If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:3:11

Video transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] STEVEN ZUCKER: We're in Rome standing near the Tiber, looking at an ancient Roman temple, a temple that, for a long time, was misnamed Fortuna Verilis. BETH HARRIS: Temple of manly fortune. It looks very much like what you expect a classical temple look like in ancient Roman-- STEVEN ZUCKER: Although it's relatively small. BETH HARRIS: It is small. But it's got fluted columns. STEVEN ZUCKER: Ionic columns-- BETH HARRIS: Ionic capitals. STEVEN ZUCKER: Derived from the Greek, but this is clearly not a Greek temple. BETH HARRIS: Right. It's different in important ways. STEVEN ZUCKER: So for one thing, it's on a raised platform. BETH HARRIS: Right. STEVEN ZUCKER: And the platform only has steps in the front. BETH HARRIS: Right. STEVEN ZUCKER: And the Greeks-- if you think about the Parthenon, for instance, you would enter from the front or the back. But in terms of actually rising up to the stylobate, you could ascend from any point. BETH HARRIS: Right. And I think about a Greek temple more as something where the worship took place outside of the temple, though a statue of the god would be inside. But a Greek temple's almost like, to me, a kind of sculpture in the landscape. And here, it is more of a directional-- STEVEN ZUCKER: Yeah. BETH HARRIS: Emphasis on the front, on the porch. STEVEN ZUCKER: And it's not just directional, but I think the worshiper is actually being directed in a specific way. BETH HARRIS: Yes. STEVEN ZUCKER: So that I think the Romans are, in a sense, controlling the way you use the building. BETH HARRIS: And I think, like a Greek temple, only the priest would have gone inside. STEVEN ZUCKER: It's also Roman in other important ways. Not only does it have a single staircase in the front, but the building extends out to the edge almost. BETH HARRIS: Right. There's a larger interior space, so that the columns on the sides and the back are not freestanding columns. They're attached columns. STEVEN ZUCKER: Yeah. They're engaged. And that's a sort of particularly Roman thing. BETH HARRIS: Yes. STEVEN ZUCKER: The Greeks, I don't think, would have done that because the Greek used columns, actually, as structural devices. And here, the columns are just purely decorative. BETH HARRIS: They're decorative. STEVEN ZUCKER: As you move back-- in other words, the wall's doing the supporting. The wall's actually doing the work of holding up the roof. So the building is not in great condition. BETH HARRIS: It dates from 100 BC, so it's more than 2000 years old. STEVEN ZUCKER: And it's still standing. BETH HARRIS: And it's still here, surrounded by the modern traffic of the city. And we get a real sense of what an ancient Roman temple looked like-- STEVEN ZUCKER: True. BETH HARRIS: From the period of the ancient Roman Republic. STEVEN ZUCKER: It's really beautifully proportioned. There's a wonderful kind of rhythm that's created by the columns as they move back. BETH HARRIS: And it's got four columns across the front and two deep for that porch space. And I think a lot of this was based on the culture that lived here before. STEVEN ZUCKER: The Etruscans? BETH HARRIS: Yeah. I think, actually, that this borrows from ancient Etruscan architecture. STEVEN ZUCKER: But I'm seeing lots of Greek influence. BETH HARRIS: Yes. STEVEN ZUCKER: I'm seeing dentils. I'm seeing, as we mentioned before, the Ionic columns. BETH HARRIS: The pediment at the top. STEVEN ZUCKER: Absolutely. All of which is really speaking of just how important the Greek precedent was for the Roman. BETH HARRIS: It's like going back in time, standing here and looking at. [MUSIC PLAYING]