This fascinating book provides a chronological overview of the methods and materials employed in Greek and Roman architecture from the third century B.C. through the fifth century A.D. The first half of the book, devoted to Greek architectural techniques, traces the development and uses of building materials throughout the Aegean region. The author highlights key innovations, such as the replacement of wooden structures by those made of stone and the development of hoisting systems for moving large blocks of stone. The Romans not only expanded on the engineering experiments of the Greeks but also developed their own construction methods and materials, as seen in the second half of the book. For instance the Romans' version of concrete was used to make the Colosseum and the vaulted roof of the Pantheon, an advance unequaled for many centuries.
Constructing the Ancient World includes a wealth of illustrations of surviving structures, accompanied by concise explanations of the discovery, significance, and historical details of each building along with precise drawings that clearly illustrate the various techniques under discussion.
Carmelo G. Malacrino is an architect specializing in ancient architecture at the Italian Archaeological School in Athens and director of the study mission for publications on the monuments in ancient Kos in the Greek Islands. He is a contributor to Architetti, architettura e citta nel Mediterraneo antico (Mondadori, 2007).
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