Ancient Greek architecture

Ancient Greek architecture came from the Greek-speaking people (Hellenic people) whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Anatolia and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around 600 BC.[1]

Ancient Greek architecture
Top: The Parthenon (460-406 BC); Centre: The Erechtheion (421-406 BC); Bottom: Illustration of Doric (left three), Ionic (middle three) and Corinthian (right two) columns
Years activec. 900 BC-1st century AD

Ancient Greek architecture is best known from its temples, many of which are found throughout the region, with the Parthenon regarded, now as in ancient times, as the prime example.[2] Most remains are very incomplete ruins, but a number survive substantially intact, mostly outside modern Greece. The second important type of building that survives all over the Hellenic world is the open-air theatre, with the earliest dating from around 525–480 BC. Other architectural forms that are still in evidence are the processional gateway (propylon), the public square (agora) surrounded by storied colonnade (stoa), the town council building (bouleuterion), the public monument, the monumental tomb (mausoleum) and the stadium.

Ancient Greek architecture is distinguished by its highly formalised characteristics, both of structure and decoration. This is particularly so in the case of temples where each building appears to have been conceived as a sculptural entity within the landscape, most often raised on high ground so that the elegance of its proportions and the effects of light on its surfaces might be viewed from all angles.[3] Nikolaus Pevsner refers to "the plastic shape of the [Greek] temple [...] placed before us with a physical presence more intense, more alive than that of any later building".[4]

The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the division of architectural style into three defined orders: the Doric Order, the Ionic Order and the Corinthian Order, was to have a profound effect on Western architecture of later periods. The architecture of ancient Rome grew out of that of Greece and maintained its influence in Italy unbroken until the present day. From the Renaissance, revivals of Classicism have kept alive not only the precise forms and ordered details of Greek architecture, but also its concept of architectural beauty based on balance and proportion. The successive styles of Neoclassical architecture and Greek Revival architecture followed and adapted ancient Greek styles closely.