What is a Roman Arch?
A Roman arch refers to a specific architectural design element that was widely used in ancient Roman architecture. It is a structural system that enables the construction of large, open spaces and provides strength and stability to buildings. The Roman arch is characterized by its semicircular shape and its ability to distribute weight and forces evenly.
The Roman arch consists of a curved, semicircular shape that spans an opening or gap. It is formed by a series of wedge-shaped blocks, known as voussoirs, which are stacked on top of each other. The voussoirs gradually decrease in size towards the top, with the central wedge, called the keystone, locking all the other blocks in place.
The key characteristic of the Roman arch is its ability to distribute weight and forces downward and outward, rather than placing all the weight on the vertical supports. This allows for the construction of larger and more expansive spaces, such as aqueducts, bridges, and monumental buildings, without the need for excessive vertical supports or columns.