Compare and contrast The Parthenon (447-438 BCE) and The Colosseum (72-80 CE) – Essay Sample

The end of Before the Common Era and the beginning of Common Era was the period of incredible development of political institutions, architecture, literature and art. Exactly at that time the humanity received the architecture masterpieces, the symbols of Roman and Greek Art – the Parthenon and the Colosseum.

Built in the 5th century BCE in the Athenian Acropolis, the Parthenon “is probably the most celebrated of all Greek temples” (Barletta, 2003, p. 67). As Barletta (2003) determined, the Parthenon was build about in 447/6-438/7 BCE, architecturally as a Doric peripteral temple of the Greek goddess Athena and used, like most Greek temples, as a treasury.

The Parthenon was built on three marble stages and combined in its architecture three types of the columns that were used those times while building templates/public places: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Totally, the Parthenon had 46 exterior columns and 19 interior columns (Barletta, 2003, p. 67).

The base of the roof was made of wood covered with marble (Barletta, 2003, p. 67). The whole architecture was made of white marble which, on the impact of the sun, on the south of the Parthenon became goldish, on the north – grey.

The decorative sculpture of the Parthenon was “provided with more sculptures than any template before or after” (Barletta, 2003, p. 67). The Parthenon considered being the highest point of Greek art and consisted of different parts: metopes, frieze, pedimeter and the whole world known statue of Athena, which was made of ivory and gold with Nike and shield in her arms.

Each of ninety-two metopes, were thematically combined, had their own meaning of each part of the construction, and was occupied by a panel of relief sculpture, Barletta (2003) determined. Around the exterior walls of the cella of the Parthenon there was a freize. Unlike the metopes, the frieze had a single subject on all four sides of the Parthenon. There were located the figures of Greece gods, Olympians, eminent persons of those times, over the western and eastern entries of the Parthenon, in the tympanum of the pediments (Barletta, 2003, p. 67).

In contrast to the Parthenon, the Colosseum, which is considered to be one of the greatest works of Roman architecture, constructed in 72-80 CE as Hopkins (2003) determined, was an elliptical amphitheatre with the arena in the center.

Unlike the Parthenon, which, as previously mentioned, was used as a treasury, the Colosseum, the “troubling monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty” (Hopkins, 2003), in the medieval era, was used for entertainment: gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, animal hunts. As Hopkins (2003) determined, this architectural masterpiece, was constructed by emperors of the Flavian dynasty for entertainment and pleasure.

Like, while building the Parthenons, the Colosseum used the same types of the columns – Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, and, each of the arches in the second- and third-floor were framed with the statues (Hopkins, 2003).

In contrast to the Parthenons where there were only several entrances, at the ground level of the Colosseums’ amphitheatre there were eighty numbered entrances, marked by porticoes. Seventy six was used by the ordinary audience, three were used by the elite, and one was used by the Roman Emperor and his aides for whom, at the south and north ends of the Colosseum, were built special podiums (Hopkins, 2003).


This entry was posted in Architecture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.