, again the son of Livia by a former marriage, the elder son of Livia by a former marriage, who becomes emperor of Rome right after Augustus. And the portrait that you see here is a marble portrait of Tiberius that is now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek in Copenhagen. Tiberius was emperor of Rome from 14 to 37 A.
He also was responsible for restoring Republican buildings that had fallen into severe disrepair by his reign, and this included several temples, a basilica, warehouses, and also a theater.
Tiberius also initiated some new building projects in Rome. These included a Temple to the Divine Augustus, Temple to Divus Augustus, his divine adoptive father, because Augustus was made a god, as Caesar had been before him, at his death. Tiberius also put up a series of arches to his relatives, and also a camp for the Praetorian Guard. Tiberius was interested instead in private architecture—architecture in a sense for himself and his nearest and dearest—and he began a palace on the Palatine Hill.
He did not think the small, modest House of Augustus, despite the fact that it had those nicely painted walls, he did not think that that befit his own grandeur, and he began a major palace on the Palatine Hill, on the northwest side of the Palatine Hill. And he renovated and built villas elsewhere, outside of Rome, especially on the spectacular Island of Capri.
And indeed, during the reign of Augustus, and also the reign of Tiberius, that family, the Augustan and Julio-Claudian family, built twelve villas on the Island of Capri, each more spectacular than the one before. Augustus used to decorate his villa, we are told, with dinosaur bones and things like that, of historical interest, whereas Tiberius spared no expense in introducing every luxury possible into his villas.
And you can see some of the remains of those substructures over here. The ones that we see were probably restored later and may or may not date to the Tiberian period, but they give you some idea of the sort of construction that he began on the Palatine Hill. The Villa Jovis, which was put up sometime in the years in which Tiberius was emperor; that is, from 14 to 37 A. And I actually show you—this is a view on the left-hand side of the screen of Positano on the Amalfi Coast.
It takes a very short time, half an hour or so, less, a little bit less, to get over to the Island of Capri from Positano. And again I can just give you a little sense here of how blue this blue is. You can drive you around in the hydrofoil to see the grottos, and then you eventually get to the dock at Capri, and this is what you see as you get off the boat at the island of Capri: again a very beautiful spot to visit. You take the funicular up to the main part of town, and one of the first things you see is the popular Bar Tiberio.
And this bar is no exception, and in fact if you go through the doors that lead into the interior of the bar, you will see a portrait of Tiberius etched on the doorway. So Tiberius very much lives and thrives in the center of downtown Capri still today. And these are the so-called Faraglioni.
You see them here. You go up to the so-called Gardens of Augustus, and then up to a spot where you can see these particularly well. They are the landmark spot on the island of Capri, and they have survived coastal landslides and sea erosion, to look as wonderful as they still do today.
And this is, of course, the photo op on the island. You have to walk essentially. The streets are such that there are no cabs or cars that can get you there. You have to make it on your own. And there are two paths. The architects have taken advantage of developments in concrete construction to create a series of barrel vaults in tiers, and those barrel vaults in tiers are where—are the cisterns of the villa, where the water was kept to supply the baths and the kitchen and so on, of the villa.
There are the cisterns again and the way in which a pavement has been placed on top of those tiers of barrel vaults, to create a very large court. You can see a series of columns, four in total, that you see as you make your way into the entranceway of the villa.
Along this side of the villa, which is the southern side of the villa, you see the baths—not surprisingly placed on the southern side—extensive bath structure for the emperor. And you can see the shape of that aula. And it should remind you of the second phase of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, where we also saw that attractive bay window with the panoramic views, out beyond.
The panoramic views were much more spectacular here than even from the Villa of the Mysteries, because as I think you can see also from this site plan, that this is located right at the edge of a promontory. There were a series of rooms for the emperor himself, and including also an imperial loggia, where he could walk out and get some attractive panoramas privately on his own.
There was also a triclinium or dining room where the emperor could dine and could look out again over views that were possible from this particular locale. Caligula became emperor at the death of Tiberius. And we see a portrait of him here, on the right-hand side of the screen, just again to give you a sense of the man. He had a very short—he was very young when he became emperor of Rome—he had a very short reign, only three years. And he was somewhat unbalanced, and it was not long after he became emperor—oh, by the way, he was very popular when he was a boy; he was a prince, very popular.
He used to run around the military camps with his family, in a little military costume, and he wore these distinctive military boots called the caliga, which is how he got the nickname Caligula, from those boots. He was extremely popular with everyone, and everyone was quite excited when he became emperor of Rome.
He became a despot, and he spent most of his time cavorting with his three sisters. And he also did strange things like conduct faux wars essentially, faux wars with faux enemies: for example, his war against Britain, so to speak.
And he also spent a good deal of time trying to work it out so that his horse, Incitatus, could become a senator. He was occupied with all of that and really not that much with architecture. And again, he was only emperor for a very short time, so there was a limit to what kinds of architectural contributions he could make.
I mean, he made some, and in fact one of them is particularly important, and I want to emphasize those to you here. He had little public building. Again, he continued the tradition of Tiberius, and that is in having much more interest in private villa architecture than in public architecture. If he had been emperor longer, perhaps his contribution would have been greater.
And he did build a couple of new things, including two new aqueducts and a circus located near what is now Vatican City. But his main interest was villas outside Rome. He built a number of those. And later on, according to Pliny the Elder, Rome was ringed with the villas, not only of Caligula, but also of Nero.
So these were going up apace around the city of Rome itself. The single most important contribution though that Caligula made, and it is very significant, is to alter the recipe for Roman concrete construction was altered. What they did was make the decision to lighten it up, and they did that by taking the stone rubble that had been used in the mixture of concrete for some time, taking that stone rubble and dispensing with it, getting rid of it, because it was too heavy, and mixed the liquid mortar instead with a very porous, yellow tufa, and also with pumice, which is a soft light stone resembling cork.
So when you think of replacing heavy rubble with something that resembles cork, you get the sense that that is going to lead to lighter domes; lighter domes are going to lead to domes that are able to span greater spaces. So this is no small accomplishment. This is very, very significant. The other development under Caligula that I want to make reference to really has more to do with religious practice, but it also has an important impact on architecture, and that is the impact of mystery cults on Roman religion.
They came back through the army, they came back through commerce, to Rome. And initially they were not accepted.
You were not allowed to practice these openly. And so we saw an example with the Villa of the Mysteries where the woman of the house created a special room, room number five, for the celebration of the cult of Dionysus, because that was considered a secret religion at that particular point.
But these mystery religions, Caligula himself showed some interest in them, and it began to look as if perhaps they would be able to begin to come up from underground. They did continue to have to meet in secret. This is the so-called Underground Basilica, because it is located underground.
It dates to around A. It has a central nave and two side aisles, divided by that nave, that central space, through architectural members, in this case through columns; and then at the end, to give some emphasis to one short side of the space, an apse, that you also see there. This underground basilica was used for religious worship. We already saw the basilican plan being used in house design at Herculaneum as a banqueting hall, and here we see it as a religious, a place for religious worship underground: a basilican form being used for religious worship underground.
The Underground Basilica is miraculously preserved. How did they create this Underground Basilica? How did they make this building underground? Well they cut trenches in the tufa rock. So they cut trenches in the tufa rock, and then they poured concrete into those trenches to create the walls and also the barrel vault that you see so well here. And once that concrete had dried, they cut it out in such a way as to create the piers that you also see very well in this structure.
This is how we surmise that this building was put up to the Neo-Pythagorean cult, because of the figures that we see floating in the central panels here. Those who have a good understanding of the Neo-Pythagorean cult have suggested that these track extremely well the beliefs of this particular cult. But interesting for us is again the close resemblance of this to Third Style Roman wall painting.
And look then very carefully at some of the floral decorations, which you will see also resemble very closely the flimsy candelabra and so on that are characteristic of Third Style Roman painting. The date of 50 A. Claudius and the Harbor at Portus Caligula was murdered in 41, and his wife and daughter—he had one daughter—were also murdered at the same time. He had no family member to succeed him, and his uncle Claudius was chosen as the next emperor of Rome.
Many of you may know the interesting story, quite captivating story, of how Claudius was chosen as emperor. No one thinks much of him. Five-layered onyx, height: 12 cm. Setting: gold rim. IX A
Death played havoc with his attempts… The ablest of the line was Tiberius. He was undoubtedly a capable and vigorous ruler, who enforced justice in the government of the provinces, maintained the integrity of the frontiers, and husbanded the finances of the empire; but he became intensely unpopular in Roman society and in his last years became a cruel tyrant. His successor, Gaius, generally known as Caligula , became known for his wild caprices and uncontrolled passions, which issued in manifest insanity. Upon his assassination he was followed by his uncle, Claudius , whose personal disabilities made him an object of derision to his contemporaries but who had many statesmanlike faculties.
The Julio-Claudian Dynasty (27 B.C.–68 A.D.)
Nomenclature[ edit ] Julius and Claudius were two Roman family names ; in classical Latin, they came second. Roman family names were inherited from father to son, but a Roman aristocrat could — either during his life or in his will — adopt an heir if he lacked a natural son. In accordance with Roman naming conventions, the adopted son would replace his original family name with the name of his adopted family. It was also customary for the adopted son to acknowledge his original family by adding an extra name at the end of his new name. However, there is no evidence that he ever used the name Octavianus.
During this time, Rome reached the height of its power and wealth; it may be seen as the golden age of Roman literature and arts, but it was also a period of imperial extravagance and notoriety. The Julio-Claudians were Roman nobles with an impressive ancestry, but their fondness for the ideals and lifestyle of the old aristocracy created conflicts of interest and duty. They cherished the memory of the Republic and wished to involve the Senate and other Roman nobles in the government. This proved impossible and eventually led to a decline in the power and effective role of the Senate, the elimination of other aristocrats through treason and conspiracy trials, and the extension of imperial control through equestrian officers and imperial freedmen. The army not only ensured their control in Rome but also helped maintain peace and prosperity in the provinces. Tiberius followed the instructions left by Augustus upon his death not to undertake any expansive foreign wars.