Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.04.15

Mark Wilson Jones, Principles of Roman Architecture.   London and New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2000.  Pp. xi, 270; 256 b/w, 30 color ills..  ISBN 0-300-08138-3.  $60.00.  

Reviewed by Thomas Noble Howe, The University of Maryland/The American Academy in Rome (
Word count: 174 words

Mark Wilson Jones' book Principles of Roman Architecture is a major advance in our understanding of the working methods of Roman architects. It argues, quite convincingly, for the existence of a set of fairly standard design procedures, based usually on the elementary use of rule and compass and simple whole number dimensions, and a design process which started from an initial simple geometric conception which, of necessity, was altered as the design developed in complexity and was adapted to the site. At the end of this process the initial conception is often no longer precisely embodied in the final building; it was a starting point for a process. The book also argues that certain standardized procedures were quite widespread throughout the empire, at least from the later first century A.D.

** The full review will be published at the end of September in the Journal of Roman Archaeology vol. 15 (2002) 469-72, which had prior claim to it. The review Mr Howe intended for BMCR has now been published as BMCR 2002.08.39. **

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