In ancient and medieval times, cities were generally surrounded by large walls for defense. Access was limited to the points where major roads from the surrounding towns passed through the walls.
Gates allowed the city inhabitants to block access to the city at night and when threatened by hostile forces.
Appearance of Impregnability
Ancient city gates were intended to not only be impregnable but also look impregnable.
As with other types of Roman construction, the round arch was used.
Ornamental Use of the Orders
Influence of Weaponry
Later, with the invention of gunpowder and the development of the cannon at the beginning of the Renaissance, city walls became more emblematic than practical.
The adoption of Roman models for Renaissance gates was especially appropriate in the case of fortified architecture because of Rome's past military might. The ancient Roman use of heavily rusticated masonry and ornamentation by the orders were used in the Renaissance by architects such as Sanmicheli and Michelangelo.
|♦||Porta Augusta, Perugia|
|♦||Porta Maggiore, Rome, AD 52|
|♦||South Gate, Jerash, Jordan, 129-30|
Porta Appia (Porta San Sebastiano today), Rome