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Word Count: 954
The Roman Empire founded by Augustus Caesar in 27 BC and lasting in Western Europe for 500 years reorganized for world politics and economics Almost the entirety of the civilized world became a single centralized state In place of Greek democracy piety and independence came Roman authoritarianism and practicality Vast prosperity resulted Europe and the Mediterranean bloomed with trading cities ten times the size of their predecessors with public amenities previously unheard of courts theaters circuses and public baths And these were now large permanent masonry buildings as were the habitations tall apartment houses covering whole city blocks This architectural revolution brought about by the Romans required two innovations the invention of a new building method called concrete vaulting and the organization of labor and capital on a large scale so that huge projects could be executed quickly after the plans of a single master architect Roman concrete was a fluid mixture of lime and small stones poured into the hollow centers of walls faced with brick or stone and over curved wooden molds or forms to span spaces as vaults The Mediterranean is an active volcanic region and a spongy light tightly adhering stone called pozzolana was used to produce a concrete that was both light and extremely strong The Romans had developed potsalana concrete about 100 BC but at first used it only for terrace walls and foundations It apparently was emperor Nero who first used the material on a grand scale to rebuild a region of the city of Rome around his palace the expansive Domus Aurea after the great fire of AD 64 which he said to have set Here broad streets regular blocks of masonry apartment houses and continuous colonnaded porticoes were erected according to a single plan and partially at state expense The Domus Aurea itself was a labyrinth of concrete vaulted
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