Art and Architecture

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Augustus

Res Gestae

  • built 82 new temples
  • rebuilt the Capitoline and Theatre of Pompey
  • constructed the Via Flaminia
  • restored the channels of the aqueducts

Suetonius 

  • "found it of brick, but left it of marble"
  • cleansed and widened the Tiber to prevent floods

Material sources

  • Ara Pacis in the Field of Mars

NB: construction of aqueducts by Agrippa under Augustus

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Tiberius

Suetonius

  • "No magnificent public work marked his reign"
  • "never erected any noble edifice"
  • began building the Temple of Augustus and began restoration of the Theatre of Pompey
  • relied on the Senate for advice on many things including the construction of buildings

Tacitus

  • built barracks for Praetorian Guard on Viminal Hill
  • repaired Aventine Hill and Circus Maximus using his own money after they were damaged by a fire.

Cassius Dio

  • Modest as he did not spend much on himself or his projects
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Gaius

Suetonius

  • built the temple of Castor and Pollux into his extended palace
  • completed the Temple of Augustus and the repairs on the Theatre of Pompey
  • began construction on an aqueduct in the Tiber district

Cassius Dio, Seneca and Josephus

  • tried to build a bridge of boats across the bay od Baiae

Pliny the Elder

  • began construction of the Aqua Claudia and Aqua Novus (account of aqueducts also comes from Frontius)
  • he "saw the city ringed with the houses of emperors Caligula and Nero"
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Claudius

Suetonius

  • completed an aqueduct
  • attempted to drain the Fucine Lake
  • built a harbour at Ostia (also told by Cassius Dio)

Pliny the Elder

  • attempted to drain the Fucine Lake; constructed the harbour at Ostia
  • "no more remarkable achievement in the whole world" on Claudius' efforts

Inscriptions

  • digging in the Tiber prevented flooding during the construction of the harbour
  • he renovated the Aqua Virgo (inscription on the Aqua Virgo)
  • completed the Aqua Claudia and Novus (Inscriptions on Aqua Claudia)
  • costruction of the harbour at Ostia (inscription near Ostia)

Material sources

  • Arch of Claudius built into the Aqua Virgo
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Nero

Suetonius

  • ordered piazzas to be erected before every house to prevent fires spreading
  • costructed the Domus Aurea and the Colossus
  • introduced his "own style of architecture in the city"

Tacitus

  • constructed emergency accomodation for homeless 
  • attempted to build a canal from Lake Alvernus to the Tiber (abandoned due to the unforgiving terrain)
  • Nero renovated Rome through his regulations concerning the building of new houses, materials used, height of building and width of the street.
  • All this "beautified the city"

Pliny the Elder

  • Nero's Colossus is described
  • "saw the city ringed by the houses of emperors Caligula and Nero"
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Vespasian

Suetonius

  • began building the Flavian Amphitheatre (which had been a pet project of Augustus)
  • encouraged the rebuilding efforts in Rome, allowing people to build on unclaimed vacant lots and picking up the first pile of rubble himself
  • built a temple to Claudius and restored the Theatre of Marcellus

Cassius Dio

  • ecourages the rebuilding efforts by picking up the first basket of rubble
  • restored buildings and inscribed them with the original builder's names, not his own

Material sources

  • Vespasian's Forum which commemorated the end of Jewish and civil wars
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Titus

Suetonius

  • Completed the Flavian Amphitheatre
  • built the baths of Titus

Cassius Dio

  • completed the Flavian Amphitheatre
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Domitian

Suetonius

  • rebuilt many important buildings (with his name inscribed rather than the original builder's)
  • built the arch of Titus and the Flavian temple
  • built the temple of Capitoline Jupiter
  • built the Forum Transitora (later Forum Nerva)

Material sources

  • Arch of Titus with dedications to deified Titus and Vespasian
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