Thermae of Caracalla
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Architect unknown
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Location Rome, Italy   map
Date 212 to 216   timeline
Building Type baths
 Construction System brick bearing masonry
Climate mediterranean
Context urban
Style Ancient Roman
Notes Cement mortar used for great arches and vaults.
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Drawings

 


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Discussion Thermae of Caracalla Commentary

"The infamous Caracalla (A.D. 188-217) was the emperor who extended Roman citizenship to all freemen in the empire—largely, it is held, to raise taxes for such projects as his wildly popular bath. In the many years of its greatness, the complex must have been staggering both in size and opulence: it originally accommodated some 1,600 bathers as well as other activities such as sports and theatricals. The underground vaulted facilities for servicing the calidarium (hot baths) and tepidarium (lukewarm baths) were incredibly complex. In semiruins today, the bath remains impressive, especially on summer evenings, when it is used for staging opera."

— from G.E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p32.

Details

The central mass of the building measured 390 feet wide by 740 feet long. The largest room, the vaulted tepidarium, measured 82 by 170 feet. The inside height of the tepidarium has been estimated at 125 feet.

Resources
Sources on Thermae of Caracalla

Fritz Baumgart. A History of Architectural Styles. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970. NA204.B3513. LC 70-110283. section/elevation drawing showing central portion in elevation, f38, p44. Roger-Viollet, Paris.

Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Drawings of Great Buildings. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. plan and section of Calidarium, p35. — Available at Amazon.com

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. circle and rectangle diagram, p186. — Updated edition available at Amazon.com

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1537.025. PCD.2260.1012.1537.024. PCD.2260.1012.1537.023

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. London: The Butterworth Group, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. LC 86-31761. NA200.F63 1987. construction perspective drawing of the vault of the tepidarium, fig l, p183. construction perspective drawing of semi dome, fig k, p183. — The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at Amazon.com

G.E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. discussion p32. photo of half-round exedra, p32.

D. S. Robertson. A Handbook of Greek and Roman Architecture. London: Cambridge University Press, 1929. NA260.R6. perspective reconstruction drawing of great hall, plate XVIII.

Richard Guy Wilson. McKim, Mead and White, Architects. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. NA737.M4W54. ISBN 0-8478-0491-7. LC 83-4534. floor plan, f277, p215.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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