Roman Empire, like the predeccesor cultures, followed a grid system for designing and forming the cities. However, the Imperial Rome could not follow this system due to its topography. As for the other cultures, showing their religion or political ideas, particular buildings seemed to be enough for them where the Roman Empire took this duty incredibly substantial and absorbed other cultures’ architecture and embedded to itself with expressive ways. Architecture and urbanism shaped how people were to live.
Roman Caput Mundi
Caput Mundi the “head of the world” was how the city of Rome saw itself with its vast empire. The system of the military and the civil law was rather something to be admired at. They have used architecture as a tool for empowering the empire at the same time being influenced by the Hellenistic experience. Besides, they were affected by the Etruscan culture which introduced arches and vaults. The Romans experimented with the new concrete construction by using arches and vaults. While doing this, the complicated structures were only the combinations of the standard units. For most of the temples rather than using the peripteral set of columns they have used the frontal orientation as seen in the Etruscan with a columnated porch.
From republic to monarchy, their political spaces have startes to change as well. The Roman Forum was comparatively more closed with tall colonnaded buildings, contrary to the openness of the Agora in Athens. The change in the shapes of the public spaces and the monuments was done presumably to enhance the authority of the rulers. Usually, new Roman cities were built on a cross-axis which comes from the Etruscans where most of them followed a strict grid system. However, like in the example of Djemila, Algeria the streets followed the contours of the toporaphy rather than a grid system.
An interesting thing is that, what the Greek tried to achieve were later changed with the Roman when the Romans filled the open spaces with new public buildings and their infrastructure system( aqueducts, bridges, paved roads,etc) was exceptional. This indicates the need of controlling the people with architecture and urbanism.