List of Roman domes

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The Pantheon in Rome. Largest dome in the world for more than 1,300 years
Oculus of the Pantheon.

This is a list of Roman domes. The Romans were the first builders in the history of architecture to realize the potential of domes for the creation of large and well-defined interior spaces.[1] Domes were introduced in a number of Roman building types such as temples, thermae, palaces, mausolea and later also churches. Half-domes also became a favoured architectural element and were adopted as apses in Christian sacred architecture.

Monumental domes began to appear in the 1st century BC in Rome and the provinces around the Mediterranean Sea. Along with vaults, they gradually replaced the traditional post and lintel construction which makes use of the column and architrave. The construction of domes was greatly facilitated by the invention of concrete, a process which has been termed the Roman Architectural Revolution.[2] Their enormous dimensions remained unsurpassed until the introduction of structural steel frames in the late 19th century (see List of the world's largest domes).[1][3][4]

Domes[edit]

All diameters are clear span in m; for polygonal domes applies the in-circle diameter. Main source is Jürgen Rasch's study of Roman domes (1985).

Diameter  Name,
Part
Location Built Shape of dome,
Ground plan
Material,
Roof construction
Shell
thickness (ST)
ST to 
Curtain wall
thickness (CWT)
CWT to 
Diameter Oculus (DO)
DO to 
Comments/
Other characteristics
~ 43.45 [5] Pantheon Rome ~ 27-25 BC Rotunda Concrete,
Lead plate roofing
~ 1.35
~ 1:32
~ 5.93
~ 1:7.3
~ 8.95
~ 1:4.9
Largest dome of the world until 1881; largest unreinforced solid concrete dome in the world till present;[6] archetype of Western dome construction to this day[3][7]
~ 38.20 [8] "Temple of Apollo" Lake Avernus ~ 1st c.
~ 35.08 [4] Baths of Caracalla,
Caldarium
Rome ~ 3rd c. Amphoras Eight pillars; largest dome of the world out of ceramic hollowware
~ 29.50 [9] "Temple of Diana" Baiae ~ 2nd c. ~ 1.20
~ 1:25
~ 5,70 [10]
~ 1:5.2
~ 26.30 [9] "Temple of Venus" Baiae ~ 2nd c. ~ - ~ 2.90 [11]
~ 1:9.1
Outer wall pillars
~ 25.04 [12] Mausoleum of Maxentius Rome ~ 4th c.
~ 25.00 [13] Baths of Agrippa,
'Arco della Ciambella'
Rome 1st c. BC Rotunda First Thermae in Rome with central dome;[13] largest dome of the world
~ 24.15 [9] Rotunda of St. George Thessaloniki ~ 4th c. Brick ~ 1
~ 1:24
~ 6.00
~ 1:4
Largest brick dome of the world
~ 23.85 [9] Sanctuary of Asclepius Pergamon ~ 2nd c. Brick ~ - ~ 3.35
~ 1:7.1
Earliest monumental brick dome;[14] largest brick dome of the world
~ 23.70 to
~ 19.80 [15]
St. Gereon's Basilica Cologne ~ 4th c. Oval with eight niches and apse Later medieval structure with Roman building fabric largest occidental dome between Hagia Sophia and Florence Cathedral[16]
~ 23.65 [9] "Temple of Minerva Medica" Rome ~ 4th c. Decagon Concrete with brick ribs ~ 0.56
~ 1:42
~ 2.60 [11]
~ 1:9.1
Outer wall pillars
~ 22.00 [17] Baths of Antoninus Carthage ~ 2nd c. Polygon Seven domes with diameters between 17 and 22 m[17]
~ 22.00 [18] Rotunda at the Hippodrome Constantinople ~ 5th c. Rotunda with ten niches
~ 22.00 [19] Baths of Diocletian,
San Bernardo[disambiguation needed]
Rome ~ 300 Concrete with brick ribs
~ 21.65 or
~ 21.25 [20][21]
Baths of Diocletian,
'Planetarium'
Rome ~ 300 Umbrella dome,
Octagon
Concrete with inner brick covering ~ 4.20
~ 1:5.1
~ 21.55 [21] "Temple of Mercury" Baiae 1st c. BC Concrete[22] ~ 3.65
~ 1:5.9
Earliest monumental dome;[23] largest dome of the world
~ 20.18 [9] Mausoleum of Helena Rome ~ 4th c. Ceramic amphora incorporated into dome's base ~ 0.90
~ 1:22
~ 2.40
~ 1:8.4
~ 19.80 [20] Baths of Caracalla,
Side building
Rome ~ 3rd c. Octagon Preliminary form of the pendentive dome[20]
~ 19.40 [20] Baths of Bacucco Near Viterbo ~ 4th c. Umbrella dome,
Octagon
~ 19.30 [21] Baths of Diocletian,
Tepidarium
Rome ~ 300 ~ 3.68
~ 1:5.2
~ 18.38 [9] Pantheon Ostia ~ 3rd c. ~ - ~ 1.98
~ 1:9.3
~ 18.00 [15] Church of Euphemia Constantinople ~ 5th c. Hexagon
~ 16.75 [24] Hadrian's Villa,
'Serapeum'
Tivoli ~ 2nd c. Umbrella dome Concrete Hollow space system
~ 16.45 [17] Imperial Baths,
Tepidarium
Trier ~ 4th c. Concrete
~ 15.70 [17] Basilica of San Vitale Ravenna ~ 6th c. Clay pipe,
Wooden roof construction
~ 15.60 [21] Nymphaeum in Albano Laziale ? ~ 1st c. Concrete ~ 2.08
~ 1:7.6
Earliest evidence for hollow spaces at dome's base for reduction in weight[25]
~ 15.00 to
~ 13.00 [14]
Southern baths Bostra ~ 3rd-4th c. Octagon Concrete
~ 15.00 [15] Western baths Gerasa ~ 2nd c. Square Voussoir One of the earliest stone domes with square plan;[15] largest stone dome of the world
~ 14.70 [9] "Heroon of Romulus" at the Roman Forum Rome ~ 4th c. Lead plate roofing ~ 0.90
~ 1:16
~ 1.80
~ 1:8.2
~ 3,70
~ 1:4.0
~ 14.50 [9] "Temple of Portunus" Porto ~ 3rd c. Concrete with inner brick covering ~ - ~ 2.20
~ 1:6.6
~ 13.71 [9] Mausoleum of Tor de' Schiavi Via Prenestina ~ 4th c. ~ 0.60
~ 1:23
~ 2.60
~ 1:5.3
Four openings at dome's base
~ 13.48 [23] Domus Aurea Rome ~ 1st c. Cloister vault,
Octagon
Concrete ~ 5.99
~ 1:2.3
First dome with octagonal plan; earliest in palace architecture[23]
~ 13.35 [9] Mausoleum of Diocletian Split ~ 300 Brick,
Tiled roof
~ 0.68
~ 1:20
~ 3.40 [10]
~ 1:3.9
Double-walled dome[12]
~ 12.90 [12] Chapel of Saint Aquilino Milan ~ 4th c. Brick
~ 12.33 [26] "Tempio della Tosse" Tivoli ~ 4th c. Concrete with brick ribs ~ 1.30
~ 1:9
~ 2.08
~ 1:5.9
~ 2.10
~ 1:5.9
~ 12.00 [19] Hadrian's Villa,
Summer Triclinium (Exedra)
Tivoli ~ 2nd c. Concrete with inner brick covering
~ 12.00 [17] Baths of Aquae Flavianae El Hammam ~ 3rd c. Clay pipes Largest dome of the world out of ceramic hollowware
~ 12.00 [15] Church of Hodegetria Constantinople ~ 5th c. Hexagon
~ 12.00 [15] Skeuophylakion Constantinople ~ 5th c. Dodecagon
~ 11.90 [9] Baptistery Nocera Superiore
Campania
~ 6th c. Eight rectangular dome windows
~ 11.90 [27] Hadrian's Villa,
'Heliocaminus'
Tivoli ~ 2nd c. Double-walled dome with spacing for ceiling heating[27]
~ 11.50 [28] "Red Basilica" Pergamon ~ 2nd c. Brick Two Rotunda; largest brick dome of the world
~ 11.50 [26] Santa Costanza Rome ~ 4th c. Concrete with brick ribs,
Tiled roof directly resting on dome shell
~ 0.70
~ 1:16
~ 1.45
~ 1:7.9
Tambour[29]
~ 11.50 [15] Mor Gabriel Monastery Tur Abdin ~ 6th c. Brick ~ yes
~ 11.47 [26] Praetorium Cologne ~ 4th c. Octagon ~ - ~ 2.00 [10]
~ 1:5.7
~ 11.10 [26] Gordian's Villa Rome,
Via Prenestina
~ 3rd c. Octagon ~ - ~ 1.35 [10]
~ 1:8.2
Preliminary form of the pendentive dome;[20] eight openings at dome's base
~ 11.00 [4] Therme d’Allance ? ~ ?
~ 10.80 [26] Mausoleum of Gallien Rome,
Via Appia
~ 3rd c. Rotunda with six niches ~ - ~ 1.60
~ 1:6.8
~ 10.70 [26] "Mausoleum of Centocelle" Centcelles,
near Tarragona
~ 4th c. Brick and stone ~ 0.40
~ 1:27
~ 1.90
~ 1:5.6
~ 10.40 to
1~ 9.40 [24]
Hadrian's Villa,
small baths
Tivoli ~ 2nd c. Elliptical dome with wavelike rim
~ 10.00 [24] Gordian's Villa,
Hall
Via Prenestina ~ 2nd c.
~ 10.00 [25] "Villa delle Vignacce" Via Latina ~ 2nd c. Ceramic amphora at dome's base Earliest known use of amphora at dome's base[25]
~ 19.85 [17] Cathedral,
Baptistery
Ravenna ~ 5th c.
1~ 9.50 [20] Hadrian's Villa,
Piazza d'Oro (vestibule)
Tivoli ~ 2nd c. Umbrella dome ~ 1,90
~ 1:5.0
1~ 9.50 [18] Praetextat catacomb,
'Calventier tomb'
Rome ~ 3rd c. Rotunda with six niches
1~ 9.00 [14] Capito Thermae,
Laconicum
Miletus ~ 1st c. Concrete
1~ 9.00 [15] Small Roundtemple Baalbek ~ 3rd c.
1~ 8.50 [18] Domus Augustana Rome ~ 1st c. Cloister vault,
Octagon
One of the earliest cloister vaults with octagonal curtain walls[18]
~ 18.10 [26] "Torraccio del Palombaro" Rome,
Via Appia
~ 4th c. ~ 0.90
~ 1:9
~ 2,30
~ 1:3.5
~ 1.50
~ 1:5.4
1~ 7.70 [20] Baths of Maxentius Rome ~ 4th c. Umbrella dome,
Octagon
~ 17.60 [4] Domus Flavia Rome ~ 1st c.
1~ 7.60 to
1~ 6.20 [18]
Hadrian's Villa,
'Heliocaminus'
? ~ 2nd c. Cloister vault,
Uneven octagon
1~ 6.80 [15] Nymphaeum Riza,
Epirus
~ 250-350 Dodecagon
1~ 6.75 [20] "Temple of Venus",
Annex building
Baiae ~ 2nd c. Flat umbrella dome,
Octagon
~ 16.65 [21] Hall of Thermae Pisa ? ~ 2nd c. Cloister vault with eight windows,
Octagon
~ 2.00
~ 1:3.3
~ 16.52 [23] Stabian Thermae,
Laconicum
Pompeii 1st c. BC Cone vault (early form of the dome) Concrete ~ yes Oldest known concrete domes[23]
1~ 6.00 [17] Hunting Thermae Leptis Magna ~ 200 Cloister vault with eight windows
~ 15.86 [17] Arch of Marcus Aurelius Tripoli ~ ? Cloister vault Voussoir
1~ 5.70 [9] Water Castellum Pompeii ~30 BC-
~14 AD
Flat dome
~ 15.40 [20] Octagon near 'Temple of Mercury' Baiae ~ 2nd c. Umbrella dome,
Octagon
1~ 5.40 [12] San Vitale,
Stair towers
Ravenna ~ 6th c. Brick
~ 15.20 [15] "Sedia del Diavolo",
Tomb
Rome,
Via Nomentana
~ 2nd c. Square
1~ 4.70 [18] Tabularium Rome 1st c. BC Cloister vault,
Square
Earliest cloister vault[15]
~ 14.41 [24] "Temple of Venus",
Annex building
Baiae ~ 2nd c. Umbrella dome above circular ground plan ~ 0.59
~ 1:7.5
1~ 4.40 [30] Mausoleum of Galla Placidia Ravenna ~ 5th c. Tiled roof
1~ 4.00 [9] Tomb at Casal de' Pazzi Rome,
Via Nomentana
~ 2nd c. In-circle dome,
Square
Concrete Preform of pendentive dome;[9] hollow space system
~ 11.65 [23] "Villa of the Mysteries",
Laconicum
Pompeii 1st c. BC Cone vault (early form of the dome) Brick and clay (upper calotte) Concrete wall shell[31]
~ ? [18] Mausoleum of Constantine at the Church of the Holy Apostles Constantinople ~ 4th c. Presumably Rotunda with twelve niches

Half-domes[edit]

Diameter  Name,
Part
Location Built Shape of dome,
Ground plan
Material,
Roof construction
Shell
thickness (ST)
ST to 
Curtain wall
thickness (CWT)
CWT to 
Comments/
Other characteristics
~ 30.00 [5] Baths of Trajan Rome ~ ? Largest dome(s) of the world
~ 22.00 [5] Baths of Diocletian,
Two apse halls
Rome ~ 300
~ 18.50 [5] Trajan's Forum Rome ~ ?
~ 15.80 [17] Santi Cosma e Damiano,
Apse
Rome ~ 6th c.
~ 11.00 [14] Nymphaeum Jerash ~ 2nd c. Concrete
1~ 9.60 [14] Basilica,
Apse
Bostra ~ 3rd c. Concrete, inside covered with ashlar
1~ 8.00 [14] Cathedral,
Annex rooms
Bostra ~ 6th c. Concrete
1~ 5.70 [12] Pantheon,
Front niches
Rome ~ 2nd c.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rasch 1985, p. 117
  2. ^ Lechtman & Hobbs 1986
  3. ^ a b Mark & Hutchinson 1986, p. 24
  4. ^ a b c d Heinle & Schlaich 1996, p. 27
  5. ^ a b c d Rasch 1985, p. 119
  6. ^ Romanconcrete.com
  7. ^ Müller 2005, p. 253
  8. ^ Bishop 1977, p. 92
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Rasch 1985, p. 129
  10. ^ a b c d Corner
  11. ^ a b Pillar
  12. ^ a b c d e Rasch 1985, p. 123
  13. ^ a b Heinz 1983, pp. 60–64
  14. ^ a b c d e f Rasch 1985, p. 125
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rasch 1985, p. 126
  16. ^ Schäfke 1985, pp. 100 & 118
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rasch 1985, p. 124
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Rasch 1985, p. 127
  19. ^ a b Rasch 1985, p. 138
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rasch 1985, p. 130
  21. ^ a b c d e Rasch 1985, p. 136
  22. ^ Mark & Hutchinson 1986, p. 33
  23. ^ a b c d e f Rasch 1985, p. 118
  24. ^ a b c d Rasch 1985, p. 133
  25. ^ a b c Rasch 1985, p. 135
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Rasch 1985, p. 128
  27. ^ a b Rasch 1985, p. 139
  28. ^ Rasch 1985, p. 137
  29. ^ Rasch 1985, p. 120
  30. ^ Rasch 1985, p. 134
  31. ^ Rasch 1985, p. 122

Sources[edit]

Main source
  • Rasch, Jürgen (1985), "Die Kuppel in der römischen Architektur. Entwicklung, Formgebung, Konstruktion", Architectura 15: 117–139 
Further sources
  • Bishop, John (1977), "The Pantheon: Design, Meaning, and Progeny (Review)", Art Journal 37 (1): 92 
  • Heinle, Erwin; Schlaich, Jörg (1996), Kuppeln aller Zeiten, aller Kulturen, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-421-03062-6 
  • Heinz, Werner (1983), Römische Thermen. Badewesen und Badeluxus im römischen Reich, München, pp. 60–64, ISBN 3-7774-3540-6 
  • Lechtman, Heather; Hobbs, Linn (1986), "Roman Concrete and the Roman Architectural Revolution. Ceramics and Civilization", in Kingery, W. D., High Technology Ceramics: Past, Present, Future 3, American Ceramics Society 
  • Mark, Robert; Hutchinson, Paul (1986), "On the Structure of the Roman Pantheon", Art Bulletin 68 (1): 24–34, doi:10.2307/3050861, JSTOR 3050861 
  • Müller, Werner (2005), dtv-Atlas Baukunst I. Allgemeiner Teil: Baugeschichte von Mesopotamien bis Byzanz (14th ed.), München, ISBN 3-423-03020-8 
  • Schäfke, Werner (1985), Kölns romanische Kirchen. Architektur, Ausstattung, Geschichte (5th ed.), Köln, ISBN 3-7701-1360-8 

External links[edit]