Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Mack, Pamela E.
Grubb , Alan C.
Dunn , Caroline
Empires have been identified in various ways such as by the land area under their control, by their duration, their level of economic influence, or military might. The Roman Empire was not the world's largest and its duration, although notable, was not extraordinary. Military power was necessary for conquering the area brought under the control of the Empire. However, for the Romans, the ability and capacity for construction is what identified and expressed the Empire when it began and identifies the Empire today. The materials used, construction techniques employed, and architectural styles for structures for government, entertainment, dwellings, bridges, and aqueducts will be discussed. Because of the quantity of construction, the extent to which it was distributed across the Empire, and the significant amount remaining today, the Roman Empire is expressed and identified by what the Romans built, how it was built, and the architectural style employed.
Primary sources include Marcus Vitruvius Pollio whose Ten Books on Architecture was written between 30 and 20 BC. Vitruvius was born in approximately 80 BC and died in approximately 10 BC. Titus Livius, 60 BC - AD 17, produced 142 books on the history of Rome. Gaius Plinus Secundus (Pliny the Elder), AD 23-79, wrote his primary work, Natural History, during the first century AD. Sextus Julius Frontinus, AD 35-104, became water commissioner of Rome after serving as a military governor in Britain. He wrote the Water Supply of the City of Rome in AD 97. The authors listed above were prominent Roman citizens and were from well connected families. Pliny and Livy wrote as historians. Vitruvius' and Frontinus' works were instructional in purpose but unwittingly became valuable historical documents.
Strickland, Michael, "Roman Building Materials, Construction Methods, and Architecture: The Identity of an Empire" (2010). All Theses. 909.