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The islands of the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea form a natural link between the landmasses of the Middle East and Europe. A westward expansion from the civilizations of western Asia and Egypt began about 3000 bc and led to settlements in Crete, the Cyclades, and mainland Greece. The fundamental difference between these and the earlier, Neolithic cultures is that stone tools and weapons were replaced by those made of copper and, later, bronze.
The Chalcolithic (Copper-Stone) Age, lasting in the Aegean area from the early 3rd millennium bc to the beginning of the 2nd, is usually considered a part of the greater Bronze Age, which was superseded by the Iron Age from about 1200 bc.The hallmark of the Aegean civilizations was the facility with which Asiatic motifs and techniques were adapted to form original local styles. In architecture, by far the most important achievements were those of the civilizations of Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece.
Minoan Crete The great maritime civilization of Crete crystallized around palaces such as those at Knossos, Phaestus, Ayía Triáda, Mallia, and Tylissos. The immensely important Palace of Minos at Knossos, excavated and reconstructed early in the 20th century by Sir Arthur Evans, offers evidence of unbroken architectural and artistic development from Neolithic beginnings, culminating in a brilliant display of building activity during the third phase of the Middle Minoan period (1700–1580 bc) and continuing until the invasion of the Achaeans in the 12th century.
The palace, however, is essentially a structure of the late two Middle Minoan periods (1800–1580 bc). It no doubt rivaled Middle Eastern and Egyptian palaces in monumentality. Following the example of such structures, the Palace of Minos is a quadrangular complex of rooms and corridors grouped around a great central court, roughly 175 × 100 feet (50 × 30 metres). At the northern end, toward the sea, a grand portico of 12 pilasters would have given access to the central court.
At this end, also, is situated the grand theatrical area, a rectangular open-air theatre that was perhaps used for ritual performances. The east wing of the palace is divided into two parts by a long corridor running on an east–west axis; originally it rose four or five stories above the slope of the valley. The southeast portion of the palace contains domestic apartments, elaborately supplied with plumbing and flushing facilities, as well as a sanctuary.
A wide stairway led to an upper story, which no longer exists. The northeast portion of the palace is occupied by offices and storerooms. The west portion is again divided by a main corridor, more than 200 feet (60 metres) long, running north and south. Behind this corridor, along the western side, was discovered a series of long narrow storerooms containing great numbers of pithoi, or human-size storage vessels for oil.
On the other side of the corridor, facing toward the central court, are the rooms of state, including the throne room with its unique gypsum throne and world-famous griffin frescoes. Brilliantly hued frescoes played an important part in both the interior and the exterior decoration of the palace. Light was supplied from above by an ingenious system of light wells, and several colonnaded porticoes provided ventilation during the hot Cretan summers.
KnossosPortion of the reconstructed Minoan palace, Knossos, Crete, Greece.Peterak The development of the other Minoan palaces (Phaestus, Mallia, Ayía Triáda, Tylissos) roughly parallels that of Knossos. Each is notable, and Phaestus is particularly fascinating, due to extensive Italian excavations. Maritime hegemony enabled the Cretan sea kings to build these palaces in low and unprotected places; consequently there is a conspicuous absence of fortification walls, as contrasted to the great walls of Mesopotamian palaces.
Since Cretan worship seems to have been conducted largely in the open air, there are no real temples as in the Middle East. Yet, the disposition of the various parts of the palace around the central court and the avoidance of outside windows as much as possible are characteristics that seem to indicate an early contact with the Middle East. A taste for long, straight palace corridors, as well as a highly developed water-supply system, may also have been inherited from older civilizations to the east.
The column made its first European appearance in the Cretan palace, where it is often employed individually to divide an entranceway. PhaestusEntrance to the palace of Phaestus, Crete, Greece.Marsyas The development of funerary architecture in Crete proceeds from the old chamber ossuaries of the Early Minoan period (2750–2000 bc) to the developed tholoi, or beehive tombs, of the Mesara plain and the elaborate temple-tombs of Knossos that appeared at the end of the Middle Minoan period.
On the crest of Minoan prosperity came a great crash. An invasion from the mainland about 1400 bc destroyed the palaces and resulted in the removal of power to Mycenaean Greece. Architectural remains in Crete of structures that are pre-Greek in design and yet were built subsequent to this catastrophe are very rare. Several country shrines belong to this post-destruction period, and at Prinias a unique temple building may date from as late as 700 bc.
The doorway of this temple has low reliefs on its architectural members. The opening above the lintel is flanked by seated figures, while the lintel itself is carved on its underside with figures of a goddess and of animals. The column that seems to have stood in the middle of this doorway, as at the Palace of Minos, indicates that the Minoan tradition was not entirely extinct. The sudden architectural awakening of the Mycenaean Greek mainland is intimately connected with the zenith and decline of Minoan Crete and can only be understood against the background of a long Cretan development.
Unlike Minoan Knossos, the archaeological remains on the mainland are fragmentary. Knowledge of at least three sites—Mycenae, Tiryns, and Pylos—suggests a picture of Mycenaean architecture. The important architectural monuments visible today date largely from Late Helladic times (1580 to c. 1100 bc), and little earlier architecture is preserved. Fortification The tremendous building activity of the 14th century bc reflects an age of warfare, when powerful Greek-speaking kings built fortresses in key defensive positions on the mainland.
The cyclopean walls (walls utilizing great blocks of irregular untrimmed stone fitted together without mortar) of Mycenae and Tiryns and the strategically placed Lion Gate at Mycenae were constructed in this period. The latter consists of two colossal doorjambs that support a monolithic lintel. The wall above the gate is constructed to form a relieving triangle over the lintel, and this space is blocked with the famous relief panel of two heraldic lions, which gives the gate its name.
This method of construction provides an ingenious substitute for the arch, which was unknown to the Mycenaeans. cyclopean masonryCyclopean masonry, Mycenae, Greece.Athinaios Also justly famed are the concealed galleries of Tiryns, where the primitive corbel vault (constructed of rows of masonry placed so that each row projects slightly beyond the one below, the two opposite walls meeting at the top) makes its first appearance in mainland Europe.
Gallery and casements in the east bastion of the palace at Tiryns, 14th century bce.Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich Mycenaean palaces have been unearthed at Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Gla, and Phylakopi (Cyclades). The palace at Pylos is a typical mainland palace of the Heroic Age as described in the poetry of Homer. The characteristic plan comprises four elements: (1) a narrow court on which the structure fronts, (2) a double-columned entrance portico, (3) a vestibule (prodomos), and (4) the richly frescoed domos, or hall proper.
The latter had a fixed throne at one end and a central fixed hearth between four wooden columns that supported an open towerlike structure rising above the roof for light and ventilation. Archives, comparable to those of the Hittite kings at Boğazköy, were associated with this palace. Private houses, such as have been discovered at Mycenae, exhibit similar features as well as the basement storage area mentioned by Homer.
The earliest royal burials known from Mycenae are those of the two grave circles, the first discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 and the second by Alan J.B. Wace in 1951. These grave circles have no architectural character, consisting essentially of vertical shafts cut into the bedrock. More important architecturally are the tholoi. The evolution of these family sepulchres began in Minoan Crete but culminated in the so-called Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae, now believed to have been constructed as late as about 1250 bc.
This most impressive monument of the Mycenaean world is a pointed dome built up of overhanging (i.e., corbeled) blocks of conglomerate masonry cut and polished to give the impression of a true vault. The diameter of this tomb is almost 50 feet (15 metres); its height is slightly less. The enormous monolithic lintel of the doorway weighs 120 tons and is 29.5 feet (9 metres) long, 16.5 feet (5 metres) deep, and 3 feet (1 metre) high.
It is surmounted by a relieving triangle similar to that over the Lion Gate and decorated with relief plaques carved in a variety of coloured stones. A small side chamber hewn out of the living rock contained the burials, whereas the main chamber was probably reserved for ritual use. Two engaged half columns (i.e., attached to the wall and projecting from it for about half their diameter) of the Cretan type were secured to the facade; this was approached by a dromos, or ceremonial passageway, riveted with cyclopean blocks of masonry and open to the sky.
Other tholoi, not as well preserved, exist at Mycenae and Orchomenos. Atreus, Treasury ofEntrance to the Treasury of Atreus, Mycenae, Greece.AtelierJoly Herbert Hoffmann The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
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The increased wealth of Greece in the 7th century bc was enhanced by overseas trade and by colonizing activity in Italy and Sicily that had opened new markets and resources. Athens did not send out colonists and did not engage in vigorous trade, and it declined as a cultural and artistic centre. Corinth, Sparta, the islands, the cities of eastern Greece, and Crete came to the fore with their diverse artistic interests and means of expression.
At no other time were there such strongly differentiated regional schools of art in the Greek world. The cities demonstrated their wealth and power, particularly in temple building, which was to foster new architectural forms, and also in the decoration of the temples and of the national sanctuaries. These architectural arts in turn encouraged imaginative and ambitious forms in sculpture and painting.
The early periods Throughout the history of Greek art, the architect’s main role was to design cult buildings, and until the Classical period it was virtually his only concern. The focus of worship in Greek religion was the altar, which for a long time was a simple block and only much later evolved into a monumental form. It stood in the open air, and, if there was a temple, generally the altar was positioned to the east of it.
The temple was basically a house (oikos) for the deity, who was represented there by his cult statue. Temple plans, then, were house plans—one-room buildings with columnar porches. To distinguish the divine house from a mortal one, the early temple was given an elongated plan, with the cult statue placed at the back, viewed distantly beyond a row of central pillar supports. The exterior came to be embellished by a peristyle, an outer colonnade of posts supporting extended eaves.
This colonnade provided a covered ambulatory (roofed walkway), and it was also a device to distinguish the building from purely secular architecture. This plan can be seen in buildings on Samos and at Thermum in central Greece. The construction remained simple: well-laid rubble and mud brick, with timbering and a thatched or flat clay roof. By about 700 bc, fired-clay roof tiles made possible a lower pitched roof, and by the mid-7th century, fired- and painted-clay facings were being made to decorate and protect the vulnerable wooden upperworks of buildings.
As yet, nothing had been constructed in finished stone. From about 650 on, the Greeks began to visit Egypt regularly, and their observation of the monumental stone buildings there was the genesis of the ultimate development of monumental architecture and sculpture in Greece. The first step in architecture was simply the replacement of wooden pillars with stone ones and the translation of the carpentry and brick structural forms into stone equivalents.
This provided an opportunity for the expression of proportion and pattern, an expression that eventually took the form of the invention or evolution of the stone “orders” of architecture. These orders, or arrangements of specific types of columns supporting an upper section called an entablature, defined the pattern of the columnar facades and upperworks that formed the basic decorative shell of the Greek temple building.
The Doric order was invented in the second half of the 7th century, perhaps in Corinth. Its parts—the simple, baseless columns, the spreading capitals, and the triglyph-metope (alternating vertically ridged and plain blocks) frieze above the columns—constitute an aesthetic development in stone that incorporated variants on themes used in earlier wood and brick construction. Doric remained the favourite order of the Greek mainland and western colonies for a long time, and it changed little throughout its history.
Early examples, such as the temple at Thermum, were not wholly of stone and still used much timber and fired clay. The Ionic order evolved later, in eastern Greece. About 600 bc, at Smyrna, the first intimation of the style appeared in stone columns with capitals elaborately carved in floral hoops—a pattern derived from Asian examples and used mainly on smaller objects and furniture but also enlarged for architecture.
This pattern was to be the determining factor in the full development of the Ionic order in the 6th century. About 750 bc there began a period of consolidation of the diverse influences that had been entering Greek art at a rapid rate over the previous 100 years; it is known as the Archaic period. It was an age of preoccupation with domestic troubles brought on by the new prosperity rather than an age of reaching out to other cultures.
It was also the age of tyrants, whose individual rules were often supported by arms and by the allegiance of the merchant classes. The courts of these tyrants became the significant cultural centres, and there was an increase in the demand for art of all kinds; demonstration of the rulers’ wealth and power took the form of temple building more ambitious than in almost any other period of Greek art, while in sculpture there was a growing use of expensive and elaborate statuary for dedication and for marking tombs.
During this period the arts of sculpture, vase painting, and bronze working reached a level of technical mastery and imaginative freedom that brought narrative action and even emotion under the command of figural representation. Simultaneously, out of extensive experimentation with the architectural innovations of the later 7th century, the Classical Doric and Ionic orders were fully established and largely standardized.
In the 6th century the western Greek colonies claimed a position of importance in the history of Greek art. The colonies in southern Italy and Sicily had grown as strong and rich as many cities in the motherland and had made demonstrations of wealth by dedicating treasuries in the national sanctuaries and by building many lavish temples at home. The temples were generally in the Doric style, but they often bore Ionic details.
In their sculpture and architecture the colonies were handicapped by the lack of local sources for fine white marble, and they relied more on painted and stuccoed limestone; the lack of marble, however, stimulated their production of major sculptural works in fired clay to a degree not matched at home. The colonial art centres seem to have been Syracuse, Selinus, and Acragas in Sicily and Poseidonia, or Paestum, Sybaris, and Tarentum in Italy.
Although the Greek colonies seem to have attracted artists from the homeland, all their art tends to a largeness of scale and of detail that often contrasts with popular notions of Greek monumental art. For example, the most striking ancient building on Sicily is the colossal Doric temple of Olympian Zeus at Acragas, begun in about 500 bc and left unfinished a century later. To carry the weight of the massive entablature, the outer columns were not freestanding but were half-columns engaged against (that is, partially attached to) a continuous solid wall.
An earlier Sicilian variant of this use of the plastically molded wall mass with the orders applied decoratively can be seen in the columnar curtain walls of Temple F at Selinus, begun about 560 bc. The engaged columns of Acragas were echoed in the late 5th century by the architect Ictinus in the cella of the Temple of Apollo at Bassae and half a century later by the sculptor Scopas in the Temple of Athena at Tegea.
All these buildings suggest that the 18th-century Enlightenment idea of Greek architecture as a system based solely on post-and-lintel construction, in which the columns carried the load, was erroneous. Ruins of a Doric temple at Selinus, Sicily.Photodisc/Thinkstock Because temples constructed entirely of stone were expensive, they were not replaced without a compelling reason; in many central and southern Greek cities, therefore, the robust Archaic forms of the Doric temples dominated the townscape through the Classical and later periods.
The forms were heavy, with plump columns and capitals and brightly coloured upperworks. Although little change was made in the basic order in the 6th century, there was a gradual refinement of detail and proportion approaching the form of the Classical order. The more exotic Ionic order of eastern Greece was slower to determine its forms; the order developed through the so-called Aeolic capital with vertically springing volutes, or spiral ornaments, to the familiar Ionic capital, the volutes of which spread horizontally from the centre and curl downward.
There were also several distinctive local methods of treating bases or entire plans. The Ionic order was always more ornate and less stereotyped than the Doric, yet it was still limited to monumental plans, and the Ionic temples of the 6th century exceed in size and decoration even the most ambitious of their Classical successors. Such were the temples of Artemis at Ephesus in Asia Minor and the successive temples of Hera on the island of Samos, all of which were more than 300 feet (90 metres) long and set with forests of more than 100 columns standing in double and triple rows around the central rectangular room (cella), where the cult image stood.
At the same time, masons developed and refined the carved cyma (double curve) and ovolo (convex curve) moldings, which are two profiles that have remained part of the grammar of Western architectural ornament to the present day. Temple of Artemis at EphesusTemple of Artemis at Ephesus.© Dorling Kindersley RF/Thinkstock Early Classical (c. 500–450 bc) The only significant architectural work of the early Classical period was at Olympia, where a great Temple of Zeus was built in about 460.
This temple was the first statement of Classical Doric in its canonical form and one of the largest Doric temples of the Greek mainland. Olympia, Greece: Temple of ZeusRuins of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece.© vovez/Fotolia High Classical (c. 450–400 bc) By far the most impressive examples of Greek architecture of the high Classical period were the buildings constructed under Pericles for the Athenian Acropolis.
The Acropolis architecture, which is in several ways a clear display of civic pride, also exhibits considerable subtlety of design in its use of the Doric and Ionic orders. The ensemble of the major buildings—the Parthenon, a temple to Athena; the Erechtheum, a temple housing several cults; and the monumental gateway to the Acropolis, the Propylaea—shows the orders used in deliberate contrast: the Erechtheum provides a decorative Ionic counterpart to the severe Doric of the Parthenon, which itself has an Ionic frieze; and in the Propylaea, columns of both orders complement each other.
Acropolis: PropylaeaThe Propylaea, the entrance gate at the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, Athens.© Ron Gatepain The Parthenon, designed by the architect Ictinus, is a broader, more stately building than most Doric temples, with an eight-column facade instead of the usual six. With the four-square Doric style there had always been the possibility of giving an impression of dull immobility, a danger that was partially avoided in the Archaic period through the use of bulging columns and capitals.
In the Classical period—and best observed in the Parthenon—a subtle deviation from strict linearity accomplishes the same correction. The Parthenon was the display place for a great statue of Athena by the sculptor Phidias, a statue that honoured the city goddess. Such obvious implications of civic pride are enhanced by the unparalleled portrayal of a contemporary event on the frieze of the building: the procession of citizens in the yearly festival in honour of Athena.
Athens: ParthenonThe Parthenon with restoration scaffolding, on the Acropolis, Athens.© Ron Gatepain The Erechtheum was a more complicated building than the Parthenon; built on an awkward site, it also had to serve different cults, which meant that its architect had to design a building with three porches and three different floor levels. Its caryatid porch, with figures of women for columns, makes use of an old Asian motif that had appeared earlier, in Archaic treasuries at Delphi.
The Propylaea was designed by Mnesicles, who had to adapt the rigid conventions of colonnade construction to a steeply rising site. In the precision and finish of their execution, which complements the brilliant innovation of their design, these three buildings had no rival in the Greek world. By this time, use of the orders was no longer confined to temple buildings. The marketplace at Athens was adorned with various public buildings in which the orders were applied to structures of different plans: the colonnade stoa, or portico, a council house, and even a circular clubhouse for state officials.
The stage buildings of theatres began to receive monumental treatment as well, although the action still took place on the flat circular orchestra and the seats were for the most part still wooden (or were missing—the audience sitting upon the bare hillside that was usually chosen for theatre sites) rather than stone. Several new Doric temples were also built in the lower city of Athens and in the Attic countryside.
The Ionic order was used only for the smaller temples, as for the Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis; but even though the Ionic was never to be used as the exterior order for major buildings on the Greek mainland, Athens did contribute new forms of column base to the order. Acropolis: Temple of Athena NikeTemple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis, Athens.© Ron Gatepain At Bassae in remote Arcadia in the mountains of the Peloponnese, a Doric temple was built for Apollo incorporating unusual variants on the Ionic column in the interior and a new type of capital, which had two rows of acanthus leaves curling below the volutes—the first recorded Corinthian capital.
This type was reputedly invented by the sculptor-architect Callimachus to provide an alternative for the Ionic order that could be viewed from any side and so placed at corners or in interiors. It was difficult to carve, however, and was slow to win favour in Greece. With growth now concentrated in outlying areas, there was understandably less temple building in mainland Greece in this period than there had been in the 5th century, but the Doric temples at Tegea and Nemea in the Peloponnese were important, the former for admitting Corinthian capitals to columns engaged on its interior walls.
In eastern Greece, on the other hand, there began a series of new temple constructions rivaling those of the Archaic period that consciously copied the Archaic in their plan and elaboration of detail. Some are simply replacements, such as that at Ephesus replacing an earlier temple destroyed by fire, or the rather later one at Didyma. Similarly, the town of Priene in Ionia, although built on a new foundation after the mid-4th century, was laid out as a grid of streets on a principle developed by the 5th-century architect Hippodamus, who had applied the same scheme to his home city, Miletus, and to the port of Athens, Piraeus.
The new Athena Temple at Priene is the best example of classic Ionic known, with no eccentricity of plan or detail. The eastern Greeks had long worked for their neighbours in the Persian towns of Lycia and Caria, supplying monumental tombs of native pattern decorated with sculpture in Greek style. At Xanthus, the capital of Lycia, a tomb resembling a Greek temple raised high on a platform had been built by the end of the 5th century; similar structures were made there in the 4th century, culminating in the great tomb built in midcentury at Halicarnassus for King Mausolus of Caria, a king who has given his name to all such monumental mausoleums.
The fine architectural detail and the sculpture executed by Greek artists of the first rank show a total Hellenization of local taste and exemplify the high quality that Greek art in foreign lands had attained at this time. The 4th century saw much greater diversity of architectural forms than ever before. Theatres received marble seats and elaborate stage buildings. Circular temples (tholoi) appeared in mainland Greek sanctuaries that were Doric in style but with the new Corinthian columns within.
A small-scale tholos with Corinthian columns was also used for the choragic monument of Lysicrates in Athens. The two-storied stoa became an essential element in the planning of marketplaces or administrative areas. Architects were at pains to adapt the rigid orders to architectural forms and needs more complicated than those of the basic Greek temple plan. Monument of LysicratesMonument of Lysicrates, Athens.
Greenshed The successors to Alexander’s empire split the new Greek world, which now ran to the borders of India in the east and the Sudan in the south, into separate kingdoms. The generals who ruled them established dynastic control and created a court life that provided a type of stimulus to the arts that had not been experienced in Greece since the Bronze Age. The Attalids, who had become the rulers of Pergamum in northwest Asia Minor, constructed there a new capital city in which influential schools of sculpture and architecture flourished.
The Seleucids ruled the Eastern world as far as Persia, and under them the art of architecture in particular evolved in forms that would have an effect on Roman architecture. In Egypt the Ptolemies, at the new capital city that bore Alexander’s name and was founded by him, built the famous lighthouse and library, and another important sculptural school developed there. In the Aegean world, Rhodes proved an important centre and so, of course, did the Macedonian homeland in the north.
By comparison, the great cities of central Greece declined in importance, with the exception of Athens, which had a hold on the imagination of Greeks everywhere for its former role against the Persians and the achievements of the Classical period; as a result it benefited from the gifts of the new kingdoms, especially in building. Alexander’s aspirations and close knowledge of Eastern and Egyptian ways led the new rulers to take more seriously their roles of near divinity.
This gave considerable impetus to the art of portraiture, since these rulers thus deserved commemoration as much as any god; in fact, even private citizens aspired now to some heroic status after death, so that portrait monuments for tombs and honorific statues became more common. Except for this growth of portraiture, however, the mood in the arts during the Hellenistic period was to intensify and elaborate styles developed by Classical Greece.
Palatial architecture aimed at effects never contemplated hitherto; even domestic architecture for the first time had palatial pretensions. Trade and the newly acquired resources of the East opened up new possibilities for the artist, in both materials and inspiration; the results, however, generally tended to elaboration and grandeur such that the finer qualities of balance and precision characteristic of earlier periods are often difficult to discern in later works.
The Classical form of the Doric temple was out of favour in the new age, and the few that were built are elaborate in plan and detail, impairing the sober quality of the order. This age appreciated the Ionic and the more flamboyant Corinthian forms, and at any rate most new temple building was done in the new eastern areas of the Greek world, where Ionic had been the usual idiom. The 3rd-century architect Hermogenes of Priene codified the Ionic order in his books, and his buildings popularized new features in plan, notably the broad flanking colonnades (“pseudo-dipteral”), where the earlier Ionic temples of eastern Greece had set ranks of columns.
For the first time the Corinthian order was used for temple exteriors, and work was resumed on the great Temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens, financed by an Eastern king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The two-storied stoa became an architectural form of importance, serving as hotel, emporium, or office block, and the design of central market and administrative areas depended largely on the disposition of such buildings.
An Attalid king paid for a fine stoa for Athens’s marketplace, recently restored; and his city of Pergamum seems to have been important in developing stoa design. remains of the Temple of Olympian ZeusRemains of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece.Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages Monumental tombs were naturally still required for ruling families, but nobles and the nouveaux riches could also aspire to them now, designing some as minor sanctuaries for the heroized dead.
The finest Macedonian tombs of the period displayed a painted architectural facade below ground, leading to a painted and elaborately furnished vaulted underground chamber. The variety of administrative and court requirements for buildings led to original designs that broke still more decisively with the colonnade orders of Classical temples. A few important examples of particularly original designs are the famous lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria with its tiers of masonry 440 feet (135 metres) high; the library of Alexandria; the clock house Tower of the Winds at Athens; monumental fountains and assembly halls; and a new elaboration of stage architecture for theatres, in which for the first time the acting took place on a raised stage.
(In the 1990s, as the city of Alexandria prepared for major construction projects, layers of the ancient city were uncovered, including what are thought to be remnants of the Pharos of Alexandria.) To the established decorative repertory of moldings and carved ornament was added a variety of floral and animal forms that enriched the surface decoration of buildings. In the East especially, these forms were combined in original ways that, together with compositions that defied the logic of the Classical orders, tended to a style that in many respects anticipates the Baroque.
Slowly, too, the advantages of arch and vault, avoided hitherto by Greek architects, were exploited; architecture was still basically that of mass on mass, however, and it was left to Rome to make significant progress in construction methods. John Boardman David John Watkin
Title: Western Art And Architecture