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Essay/Term paper: Greek architecture

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Greek Architecture

Greek influence is visable in everything that we have today. Our laws, cities
and even our system of goverment all come from asppects of greek civilization,
but maybe what we have been influenced the most gy the greeks is in
architecture. Maybe the reason this is, is that it was a new form of
architecture that had little to do with function and everything to do with looks.
Agood example is the Greek temple. They were built in honor of the gods, but
the architects were most likely more concerned with beauty than function.

Unlike the Romans who used the arch to support their buildings the Greeks used
columns. their system is called the post and lintel system. This system
wasn't very efficiant and is now outdated, but in ancient times it was the only
way of building. Another thing that the Greeks are famous for are their great
theaters, where they held many plays. Some of these plays were building blocks
for moderm drama.

The greek theater was incredible. The greeks spent years of time and effort to
perfect their theater design. In their theater there were four things that most
theaters had. The orchestra, paraskenia, theatron, and skene.

The orchestra was the stage, located in the center of the theater. unlike many
modern stages, which are raised above the seatsthe orchestra was located below
the seats. There were sometimes, but not usually, seats located behind the

The theatron was the audiences seating. THe theatron was raised above the
orchestra,which extended in circles. These circles were devided by walkways
which extended outward from the orchestra. The shape of the theater allowed the
actor's voices to carry without the use of modern day equiptment. The theaters
were usually cut out of hillside, meaning that theywere usually one big piece
of rock. most theaters could hold about 20000 people!

The skene was the backdrop of the stage. It had a picture of the front of a
house painted on it. Because of this, all Greek plays took place in front of a
house. The skene had windows, doorways, and arches, which allowed many entrances
into the orchestra. The rooms located behind the skene were storage rooms for
props and dressing rooms for actors. We get the word scene from the greek word,

The Paraskenias were the walls that extended away from the skene so that the
audiance could not see anything beyond the play. the paraskenia was also
sometimes built to be a high arch above the orchestra. This framed the stage
and helped keep the audiences attention.

Another thing that many theaters had was the proskenium. the proskenium was a
bunch of arches or columnsplaced above the skene. This was used to add more
layers to the stage as the scenes changed.

Greek architectureis known for its magnificent columns. Columns were used on
the outsides og buildings and were the main supports of roofs. The three
mostly used columns were the dorian , ionic, and corinthian columns.

The dorian columns were the oldest and the most comenly used. they were first
used in the seventeenth sentuary B.C. They were pretty simple and they had a
stone slab at the top and the bottom of the column seperating it from the floor
or ceiling. Dorian columns were masculine and were supposed to represent the
male body.

The Ionic columns were first used in the 16 centurart B.C. The ionic columns
were thinner and mor detailed than the dorian columns. The ionic columns were
supposed to represent femininity and were eventually full scuptures of woman as

The corinthian columns were introduced in th 14 centuary B.C. These columns are
the mostly decorated of the three columns. The tops of these columns were
sculptures of plants. They had a complicated base with many layers. the
corinthian columns symbolized life.


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