Greek and Roman Architecture

Greek and Roman Architecture

Ancient Greek and Roman architecture is rightly considered the cradle of European civilization. It was in these countries that many architectural orders originated and developed, which subsequently became models for imitation.

Features of Greek Architecture

For Greek architects, a penchant for harmony, proportionality, and symmetry was characteristic. They actively used the order system - a strict set of rules for columns, entablatures, and other building elements. The most common orders in Greece were Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.

The Acropolis and Parthenon of Athens

The Athens Acropolis is rightly considered the pinnacle of Greek architecture - a fortress that rises above the city. Its main decoration is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. This masterpiece of the Ionic order is characterized by strict proportions and a harmonious combination of all elements. Thanks to a slight curve in the stylobate, the Parthenon's columns create the impression of being inclined inward, giving the building a sense of unity and completeness.

Other Famous Structures

In addition to the Parthenon, masterpieces of Greek architecture include the Temple of Hera at Olympia, the Erechtheion on the Acropolis, the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, the theater in Epidaurus, and many others. They share a commitment to proportionality, rationality, and harmony between humans and their environment.

Characteristics of Roman Architecture

Unlike the Greeks, the Romans focused on building large-scale public structures. Their buildings were distinguished by durability, monumentality, and lavish decor. Arches, vaults, and domes were widely used. From the Greek orders, Romans often employed the Corinthian and composite orders.

The Colosseum

One of the symbols of Rome is the Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum. This grand structure accommodated up to 50,000 spectators. The Colosseum is notable for its thoughtful construction and engineering solutions, allowing rapid filling and emptying of the building. Its exterior left an indelible impression on Romans and conquered peoples alike.

The Pantheon

Another outstanding creation of Roman architects is the Pantheon, a temple to all the gods. Its interior represents a perfect sphere with an impressive dome 43 meters in diameter, the largest dome ever built in Ancient Rome. It represents the pinnacle of Roman concrete dome construction.

Other Significant Buildings

Other significant structures of Ancient Rome include triumphal arches, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla, aqueducts, palaces on the Palatine Hill, and more. They are characterized by monumentality, rationalism, and practicality. Unlike the Greeks, the Romans primarily cared about the utility and functionality of their buildings.

Similarities and Differences between Greek and Roman Architectural Schools

Despite its uniqueness, Roman architecture inherited many features of Hellenistic construction.

The Romans adopted the Greek order system - a strict set of rules for columns, entablatures, pediments, and other elements. The most common orders in both Greece and Rome were Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, with Roman architects preferring the more lavish Corinthian order.

The Romans also relied on Greek principles of harmony and mathematically calculated proportions in architecture. They inherited many decorative details from the Greeks - types of capitals, friezes, cornices.

At the same time, Roman architecture had its own distinctive features. Roman architects brought rationalism, a drive for grand scales, and unusual engineering solutions. They widely used arches, vaults, and domes, allowing them to cover vast spaces.

While the Greeks created ideal temples-sanctuaries, the Romans primarily built practical structures that affirmed the empire's might - amphitheaters, baths, aqueducts, triumphal arches. Their buildings were distinguished not only by their scope but also by thoughtful planning and engineering innovations.

Thus, Roman architecture inherited the best traditions of Hellenism, complementing them with practicality, monumentality, and technical achievements. This combination allowed the creation of truly grandiose structures that still impress today.


Both Greek and Roman architectural schools have made an invaluable contribution to the treasury of world culture. Their creations still inspire admiration for their harmony, scale, and perfection of execution.

The influence of ancient architecture is hard to overestimate. Its achievements laid the foundation for subsequent eras and architectural styles. Elements of Greek temples and Roman public buildings can be found in many structures up to the present day.

The ideals of beauty and proportionality, found by ancient Greek architects, have not lost their value. Roman rationalism, the pursuit of greatness, and monumentality continue to inspire architects from different countries. The creations of the Greeks and Romans have forever entered the treasury of world architecture as examples of harmony between humans and their environment.