Greek and Roman architecture has produced some of the most iconic images in history. While the Romans borrowed and adapted the Greek style, both groups showed how to use their structural creations to define their own ideals. As noted on the Palomar Educational Style Guide, the Greeks preferred a post and lintel construction method, while the Romans favoured a true arch construction.
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Features of Greek Architecture
The Greeks developed three styles: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. As noted on AncientGreece.com ". . . the temples of ancient Greece . . . had a political purpose as they were often built to celebrate civic power and pride, or offer thanksgiving to the patron deity of a city for success in war."
The Parthenon, built in the fifth century B.C., is perhaps the most well known example of Greek architecture. Dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, the Parthenon was an example of the Greek ideals of structure and devotion to their faith.
Features of Roman Architecture
The Romans adapted the Greek Corinthian style to suit their own cultural ideals. The Romans used their architectural developments to display their power and develop ways to bring their people together. Oneonta College notes, "Both formal architecture like temples and basilicas and in its utilitarian buildings like bridges and aqueducts played important roles in unifying the empire. The construction of roads with bridges helped communication across the far-flung empire."
Italy Guides reminds us that the Pantheon was originally built between 27 and 25 B.C. by the Consul Agrippa, and was later rebuilt by Emperor Domitian after a fire in 80 A.D. The Pantheon was created for the gods. In fact, the word "pantheon" means "every god." While the Pantheon appears similar to Greek architecture with its Corinthian style columns, the arches and magnificent dome make the Pantheon a prime example of Roman architecture.
Modern Influences of Greek and Roman Architecture
Examples of both Greek and Roman architecture can be seen in the columns of American courthouses. Homes, businesses and even churches contain various aspects of Greek and Roman architecture.
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