Trace the development of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Temples. How are they different and how are they similar? Who inspired who? Finally, what was the place and purpose of Religion in Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Culture?
Architectural feats dedicated to the gods are consistent throughout the ancient civilizations of Greece, Etruria, and Rome. Temples were the architectural expressions of the importance of religion in these societies. The precision and care dedicated to the making of each of the temples undeniably reflect this attitude. The Classical Greeks frequently used the simple Doric order, but went into detail with their temple sculptures. The temples built during the Hellenistic period, on the other hand, were vast and ostentatious. The Etruscan temples were adapted from the Greek temples and, in turn, the Roman temples were adapted from the Etruscan temples. Despite the many similarities, each culture contributed its own unique style to their temples, all while stressing the importance of religion in their societies.
The Greek temples were constructed with some differences between the Classical and Hellenistic periods. The main Classical example is the Parthenon in Athens. The Parthenon, an immense temple in the middle of the Acropolis, was dedicated to the goddess Athena. Built by Iktinos and Kallikrates between 448 and 432 B.C.E., the Parthenon is a prime example of the Classical Doric style temple. Since the Greeks were obsessed with mathematical precision, the proportions of the building are eight-to-five, the “Golden Section” rule. The sculptures on the Parthenon depict battles between mankind and centaurs, figures of gods and goddesses, and other mythological scenes. The architectural and sculpted work of the Parthenon reflects a very Classical style.
The Classical Temple of Athena Nike and the Hellenistic Temple of the Olympian Zeus present a deep contrast between the two periods. The tiny Ionic Temple of Athena Nike was...