In Ancient Roman architecture
(from Latin crypta
) is a covered corridor or passageway.
The usual English is "cryptoportico
cryptoportico is a semi-subterranean gallery whose vaulting
structures aboveground and which is lit from
openings at the tops of its arches. On sloping sites the
cryptoporticus is often partially at ground level and supports a
structure such as a forum
or Roman villa
, in which case it served as
. It is often vaulted
and lit by openings in the
vault. In the letters of Pliny the
, the term is used as a synonym of crypt
. The shade and semi-excavated site of a
cryptoportico provided cool and moderated temperatures useful for
storage of perishables, while it offered a level and slightly
for the superstructure.
Examples of cryptoporticus
cryptoporticus of Arles, dating from
the 1st century BC was built as
foundation for the forum, which has since been replaced by the
Chapel of the Jesuit College and the City Hall.
Three double, parallel tunnels
arranged in the form of a U are supported by fifty piers
. Masons' marks on
the stonework indicate that it was built by Greeks, probably from
Marseille. Similar structures in Narbonne, Reims, and
Bavay were used as granaries.
The cryptoporticus at Arles is,
however, too damp for prolonged storage and may have served as a
for public slaves
cryptoporticus of Reims, formerly
enclosing three sides of the forum, is of Gallo-Roman origin and was probably built during
the 3rd century.
Today, only its Eastern part remains, but
this is unusually well preserved for a Gallo-Roman structure.
well-known examples include the cryptoporticus of Hadrian's Villa and that of the House of the Cryptoporticus in