Classical Greek and Roman Ancient Civilization

From the rise of ancient Greece until the fall of the Roman Empire, great buildings were constructed according to precise rules. The Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius, who lived during first century BC, believed that builders should use mathematical principles when constructing temples. “For without symmetry and proportion no temple can have a regular plan,” Vitruvius wrote in his famous treatise De Architectura. (www. historyguide/architecture. org) There is a comparison that can be made between building structures developed in the classical Greek and Ancient Roman civilizations and its majestic buildings and roads.

Classical, Roman and Gothic architecture owe their structures to these civilizations and mostly all is reflected nowadays on the modern building styles. The first inhabitants of the Greek peninsula, who are believed to be Neolithic, built very primitive and basic structures. The houses were mainly built with a circular, oval, apsidal, or rectangular shape. The rectangular house was mostly square, but some were oblong, and had the entrance at one of the short ends. They used mud bricks and stones in the mud with reeds or brush to help build the house. Most of the houses had one room, there were very rarely two.

The next group of settlers was the Minoan architects. Their towns were mostly residential with little or no temples and public places. Unlike earlier people, their houses were private and had many rooms. However, to separate rooms, they would use only pillars. Thus, the house was very open. The stairways were a very prominent feature for these massive homes. This began a whole new era for the Greeks dealing with architecture. During the Classical Greek architecture period, it was made up of three different orders that are most commonly seen in their temples.

These three Then 2 orders were the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The orders are also known for their columns style. The Corinthian order was not used as widely as the Doric of Ionic. The reason being is that the Corinthian order was fancier than the others, and had a lot more detail. (www. chsweb. neb. net/usr/katelevy/greek/greek) The Doric column (700 BC-323 BC: Greek) was first developed in Greece and it was used for great temples, including the famous Parthenon in Athens. Simple Ionic columns were used for smaller temples and building interiors.

It was 323 BC-146 BC and Asia, the empire built elaborate temples and secular buildings with Ionic and Corinthian columns. The Hellenistic period ended with conquests by the Roman Empire. Classical columns are built according to the Classic Orders of Architecture as recorded in the late 1 5001s by the Renaissance architect, Vignola. The classical column designs are: From Ancient Greece However, prior to the creation of the great marble temples of the 5th cent. BC, there were undoubtedly evolutionary stages in which walls were made of sun-dried bricks and roofs, columns, and uprights of wood.

The Heraeum at Olympia, considered one of the most ancient temples yet discovered, represents such a stage; in its later alterations (7th cent. SC), it is illustrative of the beginnings of the Doric temple of stone. Then 3 The most basic order for their temples would be the Doric order. Doric architecture was known for being used by the Spartans. It all starts with some wood shafts, which latter was replaced by stone. On the top of the shaft, were circular pads with a square block of wood over it. The vertical columns were used to support the beams called architraves.. (www. hsweb. neb. net/usr/katelevy/greek/greek) In order to form the ceiling, other beams were laid across the building with their ends on these architraves. On the end of these beams, they could be channeled to ake a triglyph. On the top of a triglyph there would be another beam which would be placed for the overhanging rafters. These types of beams were referred as to a mutules. The finishing touches for the roof had to have flat gables called pediments. The order of Doric temples was similar to those of the Ionic order in layout and design. The final order would be the Ionic order.

Their columns were more slender than those of the Doric order. Their dimensions were eight to nine meters high, instead of four to five. The columns had a molded base which was placed under them and then sculpted figures on the lower part of the shaft were added. At the top of these shafts, were rectangular blocks of stone, which were carved in the shape of hair or other wave and line shapes. The Parthenon is one good example of the Doric order, this temple in the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector.

Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC, Then 4 important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an nduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. (www. wikipedia. ancientGreece-civilization) Some studies of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, conclude that many of its proportions approximate the golden ratio.

The Parthenon’s facade as well as elements of its facade and elsewhere can be circumscribed by golden rectangles. This view that the golden ratio was employed in the design has been disputed in more recent studies. (www. historyguide/architecture. org) Measured at the stylobate, the dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are 69. 5 metres by 30. 9 metres (228. x 101. 4 ft). The cella was 29. 8 metres long by 19. 2 metres wide (97. 8 x 63. 0 ft), with internal colonnades in two tiers, structurally necessary to support the roof. On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1. 9 metres (6. 2 ft) in diameter and are 10. 4 metres (34. 1 ft) high.

The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter. The Parthenon had 46 outer Then 5 pillars and 19 inner pillars in total. The stylobate has an upward curvature towards its centre of 60 millimetres (2. 36 in) on the east and west ends, and of 110 millimetres (4. 33 in) on the sides. The roof was covered with large overlapping marble tiles nown as imbrices and tegulae. www. wikipedia. ancientGreece-civilization) The Romans (44 BC-476 AD) borrowed heavily from the earlier Greek and Hellenistic styles, but their buildings were more highly ornamented. They used Corinthian and composite style columns along with decorative brackets.

The invention of concrete allowed the Romans to build arches, vaults, and domes. A famous example of Roman architecture is the Roman Coliseum. (www. architecture. about. com/od/greatbuildings/ ig/New-Wonders/colosseum-lge. htm) The Flavian emperors Vespasian and Titus built the Coliseum in central Rome between 70 and 82 AD. At least 50,000 spectators – and possibly many more – could sit in the enormous building. The Coliseum in Rome is sometimes called the Amphitheatrum Flavium (Flavian Amphitheater) after the emperors who constructed it. The Architecture of Ancient Rome adopted the external Greek architecture around 12th century B.

C. and created a new architectural style. The Romans absorbed Greek influence, apparent in many aspects closely related to architecture; for example, this can be seen in the introduction and use of the Triclinium in Roman villas as a place and manner of dining. The Romans, similarly, were indebted to their Etruscan eighbors and forefathers who supplied them with a wealth of knowledge essential for future architectural solutions, such as hydraulics and in the construction of Then 6 Social elements such as wealth and high population densities in cities forced the ancient Romans to discover new (architectural) solutions of their own.

The use of vaults and arches together with a sound knowledge of building materials, for example, enabled them to achieve unprecedented successes in the construction of imposing structures for public use. Examples include the aqueducts of Rome, the Baths of Diocletian and the Baths of Caracalla, the basilicas and perhaps most amously of all, the Coliseum. They were reproduced at smaller scale in most important towns and cities in the Empire.

Some surviving structures are almost complete, such as the town walls of Lugo in Hispania Tarraconensis, or northern Spain. Political propaganda demanded that these buildings should be made to impress as well as perform a public function. The Romans didn’t feel restricted by Greek aesthetic axioms alone in order to achieve these objectives. (Mathews 272) The Pantheon is a supreme example of this, particularly in the version rebuilt by Hadrian and which still stands in its celestial glory as a prototype of several other great uildings of Eastern architecture.

The Roman use of the arch and their improvements in the use of concrete and bricks facilitated the building of the many aqueducts throughout the empire, such as the magnificent Then 7 Aqueduct of Segovia and the eleven aqueducts in Rome itself, such as Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus. The same idea produced numerous bridges, such as the still used bridge at M©rida. The Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain The dome permitted construction of vaulted ceilings and provided large covered public space such as the public baths and basilicas.

The Romans based much of their architecture on the dome, such as Hadrian’s Pantheon n the city of Rome, the Baths of Diocletian and the Baths of Caracalla. Art historians such as Gottfried Richter in the 20’s identified the Roman architectural innovation as being the Triumphal Arch and it is poignant to see how this symbol of power on earth was transformed and utilized within the Christian basilicas when the Roman Empire of the West was on its last legs: The arch was set before the altar to symbolize the triumph of Christ and the afterlife. www. wikipedia. org/wiki/Roman-Empire) Gothic architecture is traced back to medieval Europe from the 12th to 16th centuries. It is characterized by the pointed arch and ribbed vault. The style is religious in inspiration and ecclesiastical in nature. Its greatest and most characteristic expression is the cathedral. The introduction of flying buttresses was a technical Church of St Denis (Matthew 265). Ever higher and lighter structures followed, with increasingly intricate vaulting and tracery.

Moreover, the arch Upward-pointing or curving arrangement of masonry blocks or other load-bearing materials, was also used in architectural decoration. The ancient Romans invented Then 8 traditional masonry arches but later cultures extended their repertoire to include many different and elaborate shapes. The basic structure of a masonry arch consists of wedge-shaped blocks (voussoirs) placed on top of each other and a central keystone which holds them together at the top. Modern materials, such as steel and reinforced concrete, are strong and flexible enough to stand on their own and can also stretch across much wider areas.

The form of an arch helps to date a building. www. Gothicart andarchitecture. www. encyclopedia. com. Not only is Chartres Cathedral (shown above) one of the greatest achievements in the history of architecture, it is almost perfectly preserved in its original design and details. Chartres’ extensive cycle of portal sculpture remains fully intact and its glowing stained-glass windows are all originals. Chartres is thus the only cathedral that conveys an almost perfect image of how it looked when it was built.

The present cathedral is one of several French Gothic masterpieces built because fire had destroyed its predecessors. Then 9 After the first cathedral of any great substance burnt down in 1020, a glorious new Romanesque basilica with a massive crypt was built under the direction of Bishop Fulbert and later Geoffroy de L©ves. In other European countries, classical forms were integrated with medieval motifs. Mannerism Term generally applied to the art and architecture of Italy between the High Renaissance and the Baroque. The style is typified by Parmigiano, Pontormo and Giovanni Lanfranco.

Theorists are still debating the scope of mannerism: it has been extended to include El Greco, the Fontainebleau School, and the Romanist painters of the Netherlands. The term implies a courtly, self-conscious style. Baroque Term (perhaps derived from the Portuguese barroca, a misshapen pearl) applied to the style of art and architecture prevalent in Europe in the 17th and early 18th centuries. (Mathew 314) Renaissance architecture is the rchitectural style that began in Italy in the 1 5th century, and spread throughout Europe until the advent of Mannerism and the Baroque in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Revolting against Gothic, it used Roman motifs. In Italy, Brunelleschi and Alberti studied the Roman ruins. In France, the style was first employed by Lescot, who was commissioned by Francis I to work on the Louvre (Matthews 355). Buildings of the period are composed of great curving forms with undulating facades, ground churches of Francesco Borromini, Guarino Guarini, and Balthasar Neumann. Many works of baroque architecture were executed on a colossal scale, incorporating spects of urban planning and landscape architecture.

This is most clearly seen in Bernini’s elliptical piazza in front of St. Then 10 Peter’s in Rome, or in the gardens, fountains, and palace at Versailles, designed by Louis Le Vau, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and Andr© Le N¶tre. (www. barroque/ the Columbia encyclopedia. com) Piazza Venezia, Rome. Versailles US Capitol It was during the 1 500s, the famous Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio awakened an interest in the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. Palladio’s ideas became the model for architecture in Europe for many centuries.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the newly-formed United States drew upon classical ideals to construct grand government buildings as well as smaller private homes. As discussed, the development and discoveries made in architecture by the Greeks evolved into the Roman Civilization structures and further are represented into the modern society. Then 11 Works Cited www. ancientgreece/athens wrww. ancientgreece. com/s/History www. architecture. about. com/od/greatbuildings/ig/New-Wonders/colosseum-lge. htm “baroque. ” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. Encyclopedia. com. 21 Jul. 2010

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