In a history that has extended over a thousand years, Roman architecture has proven to be "eternal". Combined with intense ambiguities and innovative designs, Roman architecture made use of basic structural elements, such as the arch and vault, to provide greater advantages than previous cultures. Read on as we explore and discuss how the use of the arch and vault established Roman architecture as one of the most creative achievements.
The Romans were a civilization of engineers and builders. In all of their history, no great names in science or mathematics beckon to us from across the ages as those of their military geniuses or literary greats do. In the applying of pure knowledge to practice uses, however, their engineers are unsurpassed until one reaches modern times. Without the ability to manufacture parts to standard dimensions close enough to allow them to be interchangeable in finished products without filin and fitting, they nevertheless had huge factories capable of large scale mass production. Engineers traveled with their armies building roads and bridges. In fact, a knowledge of engineering was almost a requirement for advancing through the ranks. After they conquered new territory and created a new province, their engineers laid out cities to a standard plan and provided them with excellent roads and a clean water supply.
Once Ancient Rome became a dominating world power, a revolution in architecture began. Imaginations exploded once freed from customs and brought about an architectural rebirth that was inspired by Greece. The rebirth of architecture challenged Romans to build with more imagination and freedom. From their experimentation came the arch and vault. This renewed interest in architecture was also seen as an art form and such things as bridges, aqueducts, arenas and public forums developed and grew from it.
The arch and vault became essential parts of monumental Roman architecture and formed the basis of construction for their huge structures of such enormous proportions.