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Cryptoporticus

Cryptoporticus

Overview

In Ancient Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 a cryptoporticus (from Latin crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

a
and porticus
Portico
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls...

) is a covered corridor or passageway. The usual English is "cryptoportico". The cryptoportico is a semi-subterranean gallery whose vaulting
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 supports portico
Portico
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls...

 structures aboveground and which is lit from openings at the tops of its arches. On sloping sites the open side of a cryptoporticus is often partially at ground level and supports a structure such as a forum
Forum (Roman)
A forum was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls...

 or Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

, in which case it served as basis villae.
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Encyclopedia

In Ancient Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 a cryptoporticus (from Latin crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

a
and porticus
Portico
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls...

) is a covered corridor or passageway. The usual English is "cryptoportico". The cryptoportico is a semi-subterranean gallery whose vaulting
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 supports portico
Portico
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls...

 structures aboveground and which is lit from openings at the tops of its arches. On sloping sites the open side of a cryptoporticus is often partially at ground level and supports a structure such as a forum
Forum (Roman)
A forum was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls...

 or Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

, in which case it served as basis villae. It is often vaulted
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 and lit by openings in the vault. In the letters of Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo , better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him...

, the term is used as a synonym of crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

. The shade and semi-excavated site of a cryptoportico provided cool and moderated temperatures useful for storage of perishables, while it offered a level and slightly raised podium
Podium
A podium is a platform that is used to raise something to a short distance above its surroundings. It derives from the Greek πόδι In architecture a building can rest on a large podium. Podia can also be used to raise people, for instance the conductor of an orchestra stands on a podium as do many...

 for the superstructure.

Coimbra, Portugal


The cryptoporticus of Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

, the old roman city of Aeminium
Aeminium
Aeminium was the ancient name of the city of Coimbra, in Portugal.The Romans founded the civitas of Aeminium in this place at the time of Augustus, which came under the protection of nearby Conimbriga situated some 15 km away to the south....

, was built to create an artificial platform over which the city's Forum could be built. Later, the Bishop's Palace (still standing today and serving as a museum) was built using the platform created by the structure thus preserving it in perfect condition.

Arles


The cryptoporticus of Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

, dating from the 1st century BC was built as foundation for the forum, which has since been replaced by the Chapel of the Jesuit College and the City Hall
City hall
In local government, a city hall, town hall or a municipal building or civic centre, is the chief administrative building of a city...

. Three double, parallel tunnels arranged in the form of a U are supported by fifty pier
Pier
A pier is a raised structure, including bridge and building supports and walkways, over water, typically supported by widely spread piles or pillars...

s. Masons' marks on the stonework indicate that it was built by Greeks
Architecture of Ancient Greece
The architecture of Ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland and Peloponnesus, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Asia Minor and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest...

, probably from Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

. Similar structures in Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Reims
Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

, and Bavay
Bavay
Bavay is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies 15 m. ESE of Valenciennes by railway.-History:Under the name of Bagacum or Bavacum, the town was the capital of the Nervii and, under the Roman Empire, an important center of roads, the meeting-place of which was marked by a...

 were used as granaries
Granary
A granary is a storehouse for threshed grain or animal feed. In ancient or primitive granaries, pottery is the most common use of storage in these buildings. Granaries are often built above the ground to keep the stored food away from mice and other animals.-Early origins:From ancient times grain...

. The cryptoporticus at Arles is, however, too damp for prolonged storage and may have served as a barracks
Barracks
Barracks are specialised buildings for permanent military accommodation; the word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes. Their main object is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline, training and esprit de corps. They were sometimes called...

 for public slaves
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

.

Reims


The cryptoporticus of Reims
Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

, formerly enclosing three sides of the forum, is of Gallo-Roman origin and was probably built during the 3rd century. Today, only its Eastern part remains, but this is unusually well preserved for a Gallo-Roman structure.

Other places


Other well-known examples include the cryptoporticus of Hadrian's Villa
Hadrian's Villa
The Hadrian's Villa is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy.- History :The villa was constructed at Tibur as a retreat from Rome for Roman Emperor Hadrian during the second and third decades of the 2nd century AD...

 and that of the House of the Cryptoporticus in Pompeii
Pompeii
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning...

. A well-preserved cryptoporticus is also located at the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo
Castel Gandolfo
Castel Gandolfo is a small Italian town or comune in Lazio that occupies a height overlooking Lake Albano about 15 miles south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills. It is best known as the summer residence of the Pope. It is an Italian town with the population of 8834...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. In Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, a cryptoporticus is located in the Catacomb of Priscilla
Catacomb of Priscilla
The Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria in Rome, Italy, is situated in what was a quarry in Roman times. This quarry was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through the 4th century. Some of the walls and ceilings display fine decorations illustrating Biblical scenes...

, a remnant from a large Roman villa
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

.

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