The history of Greece begines with the disfasciment of
the Cretan and Miceneic civilizations and with the Doric invasion, coming
from the North through the Balkans around 1200 B.C and bearing the iron
The Doric world, based on a hard, military,
disciplinated civilization, pushed the Greeks towards the shores of
Anatalia, where their coastal settlements gave life to the cities of
Epheso and Mileto.
Through the amalgam between these two quite different
worlds was very slow at the end prevailed the common conciense of beloning
to the same civilization, for the language, the culture, the religion,
customs and life values: the Greek civilization.
During this period of transition, the art was extremely
poor; the only expression of relief was the ceramics, widely employed for
Only in the IX century B.C, the pre-eminent geometric
style was diffused and starting from the VII century B.C, mainly in Athens
and Corinth, such art deeply felt the oriental, Syrian influence, due to
the intense trades between Greece, the Aegean islands, Rhodes, Cyprus and
The main characteristics of this oriental fantasy are
the employment of precious materials, colour techniques and motives of
animals and interlaced monsters.
Between 650 B.C and 480 B.C, known as the “archaic
period“, the Greek temple was born, built on a rectangular platform (stylobate),
with columns erected on the four sights, creating a porch all around the
In this architecture, without arches or vaults, the
carrying structure maid of columns, that support the architrave and which
lays on a slope-roof, like in the remote Mycenae megaton.
This new monument, with imposing size and proportions,
was meant to be a place dedicated to the divinities, honoured by the
people with gifts and sacrifices, rather than a site for praying.
This kind of structure follows two different styles,
known as” Doric“and” ionic“.
The farmer prevails in continental Greece, in Magna
Grecian, in Sicily: later on in the east of the Aegean and in the Ionian
The distinctive elements are the columns with it's
capital and the architrave.The Doric columns have no base, they rest
directly on the stylobate; they have a capital made of a circle echino
tapped by a square ebaco(in which lays the architrave).
The shaft (tall part of the column) is plain and has 20
sides, and it is more narrow than it’s base.
Ionic shafts are taller than Doric anes and rest on a
base, this makes them look slender then the Doric power full-looking ones.
They have curvet lines into them from top to bottom (usually
called flutes) and like entasies, which in a little bulge in the columns
in order to make them look straight. The capital commits of above due the
The second element is the architrave in Doric style; it
has a flat lower part and alternating metapes and triglyphs on top.
The metape is a plane section between triglyphs which
are a pattern of three vertically carved lines.
The Ionic architrave consists of a continuous
Also sculpture undergoes a full development during the”
archaic period”, with the creation of the Kouros,naked of a young man, and
the Kore,statue of a young woman wearing a falling dress with fold. The
best known Kouros are in the museums of Athens and Delfi, in the
archeological museum of Florence, and the Apollo of Tenea in the
Glittoteca of Monaco; while the most famous Kore is the Era of Samo,in the
museum of Louvre.
Examples of Doric temples, that enjoyed a wider spread
than ionic ones, include the Temple of Zeus in Olympia (today completely
destroyed), the Temple of Poseidon at Paestum, the Temples of Selinunte (destroyed)
and of Agrigento.
The V century is also known as the” century of Pericles“,since
under Prickles, Athens regained it's pride with the victories over the
Persians; the Acropolis devastated by the Persian pilages,and Parthenon
were rebuilt employing white marble and new monuments were inserted in the
urbanity plan of the city.
During the IV century, the most important architectonic
realizations were the theaters, consisting of steep rise of semicircular
rows of steps. The best known examples are: the Theater of Dionis in
Athens (below the Acropolis) and in west the Theater of Syracuse.
During the same period, a new architectonic order was
born deriving from the Ionic one; The Corinthian order. The Ionic capital
is replaced by a high capital decorated with haves of Acanthus below a
After the Peloponnesian War that ended in the total
defeat of Athens by the Spartans, and also the catastrophic expedition to
Syracuse a long period of decadens and anarchy began.
It ended only when Philiph of Macedon forein sovereign,imposed
his power to continental Greece,alltrought exalting the values of Greek
Greek art keeps flourishing also under Alexander the
Great; the most permanent sculptures of this period are: The Appoxyiomenos
by Lisippo (Rome, Vatican museums), la Nike (Vittoria) of Samtracia
(Paris, museum of Louvre)...etc
The last moment of Greek art is the Hellenistic period
that begins in 323B.C, after the premature death of Alexander the Great
and defacement of the immense Macedonian empire and end with the beginning
of the Christian Age.
From an artistic point of view,allthrought the Romans
politically conquered Greece, Greek art and culture was exalted even more
by conquerors and many Greek artists and masters settled in Rome;Orazio
had written:“...the defeated Greece made prisoner the rude winner...“