HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE & HUMAN SETTLEMENT II
AR. ANITA MESKAR / AR. BILWA DEO
• The vast Roman Empire spanning from the main lands of Italy, Greece extending up to
England & France in the north, as well as encircled around the Mediterranean Sea
confronting with Asia Minor & North Africa was subject to dismantling due to lack of
• The vast empire was divided into Western & Eastern empires.
• The rich western province centred around Rome was obviously the target for invaders
who destroyed the city.
Western Empire Eastern Empire
Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan 117 AD
• These confrontations
resulted in the migration
of artisans, craftsmen,
masons to other
developing countries –
eastern province which
were less hazardous.
• Due to this fact the WP
faced discontinuation of
construction tradition &
deteoriation in building
• On the contrary, the eastern province which accepted the migrated population
was provided with continuation of Roman structural techniques.
• The western empire was centred around Rome while the Eastern empire
flourished around Constantinople (currently, Istanbul), which was strategically
located on trade route by sea – connecting Asia & North Africa by Europe.
• Christianity was born in Judea – a place in eastern province of the Roman
empire, which spread towards the north & west even against the backdrop of
great opposition & ultimately accepted as state religion.
• The formulation phase of Christianity
& its architecture can be considered
from Constantine period (300 AD) to
Charlemagne (800 AD – French ruler).
• The development of Christian
Architecture thus can be divided into
the following phases:
• In these phases, architectural development
experienced the formulation phase, alterations &
development in plans, profile surroundings &
concluded with imitation of classical structures &
• The development of Christian architecture in general
proved beneficial in establishing new norms, new
construction features, new materials, different types
of façade treatments & also versatile construction
• The phases proved beneficial not only for the
religious architecture but also for secular, domestic,
commercial & Mediterranean development.
EARLY CHRISTIAN & BYZANTINE ROMANESQUE GOTHIC RENAISSANCE
300 AD 800 AD 1200 AD 1500 AD 1700 AD
• Examples for Early Christian Architecture:
• St. Clemente, Rome
• St. Peters (Old), Rome
FROM AGORA TO BASILICAN CHURCH
• Greece –
• Agora (Assembly or gathering place)
• Served as a marketplace
• Rome –
• Forums – centre Roman public life
• Venue for public speeches, criminal
trials & gladiatorial matches.
• Basilica – part of Forum.
• Served as place for giving justice &
• The layout of Basilicas was, by
extension used for Christian churches,
having the same form.
FROM AGORA TO BASILICAN CHURCH
View of a typical EC basilica - church
Plan of a typical EC Basilica
Plan: Forum of Trajan with Basilica Ulpia
Commonest form of the early church.
Unlike the earlier Roman phase, the interiors were
give more importance than exterior.
Rectangular hall, timber-roofed with coffers & richly
glided ceiling (hiding the roof truss) on nave.
Usually with one or two aisles to each side of the
central nave separated by rows of rustic marble
columns, sometimes carrying flat entablatures &
sometimes, rows of arches.
The width of aisles was half that of the central nave.
Apse at one end facing the principal entrances at the
Bema / Transept – a raised platform where altar was
placed & from where the clergy officiated.
A courtyard (atrium) having a central fountain for
ablutions & surrounded by colonnaded ambulatory.
A TYPICAL BASILICAN CHURCH
Plan of a typical EC Basilica
A narthex – corresponding to entrance foyer, preceding the nave.
The nave & bema received light from clerestory above the aisles & were pierced with
Above aisles & between clerestory windows, the walls may be faced with marble, or
mosaics made up from small tesserae of coloured glass.
The nave terminates into a ‘triumphal arch’, perhaps having iridescent (brightly
coloured & changing) mosaics.
The semicircular walls of the apse ended into a dome, whose interiors had mosaics
depicting narrative scenes from Bible or single figures seen against stylised landscapes
or plain gold grounds.
The flooring was of grey-white & black marble, inlaid with geometric patterns of
The columns, capitals & similar features from old Roman buildings were frequently
reused to enhance the liveliness of the interiors.
In the new churches, arches were more often used to span between columns of a
colonnade instead of flat entablatures.
EXAMPLE 1 – ST. PETERS (OLD), ROME
(C. 320-330 AD)
BASILICA OF ST. PETERS (OLD), ROME
Present day St. Peters in Vatican City – a rebuilding of a totally different design & on a substantially
Built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero under the rule of Emperor Constantine I in c. 320AD
The original church survived without much change until towards the end of 15th Century & the nave
for another century.
Remains of old foundation are present below the present flooring but details of atrium are obscure.
Dimensions: 110.0m long x 64.0m wide with double aisles on both sides.
The nave was divided from aisles by 22 varied (size & colour), huge & antique marble columns with
equally varied capitals supporting the nave walls on a horizontal entablature, while similar numbers
of shorter columns carrying arcades divided aisle from aisle.
It was built in the shape of Latin
cross, with a gable roof, timbered
on inside & at 30.0m high at centre.
An atrium known as Garden of
Paradise stood at the entrance with
The nave ended with an arch & the
walls had parallel windows each
Honorius Rotunda of S.
Plan of Old St. Peters Basilica, Rome (c.320)
EXAMPLE 2 – ST. CLEMENTE, ROME
(Early 12th Century)
• St. Clemente Basilica, Rome
ST. CLEMENTE, ROME
First Basilica - Dedicated to Pope St. Clemente I.
Dimensions: 45.0 m x 25.0 m with width of nave as 13.0 m.
Most interesting example of the continued Roman use of early basilican plan until well into
The present day (Roman Catholic
minor basilica) church is actually a
3-tiered complex of buildings:
o Lower part – 2 structures: 1st
century house of a Roman
noble & a 2nd century pagan
temple dedicated to God
o Middle part – 4th century
(c.380 AD) Old church
dedicated to St. Clemente.
o Top part – Early 12th century
(c.1100 AD) Romanesque
church – replica of the earlier
1 – Apse 2 – Portico 3- Central Atrium 4 – Men’s Aisle
5 - Ladies Aisle 6 – Choir with Gospel & Epistle Ambo 7 - Altar
St. Clemente, Rome
Plan & Section