Greek Architecture Essay

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Columns and the Parthenon The Greek life was dominated by religion and so the religious temples of ancient Greece were some of the biggest and most beautiful examples of their art and architecture. They were also used to show civic power and pride. The architectural system was divided into three groups, or orders, each with a different detailing. The three Greek orders are: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, with Corinthian being the most decorated. Doric columns were sturdy and the tops were plain. This style was most used in mainland Greece, and in southern Italy and Sicily. Doric columns are found on the Parthenon and other religious temples. Ionic columns were thinner and more elegant, and had a scroll-like design on the top. Ionic was found more in eastern Greece and the islands. An example of Ionic columns would be the temple of Erechtheum built on the acropolis of Athens. The last order is Corinthian, which had a very decorative capital designed with acanthus leaves. It was rarely found in Greek architecture, but was used more by the Romans. The oldest known example of the Corinthian order is the temple of Apollo at Bassae. Building the Parthenon was a greater feat than they ever would have known. Work on the Parthenon began in 477 BC. A much smaller shrine already stood on this site. If such a structure in fact existed, it was torn down to make way for a huge limestone platform, roughly 252 by 103 feet in size that was built as a base for the new temple. This was only the beginning of the temple. The actual base of the new temple was smaller than the platform, as can be still clearly seen. The temple itself was Doric, with a peristyle of six columns at each end and sixteen along the sides. The first year of construction was consumed almost entirely with quarrying and transporting marble from Mount Pentelicus-that pure white, finely grained stone that,

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