Roman Relic

The striking architecture of Market Hall is one of the best-known and least-understood in historic #Charleston. The building was completed in 1841, and designed by the prolific Charleston-born architect and engineer, Edward Brickell White. The 1840’s in America was a time of when architecture was greatly influenced by ancient Greek and Roman concepts, and Market Hall is strictly Roman in nature. White was a West Point graduate whose architectural achievements can be found throughout Charleston today. Market Hall is distinguished by a dramatic portico built in the four-columned “tetra” style favored by Romans. The columns are plain Tuscan, and the area behind the columns, the proneos, is the exact width of the cella, or building facade, also in keeping with ancient Rome. The ornate frieze below the roof eaves is the most misunderstood and incorrectly-explained part of the building. Tourists are repeatedly told that the images of ram and ox heads were there to show slaves that the building was a meat market. Well in fact, the slaves, free blacks and everyone else knew very well where the meat market was, in the sheds behind the big building, where fish and vegetables were also sold. No, the frieze images are examples of bucrania, which is Latin for ox skull. Such images were commonly found on ancient Roman temples, where oxen and other animals were sacrificed to the gods. Market Hall is in effect, a replica of an ancient Roman temple, whose style has long been misrepresented and misunderstood. The mustard color on the stucco exterior was restored around 1998 when historical found records indicating that was the original color. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Market Hall”

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