The architecture of the Greeks and Romans shared many similarities including temples and structures that were created by either civilization; that made both the Greek and the Roman architecture have a stronger connection. Whether it’s a Roman or Greek structure, both styles of the structures didn’t remain the same as when it was first formed. In fact, it developed by evolving through stages, until it reached to what we can see through the ruins today.
The Roman architecture was so close to that of the Greeks but the Romans also diverged to create their own architectural uniqueness. The term Basilica refers to the function of a building as that of a meeting hall. It was usually located in the form of a Roman town. The basilica is a Latin word derived from the Greek word “Basilica Stoa.” In Ancient Rome, basilicas were the site for legal matters to be carried out and a place for business transactions. In fact, they are among the most important categories of Roman architecture. The function of a basilica is also close to that of the Greek stoa, while there were no basilicas before the Roman era. The most famous basilicas were the Basilica Porcia in Rome and Basilica Aemilia in the Roman Forum. In Roman architecture, The basilicas were known to be rectangular buildings in which it’s length is about two or three times the width; and an apse would be added at either one or both ends. The rectangular base was split into aisles by columns and typically covered with a wooden roof. Windows were installed above the central aisle, which allowed light to penetrate inside the structure. Those windows became known as clerestory windows. Greek and Roman architecture varied widely when it comes to building materials. As Romans constructed out of brick and concrete and used marble for columns and ornate pieces of the structure. They also preferred using arches, which gave the structure much more beauty than the simple post-and-lintel system. Romans mostly used the Corinthian style which had a flat roof, unlike the ionic and Doric styles which were at a slant. The preference of Romans in the use of Corinthian columns can be seen in one of the most famous Roman structures, the Pantheon. Finally, Basilical architecture is deeply rooted in Roman’s aesthetic sense of form, beauty, and harmony. Upon entering a massive basilica, the individual will feel tiny in comparison to the state, yet connected to the empire because each body and meeting hall was defined by similar tastes of symmetry. The basilica had a huge impact on the psyche of the Romans as it represented their symbol of authority and social order.
The Stoa is a Greek structure that used to be built in a very large city and served as a market, a shelter from the heat or cold, or sometimes as an area for public meetings. The plan of the Greek Stoa was rectangularly even with twice the number of columns in front plus one by the side. Stoas stood on columns based on the principal construction system which was the post-and-lintel system. The columns were divided into 3 main types in which the Doric was the shortest, but the most common then comes the ionic and finally, the Corinthian which was the tallest. The Doric was the first to be developed; It had a simple style with statues of gods or heroes on top of the columns. It can be seen through famous Greek Stoas such as Stoa of Attalos (c. 150 BC) and Stoa Basileios (c. 525 BC). Ionic had a length-carved striped style. It had a base that looks like a stack of rings, and the capital on top of the column looks like a giant scroll. The Corinthian Column was represented as the most decorative of all Greek columns though it has the exact same style as that of the ionic; except for the capital. Its capital has flowers and leaves below a small scroll. Architects believed that the Doric style represents a man while ionic and Corinthian styles represent a woman considering their beauty compared to the Doric style. The first ancient Greek structures were mostly made of mud, brick, and wood; then evolved to stone and marble as the principal building material, for they had abundant amounts of both materials. The stones were ordered in a semi-prepared state from quarries. They were then roughly shaped, on-site, and placed in position on the building. Building blocks were not bonded; however, they were held in position by their weight, then the rough stones were finished to achieve the final form and treatment of the building. Moreover, timber and clay were also used as building materials. Timber was used mainly for roofing, for it was a very scarce commodity and it also had limited length. Clay, however, was made into sun-dried blocks and was used mostly in housing constructions.
Basically, Greek and Roman architecture is somehow similar, but some changes were made by the Romans that gave the structures more beauty. The Greek ideals of mathematical proportions were applied in architecture through the use of the orders. These orders provide a means to codify mathematical proportioning, by linking all the elements of the building with the diameter of the column. They were also viewed as anthropomorphic, representing the human body. However, ancient Greeks did not make significant contributions in the aspect of building technologies but managed to translate the ideas of beauty into tangible buildings.