Influences of Classical Greek Architecture

             The ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras best described the basis for his civilizations art and architecture when he stated, “Of all things the measure is man.” Greek culture emphasized the beauty of the human body, and created idealized male and female forms still used today. A majority of Greek sculpture and architecture includes depictions of the human body, usually to pay homage to a particular god or goddess. The ancient Greeks placed this importance on the human body because the Gods which they worshipped were anthropomorphic, or believed to appear as people. The Greeks believed that each god was flawless, and since the gods took human form, the body which he or she inhabited could be nothing less than aesthetically perfect. Greek sculptors developed an ideal model of human proportion when they created sculptures of the gods. This idealized form can be seen in Polykleitos’ sculpture, the Doriforus. Polykleitos used the canon, or a set of relationships and ratios for the human body, in his sculpture. This symmetry and proportion that existed in the idealized human form found in Greek sculpture was reflected in the civilizations architecture as well. For example, buildings such as the Parthenon in Athens show the Greek quest for visual perfection in artwork outside of the human form. The architects of the Parthenon compensated for optical illusions to make the building appear perfectly constructed from a distance. The ancient Greeks were the first major empire to believe that the gods they worshipped lived amongst them, and they imitated their gods’ perfection in artistic creations for the world that surrounded them.
             The Greek belief in anthropomorphic gods was not the only thing that separated their culture from other ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians. The ancient Greeks also created the first democratic government, a system which promoted equality for all men in Greece. Greeks had no political figure...

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