Parthenon: Influence of Greek and Roman Culture on Western Architecture

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 Institutions and buildings around the world have adopted the architectural styles from Greece and Rome, particularly in the west. It started with the Greek and then once Romans were introduced to it, they adopted it and improved upon it in their own way. Today we will be discussing and comparing two prominent and historic buildings; the Parthenon from Greece and the Pantheon from Rome.

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The construction for Parthenon started around 447 BC and finished 432 BC. It took about 15 years to complete. This was a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena whom the people of Greece considered their provider or patron. The significance at the time was more to prove the power of the political party like the Delian League than for worship. Perikles, at the time a very popular politician, called for the construction of this grand temple. The temples columns and style were Doric which means its columns were long and narrow while the column’s capitals were adorned with swirls. This type of style not only signified the columns but the whole building. It was built in a rectangular shape and had steps surrounding it on all four sides.

The Pantheon was built much after the Parthenon in 126 AD. This building was at first believed to be a private and sacred area or a part of Marcus Agripp’s property. Later on, it became in church around 609 and now it serves as a tomb for some quite popular leaders in history. This, unlike the Parthenon, is circular in shape and has used Corinthian columns to support the front. The circular shape comes from a dome after the front of it which also has a oculus. The building itself was completed by an architect by the name of Hadrian and it is still functioning and is visited often by tourists.

Looking at both the descriptions above there seems to be quite contrasting physical aspects of both the Parthenon and the Pantheon. The Parthenon was rectangular, Doric, housed Athena and now due to many years of erosion and wind has become roughed up and has lost its use. It was the symbol of power and politics. The Pantheon on the other hand was circular, Corinthian, and housed statues, various religion relics and even dead bodies. It is still standing and strong. While very powerful to the eyes, especially from the inside, it gave off a more holy and religious use/function.

This shows us that even though ancient Rome did take inspiration from the Greeks, they did so while improving and improvising on their own. There might be a few similarities, but we can see that the differences are more in number. Also, regardless of anything else, we all can agree that both Rome and Greece created fascinating and majestic buildings which cause us to awe at them even in the 21st century.

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