Greek and Roman ArchitectureThe Greeks thought of their Gods as having the same needs as humanbeings, they believed that the Gods needed somewhere to live on Earth. Templeswere built as the gods’ earthly homes. The basic design of temples developedfrom the royal halls of the Maycenaean Age. A Mycenaean palace consisted of anumber of buildings often more than one story high, grouped around a centralcourtyard. It was brightly painted, both inside and out. In each palace therewas a large hall called a megaron, where the king held court and conducted statebusiness.
Little remains of the megaron at Mycenae. This reconstruction isbased 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 thestyles 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, forinstance the Corinthian-Ionic style. The Romans also added a lot of details anddecorations to their temples.
The Romans also made what became the very commonround, domed temple. The main temple of a Roman city was the capitolium. ThePantheon, the famous temple in Rome, was a sample for some of the modern daycathedrals and churches.The Classical Period Temples became much larger and more elaborate.Parthenon, one of the most famous structures ever, was created during thatperiod. The Greeks held many religious festivals in honour of their gods. Thepurpose of festivals was to please the gods and convince them to grant thepeople’s wishes.
Such as making the crops grow or bringing victory in war. Inaddition to religious events athletic competitions and theatrical performancestook place at festivals too..The early Greek architecture, from about 3000 BC to 700 BC, used mainlythe post and lintel, or post and beam, system. Their main building material wasmarble. Classic Greek architecture is made up of three different orders thatare most seen in their temples: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.All three hadthe same components, but had different types of details. The orders are knownmostly by their column style.
The Corinthian order was not as widely used asDoric and Ionic. It was fancier than the others, and had a lot more detail. TheGreeks only used one order on one building, they never mixed.
The basic templefollowed these same rules. It was very simple with a rectangular inner chamberand a roof with shallow gables. The temple stood on a platform with three stepsleaving 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 andornament, is the basic element in the Greek architecture. The oldest, datingback to about 600 B.C. is the Doric.
Perhaps the most basic temples were of theDoric 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 drumswhich are rounded, doweled together, tapered upward and fluted, usually twentytimes. 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 calledthe abacus. There is a natural ring where the capital and shaft meet and thisis emphasized by the addition of several carved rings. The column height isfour to six and on half times the diameter at the base of the shaft. The oldestDoric columns to survive intact, seven of them, are from the temple of Apollo atCorinth.
Each shaft, over twenty feet high, is cut from a solid limestone blockwhich was surfaced with a stucco made of marble dust. While the columns seemsimple and stumpy, the sharp ridged fluting is evidence of a high degree of themastery of stone carving. Further they are bellied slightly at the centre whichkeeps them from seeming too dumpy.The vertical columns supported beanscalled architraves.
To form a ceiling, other beans were laid across the buildingwith their ends on the architraves. The ends of these beams would be channelledto make triglyphs. On top of this, another beam would be placed for theoverhanging rafters. These beams are referred to as mutules. The roofs werefinished with flat gables called pediments.
A gutter ran along the tops of thepediments, ending at a lion’s mouth, which acted as a drain. Thatch, and thentera-cotta and marble, was used to cover the roofs. What is not evident todayas a result of the action of wind, rain, and man made destruction, is that thesetemple were generally brightly painted in white, gold, red and blues. Thesetemples were similar to ionic ones in their layout.The Ionic column is distinguished by its volute or scroll capital.Ionic columns were slenderer than Doric.
They were eight or nine diameters high,instead of four to five. Normally the Ionic column has twenty-four flutes whichare separated by fillets or soft edges, some examples have as many as forty-eight flutes. The columns had a molded base under them and sculpted figures onthe lover part of the shaft.
The shafts had channels in them, like folds in amatron’s harment. At the top of the shaft. The shafts had channels in them.
At the top of the shaft there were rectangular blocks of stone, carved into theshape of flowing hair or other wavy shapes and lines. The cornice was decoratedwith great detail. Although there were differences in the construction oftemples, they were mostly all used for the same activities.When talking about Greek temples, there are some things one must keep inmind. First, that Greek religion is not like that of the Christian.
The Greeksthought their gods were of the same nature as man, except smarter and stronger.Second, that the temple was the house of the god they worshipped, so it had tobe finer than that of man. Third, that congregations of people did not meet inthe temples to worship, as if it were a church. And last, that all godsdemanded they be satisfied by sacrifice, and so sacrifices were made at thetemples. For this there was a great altar outside the east porch of everytemple. Some temples only had a porch for the altar and a hall leading to it,while others were much complicated.The Parthenon is one temple that is very famous and beautiful, but alsovery basic in its construction. Built between 447 and 438 BC, it was the firstbuilding to be constructed on the widely know Acropolis.
The Parthenon iscalled octostyle peripteral because it has eight columns in the front and theback of it and is surrounded by a colonnade or peristyle. Inside, it isconstructed as most temples were. The central chamber, or cella, faced east,with a wood figure of Athene covered in gold and ivory in it. There was apornaos, or porch, at the east end and a opisthodomus, or porch, at the west end.
At the back of the temple is a chamber called the Parthenon, or chamber of theVirgin, which was used as a treasury and held the sacrifices. This layout wasvery common among temples of that period.One rather famous temple that was very complicated, was The Great Palaceof Knossos, also known as just Knossos.
It began a town with buildings inblocks around a square, or court, and grew into an extremely large palace. Theprocess of becoming a palace was that of the gradual condensation of all thebuildings under one roof, except for the court. Even the streets were covered,making them into corridors. The layout of Knossos had long, narrow chambers onthe west side, with the shrines and ceremonial rooms on that side of the court.The luxurious living spaces were at the southeast side of the court and theservice rooms and some small industries were aligned with them in the northeastside. This was truly a great palace.
As we have seen there were different styles and different layouts ofGreek temples, but they were used for the same thing. Also, we have seen thatthe Greeks made amazing buildings, that were carefully planned and skillfullycreated. Perhaps the architects of that day were the true geniuses of Greekculture, not the philosophers.Roman Temples were very similar to those of the Greeks.
The architectureof the Roman Empire, spanning the period from 4th century to B.C. 5 century A.D.They were built in the sacred area called temenos and were surrounded by acolonnaded walk way. There was a porch in front of the entrance where an alterwas placed and sacrifices were offered. Leading up to the alter, there was agreat staircase flanked with walls on both sides.
Like the Greeks there werecolumns surrounding the temple yet these columns were usually attached to theouter walls of the temple instead of the interior being open.Inside the temple there was a single room called the cella, decoratedwith coloured marbles. Alcoves had been cut into the walls where statues couldbe placed. In some cases, a statue of the god that the temple was dedicated towas placed on a raised platform at the end of the cella.
In contrast to the linear emphasis of Greek architecture, Romanarchitecture is noted for its development of the rounded form. The Romans’mastery of concrete, used in combination with bricks, freed the orders fromrounded forms as the arch, vault, and dome. Arches and vaults were firstemployed in utilitarian structures, for example, bridges and aqueducts. Laterthey were used, together with the dome, in private and public buildings as ameans of extending and diversifying the interior space.Roman building types include the basilica, an oblong meeting hall withvaulted roof, often colonnaded, the thermae or bath houses with their complexspatial layout, and the triumphal arch, a purely ornamental structure. Rome hasthe richest collection of public building, especially the Pantheon, builtbetween 27 BC and A.D.
124, with its enormous concrete dome. It was originallybuilt by Marcus Agrippa but was later rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian. The name”Pantheon” means all gods for this building was dedicated to seven differentdieties.
The temple stands at on end of a large colonnaded courtyard and has anormal portico (porch) in the front. Inside, the cella is round with a diameterof 140 ft. the floor is laid with coloured marble and statues of all seven godsline the walls. There are two specials places of honour for Venus and Mars, theprotecting dieties of Agripa’s family. At the top of the dome is a circularopening called an oculus which provides the only light.
Other Roman buildings are the Colosseum A.D. 70-80, numerous temples,and thermae such as those of Caracall, about A.D. 215 onwards. The ruins ofPompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius provide the most complete view of a Romancity, which was typically planned as a series of interlinked public spaces.
Dwellings tend to look inwards towards an open atrium (inner court) andperistyle (colonnade surrounding the court).Other important monuments outside Rome include the amphitheatre inVerona, about A.D.
290, and Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli, about A.D. 118-134.The Hadrian’s villa shows examples of axial symmetry, its use of curved as wellas rectilinear interior spaces, and its numerous vistas. Other monuments in theRoman Empire are the beautifully preserved temple known as the Maison Carree inNimes, France, 16 BC; the aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, near Nimes, about 14 BC;the Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia, 300 BC.Greek temples, with their simple style, had three different, refinedarchitectural styles which were best illustrated in the Parthenon. Rome thentook that style and expanded it for their own temples, adding details, archesand domes.
They then used those techniques to make churches later in theirhistory, many of which have survived to today. In fact, those styles are stillused.English