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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wasn’t very efficiant and is now outdated, but in ancient times it was the only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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