‘False vaults’ in Roman architecture: origins and variations

WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 18.00–19.30 

Lynne Lancaster (American Academy in Rome)

In this talk I examine the origins of two types of unusual hanging ceilings recommended by Vitruvius: one using wood and reeds and the other iron and terracotta. I then trace the development of each type starting from the 3rd century BC. The journey takes us from Sicily to the southern coast of Spain before returning to Italy to examine examples from Rome and Pompeii among other sites in Italy. Some of the principles behind these two methods of ceiling construction continued into late antiquity; others reappeared in altered forms during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Following the adaptations and changes to Vitruvius’s recommended techniques provides insight into the various cultural factors that were affecting constructional innovations in different times and places in Italy and the western Mediterranean.


G.E. RICKMAN LECTURE

CITY OF ROME LECTURE SERIES