The first reconstruction of the architecture of ancient Alexandria and Egypt, long believed lost beyond recovery
This masterful history of the monumental architecture of Alexandria, as well as of the rest of Egypt, encompasses an entire millennium--from the city's founding by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. to the years just after the Islamic conquest of A.D. 642. Long considered lost beyond recall, the architecture of ancient Alexandria has until now remained mysterious. But here Judith McKenzie shows that it is indeed possible to reconstruct the city and many of its buildings by means of meticulous exploration of archaeological remains, written sources, and an array of other fragmentary evidence.
The book approaches its subject at the macro- and the micro-level: from city-planning, building types, and designs to architectural style. It addresses the interaction between the imported Greek and native Egyptian traditions; the relations between the architecture of Alexandria and the other cities and towns of Egypt as well as the wider Mediterranean world; and Alexandria's previously unrecognized role as a major source of architectural innovation and artistic influence. Lavishly illustrated with new plans of the city in the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Byzantine periods; reconstruction drawings; and photographs, the book brings to life the ancient city and uncovers the true extent of its architectural legacy in the Mediterranean world.
In this book, Bernard Rudofsky steps outside the narrowly defined discipline that has governed our sense of architectural history and discusses the art of building as a universal phenomenon. He introduces the reader to communal architecture--architecture produced not by specialists but by the spontaneous and continuing activity of a whole people with a common heritage, acting within a community experience. A prehistoric theater district for a hundred thousand spectators on the American continent and underground towns and villages (complete with schools, offices, and factories) inhabited by millions of people are among the unexpected phenomena he brings to light.
The beauty of "primitive" architecture has often been dismissed as accidental, but today we recognize in it an art form that has resulted from human intelligence applied to uniquely human modes of life. Indeed, Rudofsky sees the philosophy and practical knowledge of the untutored builders as untapped sources of inspiration for industrial man trapped in his chaotic cities.
Herod the Great, King of Judaea from 444 B.C., is known as one of the world's great villains. This notoriety has overshadowed his actual achievements, particularly his role as a client king of Rome during Augustus's reign as emperor. An essential aspect of Herod's responsibilities as king of Judaea was his role as a builder. Remarkably innovative, he created an astonishing record of architectural achievement, not only in Judaea but also throughout Greece and the Roman east. Duane W. Roller systematically presents and discusses all the building projects known to have been initiated by Herod, and locates this material in a broad historical and cultural context.
Bringing together previously inaccessible material, Roller enriches our understanding of the enigmatic Herod and provides new insights into Roman architecture. Herod was instrumental in the diffusion of the Augustan architectural revolution into the provinces and was the first to build outside Italy such Italian architectural forms as the basilica, amphitheater, villa, and Italian temple. Herod's legacy provided a groundwork for the architectural Romanization of the east, influencing the construction of the great temple complexes and palaces so familiar from later Roman architecture.
Herod, like Augustus himself, was not only interested in architecture but also in diplomatic and financial contacts among cities of the region. In addition to providing a repertorium of the building projects, this study is also an exploration of international relations in the eastern Mediterranean at the beginning of the Roman imperial period.
In the tradition of Brunelleschi's Dome, comes a lively and richly informative chronicle of one of the world's most famous--and famously flawed--architectural and cultural icons, all presented in an innovative and striking format. Illustrations.