There is no doubt that Rome was one of the key lords of architecture. Force and weight could be distributed through the dome and arch. Concrete could ensure the building's longevity.
But then, I was looking up Gothic architecture and read just how practical these ornate, decorative features actually were:
- Flying buttresses effectively spread the weight of the new designs, taking the weight off the walls and transferring force directly to the ground.
- The pointed arch effectively distributed the force of heavier ceilings and bulkier designs, and could support much more weight than previous, simple pillars. On top of that (if you'll pardon the pun), the stronger arches allowed for more vertical height.
- Irregular, vaulted ceilings utilized the technology of the pointed arch to spread force and weight from upper floors.
- Light and airy interiors, meaning a lot of big windows and wide open spaces
Granted, the name "Gothic" is discouraging to the Romans, as the Goths were the ones responsible for the sacking of Rome itself. But even if we renamed the architectural style to something else, one question still remains--could the Romans have invented this kind of architecture, or was something stopping them?