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They also learned from Egyptian pyramid architecture and stonework.Architecture is Ancient Rome's unique contribution to the history of art and to the culture of Europe.The mastery by Roman architects and engineers of the arch, vault and dome - further enhanced by their development of concrete - helped them to solve the first problem of monumental architecture, which is to bridge space.Roofing a great area means carrying heavy materials across spaces impossible to span with the Greeks' simple post-and-lintel system.Hellenic moderation and reasonableness became Roman practicality and Roman swagger.A glance around the main forum in Rome (1st century BCE - 3rd Century CE) would have given any observer a birds-eye view of the city's architecture: old temples, increasingly complex and graceful and adorned, but with something of Greek simplicity and harmony persisting, set among palaces, basilicas, memorial columns, and arcades; on every side magnificent arched construction, grand vistas, and banks of columns crowned by rich Corinthian capitals; on every side a profusion of vulgarized Greek ornament, interspersed with new panels of Roman relief sculpture: in all, a wonderful display of grandeur and exhibitionism.

As the Roman Empire expanded to engulf not only the Mediterranean region but also large areas of Western Europe, Roman architects struggled to achieve two overriding aims: to demonstrate the grandeur and power of Rome, while also improving the life of their fellow citizens.But the Greek influence, coming from Greek colonial cities in the south of the country, and from the Greek world of the eastern Mediterranean, rapidly became dominant.In architecture, however, the Romans absorbed some important techniques from the Etruscans before Greek influence was decisively felt.The most obvious Hellenistic gift was the series of Greek Orders of architecture - Doric, Ionic and Corinthian - from which the Romans developed two more: Tuscan and Composite (variants of the Greek Doric and Corinthian styles, respectively).In general, Roman Doric, Ionic and Corinthian Orders were slenderer and more ornamented.

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