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The chief temple of a Roman city, the capitalism, was generally located at one end of the forum. The standard Roman temple was a blend of Etruscan and Greek elements; rectangular in plan, it had a gabled roof, a deep porch with freestanding columns, and a frontal staircase giving access to its high plinth, or platform. The traditional Greek orders, or canons (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), were usually retained, but the Romans also developed a new type of column capital called the composite capital, a mixture of Ionic and Corinthian elements. An excellent example of the canonical temple type is the Maison-Carre (circa AD 4) in Nmes, France. Roman temples were erected not only in the forum, but throughout the city and in the countryside as well; many other types are known. One of the most influential in later times was the type used for the Pantheon (AD 118 - 28) in Rome, consisting of a standard gable-roofed columnar porch with a domed cylindrical drum behind it replacing the traditional rectangular main room, or cella.
Simpler temples based on Greek prototypes, with round cella's and an encircling colonnade, such as that built about 75 BC at Tivoli, near Rome, were also popular. Recreational buildings and shops were dispersed throughout the Roman city. The shops were usually one-room units (tabernacle) opening onto the sidewalks; many, including combination mill-bakeries, can still be seen at Pompeii and elsewhere. Sometimes an entire unified complex of shops was constructed, such as the markets built in the reign (AD 98 - 117) of Trajan on the Quirinal Hill (Monte Quirinal) in Rome and still standing, which incorporated scores of tabernacle on several levels and a large vaulted two-story hall. Roman theaters first appeared in the late Republic. They were semicircular in plan and consisted of a tall stage building abutting a semicircular orchestra and tiered seating area (case).
Unlike Greek theaters, which were situated on natural slopes, Roman theaters were supported by their own framework of piers and vaults and thus could be constructed in the hearts of cities. Theaters were popular in all parts of the empire; impressive examples may be found at Orange (early 1 st century AD), in France, and Sabratha (late 2 nd century AD), in Libya. Amphitheaters (literally, double theaters) were elliptical in plan with a central arena, where gladiatorial and animal combats took place, and a surrounding seating area built on the pattern of Roman theaters. The earliest known amphitheater (75 BC) is at Pompeii, and the grandest, Rome's Colosseum (AD 70 - 80), held approximately 50, 000 spectators, roughly the capacity of today's large sports stadiums. Racecourses or circuses were also built in many cities; Rome's circus-shaped Piazza Navona occupies the site of one that was built during the reign (AD 81 - 96) of Domitian. Large cities and small towns alike also had public baths (there); under the Republic they were generally made up of a suite of dressing rooms and bathing chambers with hot-, warm-, and cold-water baths (calvaria, tepid aria, frigidarium) alongside an exercise area, the palestra.
The baths (75 BC) near Pompeii's forum are an excellent example of the early type. Under the empire these comparatively modest structures became progressively grander; such late examples as the Baths of Caracalla (about AD 217) in Rome also incorporated libraries, lecture halls, and vast vaulted public spaces elaborately decorated with statues, mosaics, paintings, and stucco's. Although the public buildings were generally the grandest and costliest structures in the city, most of the area of a Roman town was occupied by private residences. Family dwellings then as today were built in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the Roman domus usually displayed the preference for axial symmetry that characterizes most of Roman public architecture as well. Early houses dating from the 4 th and 3 rd centuries BC seem to have been built on patterns going back to Etruscan times. The standard domus italica, or early Republican house, consisted of an entrance corridor (fauces), a main room (atrium) open to the sky with a central basin for the collection of rainwater, a series of small bedrooms (curricula), an office area (tabling), a dining room (triclinium), a kitchen (china), and perhaps a small garden (horses).
The front rooms of the house might open onto the street and serve as shops. During the late Republic and early empire, Roman houses became ever more elaborate. Greek-style columns were installed in the atrium, the old horses was expanded and framed by a colonnade (peristyle), and the decoration became quite lavish. The wealthiest city dwellings might occupy an entire block, as did the so-called House of the Faun at Pompeii, built early in the 2 nd century BC.
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