Architecture Remarkably Similar in Their Appearance Research Paper

Pages: 6 (2005 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Architecture


Remarkably similar in their appearance, the Temple of Aphaia on the Greek island of Aegina, and the Temple of Portunus in Rome reveal continuity in Greco-Roman architectural aesthetics and their corresponding cultural contexts. The Temple of Aphaia predates the Temple of Portunus by several centuries, suggesting that most mimicry would have been one-directional; the Roman design and function of the Temple of Portunus deriving directly from the Greek predecessor. The World Monument Fund refers to the Temple of Portunus as " a rare survivor of Roman Republican architecture and a reminder of the magnificence of the Forum Boarium in Antiquity," and the Temple of Aphaia represents the " completion of the setting down of the basic tenets of the Doric order of Greek architecture," (Kashdan). The Temple of Aphaia is from the Archaic Period of Greek design, compared with the Republican Period of Roman design. These two temples were both used as sanctuaries dedicated to goddesses, have similar forms, and similar functions.

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When comparing the Temple of Aphaia and the Temple of Portunus, it is important to compare several different formal and contextual categories of analysis. These categories include the actual physical appearance of the temples, or the way they look visually to the viewer. The second category is the date of construction and general time period. The third category of analysis is the reason and purpose behind the construction of each of these temples. Fourth, it is important to understand the method of constructions and materials used in each of these two ancient temples. Finally, the analysis will take into account the cultural and religious context. The context provides an understanding of why these two buildings were built, and what role they served their communities.

Research Paper on Architecture Remarkably Similar in Their Appearance, the Assignment

First, with regards to their appearances, the two temples Both the Greek Temple of Aphaia and the Roman Temple of Portunus are known for their colonnades, or their rows of columns as structural and design elements. The Greek columns are Doric, and there are a total of 72 of them, with twelve on the length of the temple and six down the width of each side. The total size of the temple measures 28.8 by 13.7 meters "along the stylobate," according to Kashdan. The height of the temple columns is "5.33 times greater than their width at the base, giving the temple an elongated, airy feel," (Kashdan). There were six columns along the short edges and 12 along the sides. It is believed that the newer stone construction represents "new construction technologies" that did not exist in the region before (Kashdan). This is because archaeologists suspect that the builders relied on pulley systems to hoist the stones in place, as opposed to the previous method, which used ramps and levers (Kashdan).

One of the remarkable features found in the Temple of Aphaia includes the pottery that was found inside, which was black-figured pottery of the Attica style (Gill, 1988). The goddess to which the Temple of Aphaia is dedicated is not one of the common major Greek pantheon, but is a local goddess (Kashdan). However, the most important artistic features related to the Temple of Aphaia are the pediments, or the external sculptures that offer decorations on the outside of the building. Both the pottery found inside and the sculptures found outside on the pediments are representative of the "age of experiment" in Archaic Greece, as Snodgrass puts it. The Temple of Aphaia represents the "late" Archaic period, where the forms, styles, and functions of architecture had reached full maturity (209). From the Temple of Aphaia, it is easy to see how the next era of architecture style came to being, as the styles from the Archaic period morphed into the styles of the Severe, or Early Classical period (Snodgrass, 209). Moreover, there were renowned architects on Aphaia during this time who would have been considered masters to emulate by future architects in Greece but also in Rome (Snodgrass).

The late Archaic and Severe styles were deceptively simplistic, as can be seen in the Temple of Aphaia. In the pediments of the temple, it is possible to witness the famous "Archaic Smile" that is the epitome of this era of representative art. By the time the Severe style replaced the Archaic style, the humor and smiling had all but disappeared on the faces of the sculptures (Snodgrass).

The Temple of Portunus was formerly known as the Temple of Fortuna Virilis. Unlike the Greek Temple of Aphaia, the Temple of Portunus uses Ionic rather than Doric columns. However, the temple is raised up on a podium like the Greek temple and has a "pronaios," or porch. It appears like a Greek temple, even though the porch has only eight columns because of the illusion the architect creates. The "cella" portion forming the body of the temple has decorative "false" columns that make it look more like the Greek style of architecture even while being independent of it. Unlike the Temple of Aphaia, the Temple of Portunus does not have many sculptures or decorative elements. The style of architecture of the Temple of Portunus is "a merging of both Etruscan and Greek temple styles," (Sullivan).

The second category is the date of construction and general time period in which these two different temples were built. An analysis of the time period lends much to the discussion of the historical context, which shows how and why the temple was built in the materials it was built in. In this comparison, the Greek Temple of Aphaia was built on the island of Aegina by local architects in the 6th century BCE. The Temple of Portuna in Rome was built in Rome in the second century BCE, about four hundred years later. This allowed for four hundred years of architectural wisdom and knowledge to emerge and influence the design, purpose, and construction of the temples. The architects on the island of Aphaia were renowned for their work, as were the architects in Rome at the time the Temple of Pourtuna was built. The original construction of the Temple of Aphaia was built in the late 6th century BCE; however that original temple was destroyed in a fire. The fire that destroyed an earlier temple on the same site was, however, not too long before the current temple was built, perhaps around 570 BCE (Gill). The Temple of Portunus was built in the second half of the second century BCE and there was no initial construction (Sear). The time period especially of the Temple of Portunus shows that the materials used predated marble, and the design was reflecting the ancient Greek designs that can be seen partly in the Temple of Aphaia.

The third category is the reason or purpose of these two buildings, and why they were constructed the way they were. The Greek Temple of Aphaia is not unique in that there are many other Greek temples dedicated to local gods and goddesses. This was one of many examples of how the ancient Greeks honored the gods and conducted daily worship via the placement of the temple. However, this temple is the "only known site of worship for the goddess Aphaia," (Kashdan). There was a cult area inside where a priestess would have performed rituals. The purpose and meaning of constructing temples was similar in ancient Rome, where it became necessary to honor the gods like Portunus. Although the actual nature of the worship and the gods were different the role of the temple served the came community purpose. The two temples show that architecture is a reflection of the time and the culture in which the buildings were built. Use of local building materials was necessary. Whereas the Greek temple of Aphaia was not directly influenced by another culture, except in the sense that the decorative elements inside and outside like the pottery and frieze, respectively, showed the story of Greeks fighting the Persians in the Persian War. On the contrary, the Roman temple of Portunus is directly deriving from the Greek architectural design sense. In fact, Greek architects were "brought to Rome," and "carried with them their Hellenistic style, which they adapted to Roman buildings like this one," (the Architecture of Roman Temples: The Republic to the Middle Empire. p. 66). In fact, the Temple of Portunus represents "one of the best" examples of the way "Hellenistic influences were adopted and transformed in Rome in the second century BCE (the Architecture of Roman Temples: The Republic to the Middle Empire. p. 66).

Methods and materials of construction were different for these two temples. The differences are partly attributed to culture, and partly attributed to the geography and what was available at the time. There are also architectural trends that need to be considered when analyzing the structure and building methods. The Temple of Aphaia was originally constructed by wood and was burned down before the current temple was constructed. It is believed that a fire consumed the earlier temple because it was constructed out of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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