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Old November 15th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #11
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Egyptians hands down were the best. Many Greek influences come from the Egyptians....
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:58 AM   #12

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Have to give it to the egyptians based on how early they did it but the minoans had some impressive feats under their belts too.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 10:28 AM   #13

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Romans.

Concrete for the win.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:48 AM   #14

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I'd have to go with the Romans myself.
The aqueducts for me. Perfect gradients even when tunneling though mountains; using the knowledge of pressure to overcome gravity. Truly remarkable.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 02:47 PM   #15

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Romans. Hands down.

I look at the pyramids and no matter how awe-inspiring they are, they are useless. It serves almost no pratical purpose. I don't like this.

The romans got engineering right.

Take the Pont Du Gard, for example. It's definitely not as impressive as the pyramids. But it is an superb building that impressed and impressed people across time. And what it was? A aqueduct and a bridge. Simple. Yet grand.
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So, let me post my top5 roman buildings:

1) The Pantheon. I was watching a Yale curse about roman architecture and the teacher there said she thinks this is the greatest building ever built. Like, ever. By anyone. And I might agree. Certainly in the top10. Notice the size of the people inside it. That dome is HUGE. More than 40 meters both in diameter and in height (it's actually the same, so you could fit a perfect sphere inside the temple). Also, it's made of concrete, and the composition of the concrete changes, so it gets lighter. The Pantheon is not only pretty to look at. It shows roman abilities with building materials (concrete, in particular) and great knowledge of structural engineering.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

2) Colosseum. The best known roman bulding. A engineering marvel by any standard. I always remember a scene from Gladiator when they first see this building. And the Nubian is like "I didn't know men could built such a thing". And this always make me wonder how people reacted the first time they saw, not only the colosseum, but any of the grandest roman constructions.

Click the image to open in full size.

3) Alcántara Bridge. It's not just the bridge in itself, but the whole idea of bridge building in acient Rome. So many rivers were crossed in so many places like never before. I wish I could see Trajan's Bridge, and especially Caesar's military bridges.

Click the image to open in full size.

4) Via Appea. Again, it's not the building itself, but the whole concept it represents. Any nation is those times could build roads, but like the romans? Paved, straight, drained? And in that scale? I don't think so.

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5) Pont Du Gard. I'm tired of writing. Let someone else do the talking for me: "I had been told to go and see the Pont du Gard; I did not fail to do so. It was the first work of the Romans that I had seen. I expected to see a monument worthy of the hands which had constructed it. This time the object surpassed my expectation, for the only time in my life. Only the Romans could have produced such an effect. The sight of this simple and noble work struck me all the more since it is in the middle of a wilderness where silence and solitude render the object more striking and the admiration more lively; for this so-called bridge was only an aqueduct. One asks oneself what force has transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry, and what brought together the arms of so many thousands of men in a place where none of them live. I wandered about the three storeys of this superb edifice although my respect for it almost kept me from daring to trample it underfoot. The echo of my footsteps under these immense vaults made me imagine that I heard the strong voices of those who had built them. I felt myself lost like an insect in that immensity. While making myself small, I felt an indefinable something that raised up my soul, and I said to myself with a sigh, "Why was I not born a Roman!" - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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That's it. I really hope I can see them all in person one day.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 07:27 PM   #16

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3) Alcántara Bridge. It's not just the bridge in itself, but the whole idea of bridge building in acient Rome. So many rivers were crossed in so many places like never before. I wish I could see Trajan's Bridge, and especially Caesar's military bridges.

Click the image to open in full size.
That's beautiful. They built structures that lasted for centuries through floods and earthquakes and around this area we get five years out of one bridge and thirty years out of another bridge that took fifteen lives in construction. ...And then it's not rebuilt. No earthquake but just shoddy construction, materials, techniques, and planning. It's never anyone's fault.

I'm impressed by the Great Pyramid and want to know how it was built. The builders knew what they were doing and said it would last a million years.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:55 PM   #17

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I will give it to the Romans. There style of arctecture is still used today
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:10 PM   #18

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The Romans mainly because of the previously mentioned Pantheon. I am so impressed by it. That perfect 360 degree dome made without the use of computers.

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Old November 23rd, 2012, 12:51 AM   #19

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It's a great match among Egyptians, Chinese and Romans.

In their own historical and geographical context they have built the impossible.

About the confrontation we should remember that early Egyptians built pyramids without the technology of strong metals, without the help of evolved mechanisms [like Greeks and Romans had] ...

In this perspective also Pre-Columbian civilizations are in the club, since they didn't know the practical usage of the wheel.

The Great Wall of the Chinese empire is not a joke as realization ...

But at the end, because of extension, diffusion and quality of the architecture I pick up the Romans.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 12:57 AM   #20

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Egyptians were the best builders. The things they built are still there, and still amazing.
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