Ambition and Power as Seen in Ancient Architecture in Ancient Civilizations

Essay by shadystyleCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2006

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As seen in The Forum of Trajan and The Mortuary Precinct and Stepped Pyramid of Zoser

Civilizations have been undergoing building projects since the beginning of time. Many of the world's great architectural accomplishments were erected during the times of ancient civilizations, and many still stand today. These great achievements played an important role in the lives of people within these communities by serving both functional and communication purposes. The literal uses of many of these buildings are expressed through history most notably as being either civic or religious, but many of the political leaders who ordered and oversaw the construction of great architectural landmarks were attempting to express their power and authority as a ruler. The most prevalent examples of this, which will be focused upon in this paper, include The Forum of Trajan in Rome and the Mortuary Precinct and Stepped Pyramid of Zoser in Egypt. These two complexes were built for different reasons, but are common in the fact that they serve as a vehicle for expressing supremacy and power of their respective rulers.

Essentially, The Forum of Trajan and The Mortuary Precinct and Stepped Pyramid of Zoser glorified their patrons. The names alone clue you in on who ordered their creation, Trajan of Rome and Pharoah Zoser of Egypt. There are differences between the two cultures, and therefore differences in the means through which these architectural complexes go about accomplishing their communicative goals. Romans had a high degree of civic pride and the identity of their community while Egyptians concentrated on the importance of the afterlife. (Grant, 11 & Nardo, 18) These ideas are respectively reflected through the two civilizations' building projects. The Forum of Trajan established the power of its leader by inviting the Roman people to appreciate and marvel at Trajan's creation while Zoser's...