views updated

Rabirius (fl. late ad C1). Roman architect, known only from the Epigrams of the poet Martial (c.39–c.102), who designed for Emperor Domitian (81–96) a new Imperial Palace on the Palatine, Rome, to the south of earlier buildings erected for Domitian's predecessors. Still occupied as late as C6, it was the origin of the word ‘palace’, and was enormously influential. A huge complex, it included enclosed gardens, a hippodrome, libraries, and many grandly formal rooms for State occasions as well as private apartments. Vaults and domed constructions of concrete were used throughout, and the brick-faced concrete walls were clad in coloured marbles. Rabirius seems to have been partly responsible for the assured application of the Orders to the new type of vaulted structure in order to create an opulence of unparalleled richness. Throughout the plan, formal axes were handled with deftness, and apses, octagons, and segments were employed with square and rectangular plan-forms. Rabirius has been linked with architectural works of the period such as the Colosseum, thermae of Titus, Domitian's Villa near Albano, and others, but documentary evidence is lacking.


W. MacD (1965–86);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Ward-Perkins (1981)