Make up the sentences of your own with the given words and phrases
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"Classical" essentially means "perfect" or "complete." People use the word in various contexts: people talk of classical music, of the classical periods of great civilizations, of classical verse, of classical formulations, even of classical profiles. In conjunction with the word "antiquity" people mean the flowering of Greek art and every aspect of intellectual life in ancient Greece.
Classical antiquity did not begin immediately after the Doric migration around 900 bc. Time had to elapse before the newcomers became truly integrated with the indigenous populations. The Greek (as it was to become) mainland and the islands were only sparsely populated when the Dorians arrived. The native population was in all probability neither pushed out nor destroyed, but became subject to the new rulers. From modest beginnings there gradually evolved a rigorous style in statuary, represented by numerous stone figures — naked youths, probably either images of gods or funerary statues. Their faces are irradiated by a faint smile: they convey profound inner serenity. Temples also appeared, the ruins of which give people a glimpse of ancient splendour and still inspire a sense of wonder in people today, even though none have been spared the ravages of time, the corrosive effects of salt in sea air, earthquakes or war.
The basic model of the Greek temple was the cella, a four-sided area enclosed by walls and covered with a gently pitched roof. From the cella with pronaos (portico in front of the main temple area, the naos) there developed the pronaos in antis. The antae were the side edges of the pronaos, later becoming the end elements of a colonnade — usually pilasters at the end of the extended side walls of the naos. In larger temples, columns were placed between the antae to help support the pediment. Finally, a shady colonnade ran all round the temple. Though built entirely in stone, the constructional principle of this design derived from building in wood.
The Doric order in temple architecture is most effective on large, soaring structures. The columns are massive, as is revealed by the relation of diameter to height (1:4). The forms are simple. The column is stumpy, without a base. It narrows towards the top and has wide, sharp-ridged fluting, indicative of considerable technical skill, as it is more difficult to carve this type of fluting in stone than that separated by flat fillets as in the Ionic order. These columns are slightly bellied and thus do not appear too dumpy, despite their thickness. The capital is free of all sculptural decoration and consists of a kind of sloped cushion (echinus) beneath a slab-like abacus. Its very simplicity of form has a sober grace and dignity. When one considers, however, that these capitals — together with the statues that embellished the temples — were brightly painted in white, blue, red and gold, words such as "sober" and "dumpy" are no longer applicable. A Doric building, freshly painted, must surely have been a joyous as well as serene sight.
On the Ionian islands and in the settlements founded by the Ionians along the coast of Asia Minor there emerged in the sixth century bc new forms of temple architecture. The type of column used in this new style was known as "Ionic" even at the time of its spreading popularity. It did not replace the Doric order: in essence it was simply a new decorative form. However, although the basic structural forms did not change, new proportions appeared, dictated by the new order.
The Ionic style is richer and more refined than the simple Doric. The cornices and waterspouts are decorated with motifs whose origins go back to the very beginnings of Greek civilization, and which had become ever more sophisticated over the years. The entablature above the columns no longer included metopes (square spaces along the frieze), but featured an uninterrupted carved frieze instead. The slender columns seem all the slimmer due to delicate fluting. They stand on a base the outer profile of which forms an S. The chief distinguishing characteristic of the style is the capital: beneath a thin abacus it flows sideways in broad scroll-like curls. This motif in fact appears sporadically in earlier ornamentation and probably comes from the East. It looks slightly like a blanket, rolled up at both ends, taking the weight off the shoulder of some human bearer. The optical effect of the capital enhances this impression — the heavy stone entablature somehow appears quite light. As has already been said, the Ionic order did not replace the Doric, the two existed side by side. In fact, in many temples the external columns around the cella (pteron) are Doric, while those inside are Ionic.
Around 400 bc, in central Greece and on the Corinthian isthmus, there emerged a third order, known as Corinthian after its native city. Credit for this new design is given to the Attic sculptor Callimachos. The extraordinarily detailed and complex decoration testifies to the wealth of the age, to the contemporary love of ostentation without heed to cost, and, last but not least, to the great skill of the stonemasons of the time. The characteristic feature of the Corinthian capital is the acanthus leaf, which was to become one of the most frequently used of all architectural decorative motifs — sometimes, indeed, even running rather wild. The acanthus is a thistle-like perennial, the long leaves of which lend themselves perfectly to stylization, fanning out flat or crisply curled up, according to aesthetic or functional requirements.
The Corinthian entablature and pediment are similar to the Ionic; at times, however, they are a little over-ornate for our tastes, especially in Roman examples. At the same time, the austere ornamentation of previous ages no longer reflected the concerns of those in power — ambition, authority and riches. Mass and, perhaps even more importantly, elaborate refinement were better vehicles of self-expression for the new rulers. Roman architects rethought the Corinthian capital on certain buildings, producing what is known as the Composite style: above the acanthus leaves (usually two tiers) are placed scroll-like motifs reminiscent of Ionic capitals.
From the very beginning the Corinthian style was indicative of a new age, already distinct from early Hellenic antiquity. The new Hellenistic period was typified by often florid art, which was nevertheless rooted in the ancient traditions. Properly "antique" elements were developed and modified. The severe earlier styles had, so to speak, to accept embellishments as though they were being dressed up for a party. The basically simple architectonic lines became festooned with rich, somewhat precious ornamentation — to the detriment of the earlier nobility and austere splendour, it must be said.
Yet different ages see things differently. In fact what people now think of as pure classicism was often considered too simple, even too much like poor man's architecture. Buildings people consider to be "overdone" and affected today were once thought grand and in the only style fitting to complete expression of a certain Zeitgeist.
Thus the concept of "classicism," which is so central in the history of architectural styles, should be understood as an artistic current springing initially from the Ancients, tending to transform other basic styles — sometimes giving them greater refinement, sometimes merely prettifying them and watering them down. Classicism flourished, of course, in the Renaissance, and again during the period that saw a reaction against the capricious asymmetry of Rococo, with its love of illusion and broken architectonic order.
Romans enriched the repertoire of architectural elements inherited from the Greeks with two crucially important features: the rotunda and the dome.
The Greeks had not succeeded in creating anything especially remarkable with these forms. They used arches and domes not at all, and circular temples were few and far between, perhaps because it was recognized that the principles of Greek architecture were not very well suited to round constructions. It is worth noting two examples, though: the circular Doric temple with domed roof near the seat of the oracle at Delphi, and the Ionic Philippeion in the sacred grove at Olympia, built by Alexander the Great in honour of his father Philip of Macedon.
Only in the building of theaters did the Greeks regularly diverge from their "classic" rectangular shapes to produce a truly successful architectural form. Rows of seats arranged in a horseshoe shape climbed up steeply around the circular or semicircular orchestra, giving every spectator a good view of the orchestra itself and the scene building with its proscenium for actors and chorus. The Romans continued the tradition of semicircular theaters, later going on to fully circular forms. Both these types of theater have provided models for future ages, down to our own day, and even their names have survived (amphitheater, arena, stadium, circus).
The Acropolis of Athens
According to legend, the first king on the hill of Athens was Cecrops, son of Earth. The Greek myths describe him as having the body of a snake. His daughters, Aglauros, Herse and Pandrosos, received from Athena, Zeus' daughter and protectress of the city, a box which they were to keep closed for ever. Curiosity overcame them, however. From the opened box issued Erechtheus, a chthonic creature similar to Cecrops, whom he succeeded on the throne. Cecrops' daughters were punished with madness for their curiosity, and hurled themselves off the top of the hill. The word "Acropolis" means high city. Situated on a plateau of grey-blue limestone about 500 feet (156 m.) above sea level, it was probably a fortified citadel and State sanctuary before 1000 bc.
Some of the foundations of the original buildings remain (the citadel was destroyed by the Persians in 480 bc). The reconstruction was completed under Pericles, the founder of the Attic Naval Alliance. The Parthenon (literally "Home of the Virgin"), the shrine of Athena Parthenos, was built in only fifteen years by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates. A Doric temple with pteron and prostyle porch, built throughout in Pentelic marble, it received its finishing touches in 432 BC. Tradition attributes the ornamentation of carved Attic marble to Phidias, a friend of Pericles. The eastern and western pediments depicted respectively Athena's birth from the head of Zeus and her struggle against Poseidon for Attica. The metopes are carved in relief with battles with giants (east), battles with Amazons (west), the destruction of Ilium (north), and Attic myths (south). The frieze around the cella shows the Panathenaic procession which took place in Athens every four years: men and women bearing sacrificial offerings, and in particular with the peplos for Athena, before the gods (east), then animals intended for sacrifice, and athletes in chariots and on horseback.
The Acropolis had only one entrance, to the east, where Mnesicles built the Propylaea, with two six-column Doric colonnades, between 437 and 433 bc. On the pyrgos below the Propylaea, Callicrates rebuilt the little temple of Athena Nike (the third on the site) in 420. The form of this temple is amphiprostyle, with two four-column Ionic porticoes.
To the north of the Parthenon stands the Erechtheion, built in about 420 bc in honour of Athena and Erechtheus. The design is untypical of Greek temples, and only on the east, in front of the cella to Athena, is there a typically Ionic six-column pronaos. To the north, a three-column Ionic porch leads to the shrine of Poseidon. The south-west corner is graced with a kind of loggia, accessible only from inside, the roof of which is supported not by columns but by six caryatids (or korai — statues of girls) looking out southwards.
The Acropolis has had an uneven history. The Romans left the shrines unharmed, and posterity has them to thank for copies of certain sculptures that have otherwise not survived. In the fourth century ad, the Christians "exorcised" Athena. The Parthenon was dedicated to Mary, and numerous reliefs showing pagan scenes were destroyed. The gold and ivory statue of the goddess was carried off to Byzantium.
When the Turks took Athens in the fifteenth century, the Parthenon was converted into a mosque and the Erechtheion into a harem. Later they turned the Parthenon itself and the Propylaea into gunpowder stores. The Propylaea was struck by lightning, setting off an explosion.
In 1687 the Venetians bombarded the temple, causing the roof and almost all the columns along both lengths of the building to collapse. The Venetians wanted to carry off the sculptures that still remained in good condition as booty, but most were broken during transport.
After the return of the Turks, Lord Thomas Elgin in 1800 obtained permission to remove to London all the freestanding sculptures and reliefs that survived. Today they are displayed in the British Museum as the Elgin Marbles.
The Turks used the stones of the temple of Athena Nike to construct fortifications. In 1835, the German archaeologist Ross endeavoured as far as possible to reconstruct the temple. Subsequently the insensitivity and rapacity of the Athenians reduced the Acropolis to a wilderness of ruins, exposed to all the ravages of the weather. Today not even the tiniest fragment of stone is allowed to be taken away, and archaeologists from all over the world are busy, together with the Athenians, restoring the damage and looking for missing fragments in a bid to save whatever still remains to be saved. The caryatids have been replaced by copies, and the originals — which had begun to suffer corrosion from traffic and industrial pollution — are now safe in the museum of the Acropolis.