Strictly speaking, Rome had no architecture of her own; all she possessed was borrowed from other nations. Before the Romans exchanged intercourse with the Greeks, they possessed some edifices of considerable extent and merit, which were erected by architects from Etruria; but Rome was principally indebted to Greece for what she acquired of the art. Although there is no such thing as an architecture of Roman invention, yet no nation, perhaps, ever was so devoted to the cultivation of the art as the Roman. Whether we consider the number and extent of their structures, or the lavish richness and splendor with which they were adorned, we are compelled to yield to them our admiration and praise. At one time, under the consuls and emperors, Rome employed 400 architects. The public works - such as theatres, circuses, baths, aqueducts, etc. - were, in extent and grandeur, be-
Portico Of The Erectheum, Athens.
Change Of Styles By The Romans
yond anything attempted in modern times. Aqueducts were built to convey water from a distance of 60 miles or more. In the prosecution of this work rocks and mountains were tunnelled, and valleys bridged. Some of the latter descended 200 feet below the level of the water; and. in passing them the canals were supported by an arcade, or succession of arches. Public baths are spoken of as large as cities, being fitted up with numerous conveniences for exercise and amusement. Their decorations were most splendid; indeed, the exuberance of the ornaments alone was offensive to good taste. So overloaded with enrichments were the baths of Diocletian that on one occasion of public festivity great quantities of sculpture fell from the ceilings and entablatures, killing many of the people.