Greek Architecture Essay Example


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Ancient Architecture

Greek Architecture Essay: Abstract

Art and architecture history cover up a long period that started with the civilization of humanity. Ever since cultures and societies have been creating art and architecture, specifically, one can see the impacts of ancient cultures on modern art and architecture because art is a collective process. In other words, one culture influences another, and art evolves to new methods and innovations. However, to understand modern art and architecture, one must know ancient art and architecture. This paper's primary purpose is to examine both Greek and Persian culture's architectures and find relations to one and another. For doing so, this paper analyzes Parthenon Temple and others in the Acropolis region. Therefore, this paper concentrates on Greek architecture and its relations to Persian architecture. The classical period had been influenced by many social and political impacts, and Greek had built temples that combined both political and mythological influences within the architecture.


First of all, it is generally assumed that Greek art and architecture influenced Romans. Specifically, in the classical period, Romans copied original Greek statues and architecture. On the other hand, in Greek architecture, some similarities exist with Persian architecture. This influence stems from long years of wars between the Greeks and Persians. In this sense, both cultures interfered with each other and were affected by each other because Persians were a great empire that conquered middle-east, Anatolia, and Asia. Also, Persians and Greek had harmed each other, and Persians destroyed Acropolis temples.

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Persepolis architecture influenced Acropolis temples in several aspects. For instance, both Persepolis and Greek structures had similar functions. Also, Persian influence on Greek architecture revealed several different points. These similarities are that both structures represented the glory of their culture, and they were the main places to show respect to the gods or the Emperor. Greek temples were designed to see the temple from each side; specifically, one can see Greek temples from a very distant location. On the other hand, Persepolis structures represented the Apadana belief. The primary purpose of the Persian structure was to glorify the Emperor. Also, Persian was influenced by Greek architecture as well.

Ionian Greeks were famous for their expertise in sculptures. The Persian king Darius I. the Great wanted to build a palace in Persepolis, and Ionian Greeks were invited to help Persians. One can highlight that Ionian Greeks went to Persepolis and observed the architecture and art. Then they came back to their country and transferred their knowledge to the Greek artists. Therefore, the Ionian Greeks' impacts on Greek architecture stem from this invitation.

Before the Parthenon temple was built, one can find Persian influences in Greek architecture. For instance, the Odeon of Pericles and the Hall of The Hundred Columns in Persepolis. Both structures had the same dimensions: The Odeon was measured 68,50 x 62,40 meters and contained 9 x 10 columns; the room of the Persepolis palace had 10 x 10 columns and was measured 68,50 x 68,50 meters ("Persian Influence," 2020). Therefore, one can highlight that there are certain resemblances between the two structures. Specifically, these kinds of similarities can be found in many Acropolis temples. After all, Persians and Greek interfered with each other for more than fifty years.

Greek Architecture Essay

Figure 1. Odeon of Pericles, Athens

Another resemblance between Persian and Greek architecture can be found in the Prytaneum. Specifically, the Prytaneum was an Athenian market, and it was built in 465 BC. It represented Greek democracy, and the Athenians called it merely the tholos ("round building") or skias ("parasol") ("Persian Influence," 2020). That is, the Prytaneum was influenced by the Persian structure because round buildings were uncommon, and the Persian king often was described with parasol. Arguably, one can assume that Greeks were influenced by Persian left-behinds and change the original form with different materials. After all, in this period, the parasol was uncommon and associated with Persians.

Greek Architecture Essay

Figure 2. The Prytaneum, Turkey

Other than Persian influences, Greek had their architectural style and belief. The temples in Acropolis shows resemblances with each other. These temples are similar to each other because they represent the same function and mythological narratives. Also, their internal structures are identical to each other. For instance, one can see that in the Temple of Athena, Nike and Parthenon have similar measures in the fragments, and they were both built for honoring Athena. Also, both temples can be seen from all sides.

Greeks valued building sanctuaries in honor of gods and goddesses. However, Persian destroyed many temples in Acropolis. Therefore, in the battle of Salamis, the Greeks defeated the Persians by destroying their navy. Frequently, the Persians retreated to Asia. More specifically, the war between Greeks and Persians kept going for years. Both sides had their victories, sometimes Greek won and sometimes Persians. Eventually, in 447 BC Parthenon Temple was started to build. Some historians believe that Athens concluded a peace treaty with Persia in 449 BC, two years before work began on the Parthenon ("The Parthenon," 2020).

Greek Architecture Essay

Figure 3. The Parthenon Temple of Athena, Athens

The Parthenon temple was built to represent glory and victory. In this sense, the Parthenon was made in honor of the goddess Athena. The Parthenon temple represented political and mythological impacts on Greek culture. In Greek mythology, Athena is the justice and strategy goddess, and Greek believed that the goddess helped their grandfathers to win the war against Persians. Therefore, the Parthenon glorified Athena and Greek culture. In other words, the Parthenon represents a victory for Greeks, and one can suggest that the Parthenon was built to defend the city against another Persian invasion. Also, it was made for uniting Greek citizens.

In Greek society, women had not any rights in politics or social life. The only man who was born in Greek had rights in politics. Typically, in this period, Greek figures only include portray of Greek gods and goddesses, but in the Parthenon temple, there were warrior human figures. Therefore, mortal Greek warriors were represented as the equals of the gods and goddesses. In the Parthenon temple, friezes had a classical sense of dimensionality, anatomy, and a great sense of motion associated with Greek-style and mythology.

More specifically, a part of friezes included the war with Amazons, and they were dressed as Persians. One can highlight that Amazons represented Persians, and revealing Persian men in the female body was done to humiliate Persians because in Greek society, being a woman meant nothing. Therefore, the Parthenon temple wound Persians and glorified the Greek Empire.

The Parthenon temple represented Classical belief, and it had unique friezes that included different war figures for Greek victory. Specifically, in the friezes, one can see that some of the figures are not horizontal because the artist focused on filling the space in friezes. Also, there are two refinements in the Parthenon temple, and one can connect these refinements to ancient technology because these refinements reveal the incredible architecture. Specifically, Greek architecture has influenced modern architecture. One can suggest that in the 21st century, many buildings share similar measures with the Parthenon temple.

First of all, refinement 1 concentrates on entasis measures that force bearing down upon the columns. For instance, each column has a 1.75 cm entasis. One can explain this refinement by looking at different sides, angles, and forms of the Parthenon temple. Specifically, the basis of the Parthenon temple is the stairs. These stairs are uncommon because they are curving upwards. Also, the temple rises from the center of the building. There is a distortion that stems from visual distortion. Therefore, the proportion's emphasis makes the Parthenon temple appear from the front and back.

Another significant fact about the Parthenon temple is that its structure has a unique 4:9 rate. Specifically, 4:9 height of floor to top, and it has a 4:9 column diameter. Also, 4:9 column diameter creates an axial distance between columns. Eventually, the Parthenon's most significant fact is the 4:9 rate used in modern buildings.

On the other hand, while Greek was concentrating on classical belief, Persians were focusing on Apadana belief. In the classical period, Greek architecture was influenced by Persians. More specifically, the Parthenon temple's functions were similar to Apadana belief because the Parthenon temple was the main building for Greeks to show graduate to the goddess Athena. One can infer that it had a religious function because Greek was going to the temple to pray the goddess. Moreover, in Persian architecture, Apadana belief showed a similar function to the Parthenon temple. However, in Persian architecture, the structure was made for glorifying the Emperor, and on new years eve, Persians gave offerings to the Emperor.

Greek architecture has a similar form and building type on a few of the buildings when Greek architecture was compared to Persian. Still, Greek architecture's style and technology are more developed than Persian. Also, Greek temples represent the gods and goddesses. On the other hand, Persian architecture represents emperors and high-class ambassadors. One can see specific differences between Greek and Persian culture. Eventually, Greeks might be influenced by some of the buildings' styles and forms from Persian architecture, and most of the time, Greeks have changed the buildings that were affected by the Persians. Specifically, Greek improved those buildings with better forms, style, and technology.

Greek Architecture: Conclusion

To sum up, this paper investigated the relationship between Greek and Persian architecture. Specifically, it concentrated on both Acropolis and Persepolis, which were essential regions for Greeks and Persians. In this sense, it focused on examining the Parthenon temple and its relations to Persian influences. Since the Parthenon temple was built to represent the victory of Greeks after long years of wars with Persians, one can suggest that by making the Parthenon temple, Greeks humiliated Persians because, in the one section of the friezes, Amazon women were described with Persian clothes. In Greek culture, women had no rights. Therefore Persians were defined as women. Eventually, one can find resemblances between Greek and Persian architecture. On the other hand, they have differences in their cultures because Greek built temples for honoring their gods and goddesses. Also, in Greek society, there was a democracy. However, in Persian culture, temples and buildings were made for honoring the Emperor. While Greek made sacrifices and gave offerings to gods and goddesses, the Persians gave offerings to their Emperor on New Year's eve. Therefore, one can highlight that there are significant differences between the Greeks and Persian cultures because their societies' dynamics are different than each other. Eventually, Persian influences on Greek architecture helped Greeks improve architectural styles and form in order to create better buildings.


"The Parthenon." Humanities. Web. 12 Dec. 2020.

"Persian Influence on Greek Architecture." Web. 12 Dec. 2020.

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Pelin Dalkiran
Pelin Dalkiran
Studied Maths and Coding @DEU, currently working as Front End Lead at Tamara Research, loves writing, coding, and hiking.

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