Art historian book chapters

Course name:

Instructor’s name:

Presented by:

Presented on:

CHAPTER 1-Roman civilization

Architecture-The Basilica of Constantine

This was a building put up in the Roman world in the year 308 CE located at the Velia that lay between Esquiline Hill and Palatine Hill. The building was commissioned by the cities governor Maxentius but he never got the chance to oversee the completion of the building as he was defeated in the intercity battles by Constantine in the year 312 CE. It is King Constantine that got to oversee the completion of the building.

Art Historian, Book Chapters

The building was to be built as an administrative headquarters for the cities but it was also expected to hold some commercial activities in it. There is thought that the building housed some of the highest leaders of t he city at the time.

The basilica was financed initially by King Maxentius and his government but after his defeat King Constantine took over the financing of t he building with his empire.

The building unlike other basilicas around the Roman Empire was very distinct features. To start with the building was built with arches a design mostly used to build bathrooms in the past as opposed to designs earlier used to make Basilicas.

The ground has a rectangular shape with a measure of a hundred meters in length and sixty meters in width with the e n tire orientation being to t he East West direction. The height of the building is about thirty five meters with pillars of the same height supporting the top. The building has a central distinct part measuring eighty meters by twenty five meters, these are covered with vaults which measure thirty five meters, each of these vaults have supporting columns made of Corinthan columns that measure 14.5 meters.(Victor 1994).

The buildings entrances are found in the East and West sides with each of these leading to a separate gateway.

The other interesting feature of the building is the light ways, these are inform of large windows on each side of the vault and form two parallel ways each on either side of the paths and r un from the east to the west.

Art Historian, Book Chapters

The building was meant to be a symbol of power and strength for the Maxentius regime however t his kind of changed when Constantine took over taking it as a symbol of might and showing the ability of his regime to take over other cities which to me was demonstration of army might on the side of Constantine.

This building is a great proof of the great architectural ability of the ancient Roman society who were among the first people to put up complex structures using concrete though t his histories shows was borrowed from the Greeks who had used concrete in building years before, however the architectural ability of the Romans cannot be overlooked as is evidenced by this great structure which is just one among many of the Roman structures that marked civilization at the time. (Lewis et al 2000).

Influence by prior culture

The earlier periods before construction of the Basilica were characterized by struggle for power by the cities prefects this made struggle for power and superiority part of the Roman culture this had an influence on Marxentius when he started to build the Basilica as he sought too demonstrate his power and ability unfortunately he never got to finish the building and in pursuit of the same culture of dominance and illustration of power Constantine completed the construction of the basilica.

Value to the current generation

The building is of much value to the people of current Roman society as it forms the bases of their rich culture and clearly demonstrates the foundations of subsequent architectural projects which can be seen in the modern Roman cities. Besides this most of the current designs are greatly borrowed from prior work by these ancient architectures.

Art Historian, Book Chapters

Indian civilization-

CHAPTER 2-Indian civilization


Music in the Indian culture is held dearly as it was and still is a way of appeasing gods this may be an explanation why people or Indian dancers practice in temples. Besides this role it is a way of passing their culture, in the ancient Indian culture every kid was expected to know how to recite the rhymes (swaras) and to sing songs (metre) which carried great cultural impact and which was devotional to their gods.

A major part of their music was their music instruments, which they used as accompaniments in their rehearsals and actual performance, the most striking of these is the “tambora”


The different Indian dialects pronounce it differently with the Gujaratis calling it tambora In South India it is referred to as Tambura and in the Northern India it is referred to as Tanpura.

This is an instrument resembling the present day guitar with five or six strings which are plucked to produce the musical sounds. They are not all the same with differing sizes and pitches, these pitches are taken to denote gender differences with the bigger pitch and the smaller pitch resembling man and woman respectively.

Art Historian, Book Chapters

The instruments were mainly made with the purpose of accompanying Indian musicians in their adorations in the temple, though no particular details have been shown or found to give a clue on when these instruments started being played the indigenous Indians claim that the instrument has been used for about half a century now.

These instruments had a great and definitive role to the creator who believed that the instrument helped calm the gods or soothe them thus they had to be used every time these people went to the temples. Failure to use them would make gods not listen to their pleas something that would lead to suffering.(Sudheer 2000).

Before the Tambora came in to use other instruments such as the Taronga and the Sitar were in use it is these instruments that influenced the making of better instruments such as the Tambora which was more advanced and would produce better quality pitches.

Meaning to modern culture

This great instrument has an undisputable cultural value that represents the ancestral ways of worship and adoration. This creates a way for the Indian believers who use the very same ways of worship as their ancestors. This association creates the link between the indigenous Indian cultures and the current Indian culture. Though Indians who have migrated to other parts of the world may not be using the Tambora the inhabitants of India the country especially the Northern part of India where I encountered the first Tambora still use the Tambora up-to-date.

The ancient Tambora has also influenced the making of subsequent instruments such as the

Art Historian, Book Chapters

modern guitar which has borrowed greatly from the appearance of the Tambora.

CHAPTER 3: Muslim civilization


Muslim as a culture borrowed most of its features from cultures that had long been existence before it, incorporating each of the desired features from them, among these religions were the Christian culture, the Jewish culture and the pagan culture and beliefs. They had several aspects of their culture that was quite intriguing but what I encountered and totally captured my attention was their literature.

Islamic literature.

This began in the Dark Ages of Europe, a time when Muslims began to translate much of the scientific work earlier on drafted in Latin. It is through these translations that much interest was gathered around the Islamic literature among the first works of Islam to be evaluated of which I particularly looked at was the Qasida.

This is said to have been developed by the Arabs, who were among the very first people to adopt the Islam culture, the qasida had a neat and definite literature layout that told a love story at first which is thought that it so started to capture the attention of the reader.

Art Historian, Book Chapters

The subsequent sentences narrate the journey of the writer and his encounters in the desert; at the end of the item he pays tribute to his patrons and tribe.

After Islam was adopted as religion the article was used as a praising article to Prophet Muhammad, saints and God.

This article though with no indications of time or writer is a particularly rich content of the Islamic culture that marked the very first literal items for this religion.

It has a great meaning to the Islam’s as it is used to pay tribute to God and his great prophet Muhammad in the Islam religion. (Ahmed and Carroll 2007).

Influence of prior culture

This literal work was mainly influenced not by the Islam as a religion but by the Arabic culture which was existent before the religion, thus it is more of borrowed material from the Arabic culture, it is not very clear though as the Arabic culture and Islam as a religion is seen to be all but the same thing.

Modern use

The qasida is still in use even at the present time by the Muslims as an adoration and praise article to God and Prophet Muhammad

Art Historian, Book Chapters


Ahmed, A and Carroll, J (2007). A dialogue of civilizations: Gulen’s Islamic ideals and humanistic discourse. Kindle edition.

Islamic literature (2008). . Retrieved on September 25, 2009.

Lewis, N, Reinhold, M and Meyer, R. (2000). Roman civilization: The republic and the Augustan Age. Columbia University Press.

Sudheer. (2000).Ancient Indian culture:

September 25, 2009.

Victor, A (1994).Constantine Basilica:

ana/romanforum/basilica.html : Retrieved on September 25, 2009.