This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
The Arch of Titus (Fig. 134) contains the earliest known example in Rome of the use of the Composite Order. However, while the first example in Rome, there are still earlier ones existing in cities of Asia Minor. Perhaps the earliest instance of the use of this Order is found in the Pronaos in the Temple of Jupiter at Aizani, where a capital (Fig 135) with a single row of acanthus leaves is used with a volute. This dates from the first century B. C. This capital suggests the possible connection between the ornamented Ionic capital, such as used in the Erechtheum, and the later Roman Corinthian and Composite capitals; showing, as it does, a possible evolution of the leaf treatment of the frieze from these first examples to the more elaborate leaf treatment on the face of the bell of the later capital-just such a transition as is shown in this Greek capital from Aizani. So it is possible that the Composite capital is more properly an outgrowth of the richer forms of the Ionic Order, which may have first suggested the use of leafage below the Ionic volutes.
Fig. 131. Arch of Titus.
Arch of Titus, Showing View of Colosseum.
But the full development of the Composite form, combining all the richest and most elaborate parts of the former Orders, is undoubtedly due to the Romans. Aside from the fact that all the mouldings of this Order are more elaborately carved even than in the Corinthian buildings, its distinguishing characteristic is again found in the capital, which was an apparent combination of the Corinthian vase-shaped bell along with its ornamental foliage, placed beneath the volute and capital of the Ionic Order. This capital may perhaps be considered as a good instance of that over-elaboration of the Romans which is not consistent with the taste of to-day. This fact makes the Composite Order of little present advantage; and it is necessary to take up and illustrate only a few examples, in order to complete and round out the progress of Roman architecture.
It is in the Forum of Nerva that the first beginnings of the architectural decadence of Rome may be noted. It is here evident that inferior artists are being employed; and the continuous progress of this decline may be noticed in the Composite Order and cornice of the Arch of Septimus Severus, in the Baths of Diocletian, and even in the Corinthian Order employed on the Arch of Constanine.
PLATE LVI. (A reproduction at small size of Portfolio Plate LVI).
The Composite Order shown in the example from the large hall of the Baths of Diocletian at Rome, indicates what may be considered the ultimate phase of the development of Roman architecture. This Order dates from about 290 A. D.; and, especially in the leaf treatment, the decadence which has overtaken this, along with the other arts, is plainly evidenced.
This Order is shown on the same plate with the Renaissance version of Palladio (Plate LVI), the latter dating between 1518 and 1580 A. D.; while another example very similar to Palladio's form is shown in Plate LV along with a method of construction much the same as that employed with the Corinthian Order drawn out beside it. The simple methods of proportioning the Orders shown in these two examples may be considered sufficiently exact to be used customarily in roughing out the proportions and outlines of these two type forms.