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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We were stomping all over the other thread so let's break it out here and talk about it.

First, let me say that the Romans did not use what we call "brick". That alone causes some of the confusion, even though they did call it brick. In truth, as we understand it today, it was really structural clay tile (SCT). They used if for walls and also for roofing, and the dimensional relations do not fall within what we consider to be brick today, but tile.

Second, the Romans did not consider a wall of brick as a finished surface. It was parged, stuccoed, or frescoed, and in some cases faced with dimensional stone such as marble slabs, but rarely left as a visible surface.

As SCT, they used it for mass masonry. It had low compressive and tensile strength and high absorption. Coursing involved breaking the joints, nothing more, nothing less. They had no decorative brick bonds as it was not a finished surface (they did develop some of what we would call decorative bonding for arch work, but it was still plastered over). The only dimension that mattered for a Roman SCT was the thickness of the unit, and the joint size reflected the degree of accuracy in that regard: up to 1/4 of the unit thickness.

The whole theory of Roman masonry is different than modern curtain wall design, or even brickwork of the 16th and 17th century's mass masonry.

As an aside, I looked for and found the reference in the Ten Books of Architecture to cavity walls. It is in Book II Chapter VIII, number 4,
"(speaking of deteriorated mortar on rubble walls faced with dimensional stone) He who wishes to avoid such a disaster should leave a cavity behind the facings, and on the inside build walls two feet thick made of red dimension stone or burnt brick or lava in courses, then bind them to the fronts by means of iron clamps and lead."
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Here is something I came across this evening in the current issue of Archeology. It discusses the birthplace of the Buddha in Lumbini, Nepal. They have discovered evidence of his original coming to Buddha, beneath a Bodhi tree. It is enclosed by a timber temple, then a later brick temple. Amazingly, the third century Nepalese brick temple displays typical "Roman" brick work, using the same SCT and bonding patterns.

 

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And just to be clear, I do not think that there was Roman influence in third century Nepalese culture (although it was certainly possible), I think that similar materials, capabilities, and requirements simply led to the best method of construction for that particular circumstance.
 

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There is a wealth of information to be garnered from reading the Ten Books,along with any of the books written by Palladio. To discount the influences of Roman "brickwork" simply makes no sense. IMHO,Roman masonry is the father of modern masonry even though we may not do things "exactly" as they did.


Although Egyptian construction / masonry pre-dates the Romans'there are not many similarities between the two. The Egyptians may have been the first to use "brick" they were not fired,they were sun dried. Those sun dried brick were stacked in a stair step fashion to build their earliest version of Pyramids,they were called Mestabas. That method was rather short lived,switching to the usage of stone and the smooth tapered design we are most familiar with.



The spotlight Tscar placed on the ten books IMHO is a pertinent read for those wanting to explore "our" roots.


Here is a connection for free access to it.......http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20239/20239-h/29239-h.htm
 
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