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ARCHITECTU´RA (ἀρχιτεκτονία, ἀρχιτεκτονική), in its widest sense, signifies all that we understand by architecture, and by civil and military engineering: in its more restricted meaning, it is the science of building according to the laws of proportion and the principles of beauty. In the former sense, it has its foundation in necessity: in the latter, upon art taking occasion from necessity. The hut of a savage is not, properly speaking, a work of architecture; neither, on the other hand, is a building in which different and incongruous styles are exhibited side by side. An architectural construction, in the artistic sense, must possess not only utility, but beauty, and also unity: it must be suggestive of some idea, and referable to some model.

The architecture of every people is not only a most interesting branch of its antiquities, but also a most important feature in its history, as it forms one of the most durable and most intelligible evidences of advancement in civilization. If the Greek and Roman literature and history had been a blank, what ideas of their knowledge, and power, and social condition would their monuments have still suggested to us! What a store of such ideas is even now being developed from the monuments of Asia, Egypt, and America!

The object of the present article is to give a very compendious account of the history and principles of the art, as practised by the Greeks and Romans. The details of the subject will be, for the most part, referred to their separate and proper heads. The lives of the architects will be found in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

It is well observed by Stieglitz that architecture has its origin in nature and religion. The necessity for a habitation, and the attempt to adorn those habitations which were intended for the gods, are the two causes from which the art derives its existence. In early times we have no. reason to suppose that much attention was paid to domestic architecture, but we have much evidence to the contrary. The resources of the art were lavished upon the temples of the gods; and hence the greater part of the history of Grecian architecture is inseparably connected with that of the temple, and has its proper place under TEMPLUM and the subordinate headings, such as COLUMNA under which heads also the different orders are described.

But, though the first rise of architecture, as a fine art, is connected with the temple, yet, viewed as the science of construction, it must have been employed, even earlier, for other purposes, such as the erection of fortifications, palaces, treasuries, and other works of utility. Accordingly, it is the general opinion of antiquaries, that the very earliest edifices, of which we have any remains, are the so-called Cyclopean works, in which we [p. 1.164]see huge unsquared blocks of stone built together in the best way that their shapes would allow; although it can be proved, in some instances, that the rudeness of this sort of work is no sufficient proof of its very early date, for that it was adopted, not from want of skill, but on account of the object of the work and the nature of the materials employed. (Bunbury, On Cyclopean Remains in Central Italy, in the Classical Museum, vol. ii.) [MURUS] The account of the early palaces cannot well be separated from that of domestic architecture in general, and is therefore given under DOMUS; that of erections intended, or supposed to be intended, for treasuries, will be found under THESAURUS

In addition to these, however, there are other purposes for which architecture, still using the term in its lower sense, would be required in a very early stage of political society; such as the general arrangement of cities, the provision of a place for the transaction of public business, with the necessary edifices appertaining to it [AGORA, FORUM], and the whole class of works which we embrace under the head of civil engineering, such as those for drainage [CLOACA, EMISSARIUS], for communication [VIA, PONS], and for the supply of water [AQUAEDUCTUS]. The nature of these several works among the Greeks and Romans, and the periods of their development, are described under the several articles. Almost equally necessary are places devoted to public exercise, health, and amusement [GYMNASIUM, STADIUM, HIPPODROMUS, CIRCUS, BALNEUM, THEATRUM, AMPHITHEATRUM]. Lastly, the skill of the architect has been from the earliest times employed to preserve the memory of departed men and past events; and hence we have the various works of monumental and triumphal architecture, which are described under the heads FUNUS, ARCUS, COLUMNA.

The materials employed by the architect were marble or stone, wood, and various kinds of earth, possessing the property of being plastic while moist and hardening in drying, with cement and metal clamps for fastenings: the various metals were also extensively used in the way of ornament. The details of this branch of the subject are given in the descriptions of the several kinds of building.

The principles of architectural science are utility, proportion, and the imitation of nature. The first requisite is that every detail of a building should be subordinate to its general purpose. Next, the form of the whole and of its parts must be derived from simple geometrical figures; namely, the straight line, the plane surface, and regular or symmetrical rectilinear figures, as the equilateral or isosceles triangle, the square or rectangle, and the regular polygons ; symmetrical curves, as the circle and ellipse; and the solids arising out of these various figures, such as the cube, the pyramid, the cylinder, the cone, the hemisphere, &c. Lastly, the ornaments, by which these forms are relieved and beautified, must all be founded either on geometrical forms or on the imitation of nature.

To this outline of the purposes and principles of the art, it only remains to subjoin a brief sketch of its history, which Hirt and Müller divide into five periods: the first, which is chiefly mythical, comes down to the time of Cypselus, 01. 30, B.C. 660 (Müller brings this period down to the 50th Olympiad, B.C. 580): the second period comes down to the termination of the Persian war, Ol. 75. 2, B.C. 478 (Müller brings it down to Ol. 80, B.C. 460): the third is the brilliant period from the end of the Persian war to the death of Alexander the Great, Ol. 114, B.C. 323 (Müller closes this period with the death of Philip, Ol. 111, B.C. 336): the fourth period is brought down by Hirt to the battle of Actium, B.C. 31, but by Müller only to the Roman conquest of Greece, B.C. 146 ; the latter division has the convenience of marking the transition from Greek to Roman architecture: Hirt's fifth period is that of the Roman empire, down to the dedication of Constantinople, A.D. 330; while Müller's fifth period embraces the whole history of Roman architecture, from the time when it began to imitate the Greek, down to the Middle Ages, when it became mingled with the Gothic: Hirt's division requires us to draw a more definite line of demarcation than is possible, between the Roman and Byzantine styles, and also places that line too early.

The characteristics of these several periods are developed under the articles which describe the several classes of buildings: they are therefore noticed in this place with the utmost possible brevity. Our information respecting the first period is derived from the Homeric poems, the traditions preserved by other writers, and the most ancient monuments of Greece, Central Italy, and the coast of Asia Minor. Strongly fortified cities, palaces, and treasuries are the chief works of the earlier part of this period; and to it may be referred most of the so-called Cyclopean remains; while the era of the Dorian invasion marks, in all probability, the commencement of the Dorian style of temple architecture. The principal names of artists belonging to this period are Daedalus, Euryalus, Hyperbius, Docius, and some others. In the second period the art made rapid advances under the powerful patronage of the aristocracies in some cities, as at Sparta, and of the tyrants in others, as Cypselus at Corinth, Theagenes at Megara, Cleisthenes at Sicyon, the Peisistratids at Athens, and Polycrates at Samos. Architecture now assumed decidedly the character of a fine art, and became associated with the sister arts of sculpture and painting, which are essential to its development. The temples of partiticular deities were enriched and adorned by presents, such as those which Croesus sent to the Pythian Apollo. Magnificent temples sprung up in all the principal Greek cities; and while the Doric order was brought almost, if not quite, to perfection, in Greece Proper, in the Doric colonies of Asia Minor, and in Central Italy and Sicily, the Ionic order appeared, already perfect at its first invention, in the great temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The ruins still existing at Paestum, Syracuse, Agrigentum, Selinus, Aegina, and other places, are imperishable monuments of this period. Nor were works of utility neglected, as we see in the fountain of the Peisistratids at Athens, the aqueduct at Samos [AQUAEDUCTUS], the sewers (ὑπόνομοι) and baths (κολυμβήθρα) at Agrigentum. To this period also belong the great works of the Roman kings. The commencement of the third and most brilliant period of the art was signalized by the rebuilding of Athens, the establishment of regular principles [p. 1.165]for the laying out of cities by Hippodamus of Miletus, and the great works of the age of Pericles, by the contemporaries of Pheidias, at Athens, Eleusis, and Olympia; during its course every city of Greece and her colonies was adorned with splendid edifices of every description; and its termination is marked by the magnificent works of Deinocrates and his contemporaries at Alexandria, Antioch, and other cities. The first part of the fourth period saw the extension of the Greek architecture over the countries conquered by Alexander, and, in the West, the commencement of the new style, which arose from the imitation, with some alterations, of the Greek forms by Roman architects, to which the conquest of Greece gave, of course, a new impulse. By the time of Augustus, Rome was adorned with every kind of public and private edifice, surrounded by villas, and furnished with roads and aqueducts; and these various erections were adorned by the forms of Grecian art; but already Vitruvius begins to complain that the purity of that art is corrupted by the intermixture of heterogeneous forms. This process of deterioration went on rapidly during the fifth period, though combined at first with increasing magnificence in the scale and number of the buildings erected. The early part of this period is made illustrious by the numerous works of Augustus, and his successors, especially the Flavii. Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines, at Rome and in the provinces; but from the time of the Antonines the decline of the art was rapid and decided. In one department, a new impulse was given to architecture by the rise of Christian churches, which were generally built on the model of the Roman Basilica. One of the most splendid specimens of Christian architecture is the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, built in the reign of Justinian, A.D. 537, and restored, after its partial destruction by an earthquake, in 554. But, long before this time, the Greco-Roman style had become thoroughly corrupted, and that new style, which is called the Byzantine, had arisen out of the mixture of Roman architecture with ideas derived from the Northern nations. It is beyond our limits to pursue the history of this and later styles of the art.

Of the ancient writers from whom our knowledge of the subject is derived, the most important is, of course, Vitruvius. The following are the principal modern works on the general subject:--Winckelmann, Anmerkungen über die Baukunst der Alten, 1762; Stieglitz, Archäologie der Baukunst, 1801, and Geschichte der Baukunst, 1827 ; Hirt, Baukunst nach den Grundsätzen der Alten, 1809, and Geschichte der Baukunst bei den Alten, 1821; Müller, Handbuch der Archäologie der Kunst, 1825; the various works of travels, topography, and antiquities, such as those of Stuart, Chandler, Clarke, Dodwell, &c., all the most important of which will be found cited by the authorities referred to; and, for Central Italy, Müller's Etrusker, and Abeken's Mittelitalien vor der ömischen Herrschaft.


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