Antiquity: Origins, Classicism and the New Rome, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


Origins, Classicism and the New Rome, 1st Edition

By Christopher Tadgell


858 pages | 1122 Color Illus. | 352 B/W Illus.

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This is the first in a series of seven books that describe and illustrate the seminal architectural traditions of the world. It describes the origins of the Classical tradition in the mountain temples of Sumer, the pyramids of Egypt and the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. The story continues with the temples, theatres, palaces and council chambers of ancient Greece and Rome, and finishes with the adoption of Classical models to house the new institutions of Christian Europe. Excursions along the way take in Mesoamerica and the Andean littoral, and Africa.

Not simply a profusely illustrated catalogue of buildings, the book also provides their political, technological, social and cultural contexts. It functions equally well as a detailed and comprehensive narrative, as a collection of the great buildings of the world, and as an archive of themes across time and place.


'[The first in] a grand survey of the whole of world architecture.' - The Times

‘This book is an absolute tour de force. Architecture is only the beginning; we are told about the civilizations that created it, with examples of their artefacts as well as their buildings.’ - John Julius Norwich

‘Astonishing in its scope, clarity and insight, Tadgell’s survey of the built environment from the beginnings to the twilight of Byzantium works at every level: it will guide the student and stimulate the scholar.’ - David Starkey

Table of Contents

Prologue: Origins Part 1: West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean 1.1. The Fertile Crescent and the Nile Valley 1.2. The Aegean, Anatolia and the Aryans 1.3. Issues From a Dark Age Part 2: Trans-Atlantica 2.1. Mesoamerica 2.2. The Andean Littoral Part 3: The Classical World 3.1. Hellenic Order 3.2. Macedonians and the East 3.3. Republican Rome and its Mentors 3.4. Augustan Rome and its Empire Part 4: Christianity and Empire 4.1. Rome and New Romes 4.2. Justinian and the Apotheosis of Byzantium Epilogue: The Last Half Millennium of Byzantium Glossary Further Reading Index

About the Author

Christopher Tadgell taught architectural history for almost thirty years before devoting himself full-time to writing and research, travelling the world to see and photograph buildings from every tradition and period.

Born in Sydney, he studied art history at the Courtauld Institute in London. In 1974 he was awarded his PhD for a thesis on the Neoclassical architectural theorist, Ange-Jacques Gabriel. He subsequently taught in London and at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Canterbury, with interludes as F.L. Morgan Professor of Architectural Design at the University of Louisville and as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has lectured at academic institutions around the world, including the universities of Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell, the Graham Foundation in Chicago, and Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute in the UK. He is a Trustee of the World Monuments Fund, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of both the British and American Societies of Architectural Historians.

His The History of Architecture in India (1990, several reprints, Phaidon) is the definitive one-volume account of the architecture of the subcontinent, while many publications on French architecture include the standard account in Baroque and Rococo Architecture and Decoration (ed. Blunt, 1978, Elek). He has contributed many articles on Indian and French architecture to The Grove Dictionary of Art and other major reference books.

About the Series

Architecture in Context

Architecture in Context is a series of seven books by Christopher Tadgell describing and illustrating all the seminal traditions from man’s early settlements in the Euphrates and Jordan valleys to the technologically complex and stylistically sophisticated buildings of the second half of the twentieth century. In a synthesis of extraordinary range, it brings together the fruits of a lifetime of teaching and travelling the world, seeing and photographing buildings. Each stand-alone volume sets the buildings described and illustrated within their political, technological, social and cultural contexts, exploring architecture not only as the development of form but as an expression of the civilization within which it evolved.

The series focuses on the story of the Classical tradition from its origins in Mesopotamia and Egypt, through its realization in ancient Greece and Rome, to the Renaissance, Neo-Classicism, Eclecticism and Modernism. This thread is supplemented with excursions to cover the development of architecture in Central America, India, South-East Asia, and the Islamic world.

For students of architecture and art history, for travellers and for readers who want to understand the genesis of the buildings they see around them, each volume provides a complete, readable and superbly illustrated reference.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / General
HISTORY / Ancient / Rome