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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name



Art and Art History

First Advisor

Brian Madigan

Second Advisor

Sarah M. Franklin


Without a complete excavation, Gismondi’s map of the imperial Roman Fora leads to the perception of a formal complex representing the order of imperial Rome. The speculative map is interpreted to indicate that the fora, each based on the Forum of Julius Caesar, coalesced into a unified whole, according to the master plan of Apollodorus of Damascus. Recent excavation of the north side of the Forum of Trajan demonstrates a divergence between the physical reality and Gismondi’s map that undermines a master plan. Moreover, the Fora did not embody the capacity of imperial Roman architecture to command space into spacious vaulted interiors. Rather, extravagant and exotic building materials described forms that were conservative and retrospective. The design of each of the squares has antecedents that precede the Forum of Caesar. The recently discovered auditoria of Hadrian point back to the Hellenistic and Hellenic architectural traditions that defined the north side of the Forum of Trajan. The imperial Roman Fora are better understood by considering the gradual accretion of republican military quadriporticus in the development of the civic center and the Campus Martius than by reinventing the imperial Fora in their final stage as a complete set.

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