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Terms and People (Weeks 1-5)


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pozzolana
A type of volcanic ash used for mortar or for cement that sets under water.
Constantine the Great
Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. Sponsored building projects, greatest is the Basilica of St. Peter's.
Charlemagne
King of the Franks; took the Frankish throne in 768 AD and became King of Italy in 774 AD. Wanted a new Holy Roman Empire, sponsored the Palatine Chapel. Scepter held in St. Denis.
tympanum
A vertical recessed triangular space forming the center of a pediment, typically decorated.
basilica
A large oblong hall or building with double colonnades and a semicircular apse, used in ancient Rome as a court of law or for public assemblies.
arcade
A covered passageway with arches along one or both sides.
nave
The central part of a church building, intended to accommodate most of the congregation.
transept
Either of the two parts forming the arms of the cross shape, projecting at right angles from the nave.
ambulatory
A place for walking, especially an aisle around the apse or a cloister in a church or monastery.
façade
The face of a building, especially the principal front that looks onto a street or open space.
cloister
A covered walk in a convent, monastery, college, or cathedral, typically with a wall on one side and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other.
rib vault
A vault supported by or decorated with diagonal ribs. Variable width and length, unlike groin vault. No centering needed.
groin vault
A vault or ceiling created by the intersection of vaults.
flying buttress
A segmental arch, transforms thrust vertically to allow for tall construction.
fan vault
A type of vault consisting of a set of concave ribs spreading out from a central point like the ribs of an opened umbrella, used especially in the English Perpendicular style.
lierne
A short rib connecting the bosses and intersections of the principal ribs.
tierceron
A diagonal rib, other than an ogive, springing from a point of support.
feudalism
The dominant social system in medieval Europe. The nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, the peasants were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce.
commune
A group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities.
Filippo Brunelleschi
An Italian designer and a key figure in Renaissance architecture, recognized to be the first modern engineer, planner and sole construction supervisor (1377 – 1446 AD). Uneducated, reinvents perspective as a mathematical representation, huge breadth of knowledge.
Leon Battista Alberti
An Italian humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer; he epitomized the Renaissance Man (1404 – 1472 AD). Highly educated, wrote the first architecture treatise since ancient Rome: On the Art of Building.
entablature
A horizontal, continuous lintel on a Classical building supported by columns.
Donato Bramante
Was an Italian architect who introduced Renaissance architecture to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome (1444 – 1514 AD). Notable buildings include the design for St. Peter's Basilica and the Tempietto.
Michelangelo Buonarroti
Was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art (1475 – 1564 AD). Finished St. Peter's Basilica and structured the Campidoglio of Rome.
Pope Sixtus V
Was Bishop of Rome from 1585 to his death in 1590. Wanted to network together the monuments of Rome through roads.
Andrea Palladio
Was an Italian architect active in the Vatican City (1508 – 1580 AD). Wrote The Four Books of Architecture that were widely translated and hugely influential - more so than Alberti.
Vitruvius
Was a Roman author, architect, civil engineer and military engineer during the 1st century BC. Wrote De Architectura, the only treatise on architecture to survive from antiquity.
bastide
A medieval fortified town, planned as a whole and built at one time, especially in southern France, for strategic or commercial purposes.
minaret
A tall slender tower, typically part of a mosque, with a balcony from which a muezzin calls Muslims to prayer.
minbar
A short flight of steps used as a platform by a preacher in a mosque.
qibla
The direction of the Kaaba (the sacred building at Mecca), to which Muslims turn at prayer.
mihrab
A niche in the wall of a mosque, at the point nearest to Mecca, toward which the congregation faces to pray.
muqarnas
A form of architectural ornamented vaulting, the "geometric subdivision of a squinch, or cupola, or corbel, into a large number of miniature squinches, producing a sort of cellular structure", sometimes also called a "honeycomb" vault.
iwan
A rectangular hall or space, usually vaulted, walled on three sides, with one end entirely open.
pendentive
A curved triangle of vaulting formed by the intersection of a dome with its supporting arches.
jali
A perforated stone or latticed screen, usually with an ornamental pattern constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry.
Timur
Historically known as Tamerlane. Was a Turco-Mongol conqueror and the founder of the Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia. He was also the first ruler in the Timurid dynasty. When building projects began, he looked toward Persian architecture as a model.
Akbar
Was the Mughal Emperor from 1556 until his death. He was the third and one of the greatest rulers of the Mughal Dynasty in India. Built a spiritual study center for his advisor in Fatehpur Sikri.
Mimar Sinan
The chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer. He was responsible for the construction of more than 300 major structures and other more modest projects, such as schools. Designed the Süleymaniye Mosque.
Babur
Was a conqueror from Central Asia who laid the basis for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian subcontinent and became the first Mughal emperor. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant of Genghis Khan through his mother.
cenotaph
A tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
An Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. Perhaps his most notable work is Sant'Andrea al Quirinale.
Francesco Borromini
An Italian architect born in today's Ticino who, with his contemporaries Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture.
Shah Jahan
The fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1628 to 1658. The period of his reign was considered the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan erected many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra.
retable
A structure or element placed either on or immediately behind and above the altar or communion table of a church.
Churrigueresque
Refers to a Spanish Baroque style of elaborate sculptural architectural ornament marked by extreme, expressive and florid decorative detailing, normally found above the entrance on the main facade of a building.
Johann Balthasar Neumann
Was a German architect and military artillery engineer who developed a refined brand of Baroque architecture. Works include the Würzburg Residence and the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (Vierzehnheiligen).