Greek and Roman Architecture

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Greek and Roman Architecture

The Greeks thought of their Gods as having the same needs as human beings, they believed that the Gods needed somewhere to live on Earth. Temples were built as the gods' earthly homes. The basic design of temples developed from the royal halls of the Maycenaean Age. A Mycenaean palace consisted of a number of buildings often more than one story high, grouped around a central courtyard. It was brightly painted, both inside and out. In each palace there was a large hall called a megaron, where the king held court and conducted state business. Little remains of the megaron at Mycenae. This reconstruction is based on the remains from other palaces, which would have been similar.

The Romans took and borrowed a lot of things from the Greek culture. For example, the took the Greek Gods and renamed them. They also took the styles of Greek temples, but they changed them some. The temple was rectangular, with a gabled roof, with a frontal staircase giving access to its high platform. They used mainly the Corinthian style, but they also made combinations, for instance the Corinthian-Ionic style. The Romans also added a lot of details and decorations to their temples. The Romans also made what became the very common round, domed temple. The main temple of a Roman city was the capitolium. The Pantheon, the famous temple in Rome, was a sample for some of the modern day cathedrals and churches.

The Classical Period Temples became much larger and more elaborate. Parthenon, one of the most famous structures ever, was created during that period. The Greeks held many religious festivals in honour of their gods. The purpose of festivals was to please the gods and convince them to grant the people's wishes. Such as making the crops grow or bringing victory in war. In addition to religious events athletic competitions and theatrical performances took place at festivals too..

The early Greek architecture, from about 3000 BC to 700 BC, used mainly the post and lintel, or post and beam, system. Their main building material was marble. Classic Greek architecture is made up of three different orders that are most seen in their temples: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. All three had the same components, but had different types of details. The orders are known mostly by their column style. The Corinthian order was not as widely used as Doric and Ionic. It was fancier than the others, and had a lot more detail. The Greeks only used one order on one building, they never mixed. The basic temple followed these same rules. It was very simple with a rectangular inner chamber and a roof with shallow gables. The temple stood on a platform with three steps leaving rows of columns, sometimes double rows, that helped support the roof. The column which was used as either a part of the structure or as an dornament, is the basic element in the Greek architecture. The oldest, dating back to about 600 B.C. is the Doric. Perhaps the most basic temples were of the Doric order. Doric architecture was known for being used by the Spartans. Normally, standing right on the floor, the shaft is made of a series of drums which are rounded, doweled together, tapered upward and fluted, usually twenty times. On top of the shaft sits a two part capital carved in a single block. The bottom is the cushion or echinus and the top is a flat square slab called the abacus. There is a natural ring where the capital and shaft meet and this is emphasized by the addition of several carved rings. The column height is four to six and on half times the diameter at the base of the shaft. The oldest Doric columns to survive intact, seven of them, are from the temple of Apollo at Corinth. Each shaft, over twenty feet high, is cut from a solid limestone block which was surfaced with a stucco made of marble dust. While the columns seem simple and stumpy, the sharp ridged fluting is evidence of a high degree of the mastery...
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