Ancient Roman and Greek Architecture: Comparison

Ancient Roman and Greek architecture has influenced the development of the construction art for many centuries and is still visible in some iconic constructions and regular buildings. Ancient architects have managed to create impressive buildings with limited resources and knowledge; yet, their creations still amaze and inspire people from all over the world (Matz, 2012). However, for a regular person not informed about the ancient architecture, it would be practically impossible to differentiate between the Greek and Roman architecture. In this short compare and contrast essay, I attempt to explore the differences and similarities between these two cultures and determine some characteristic features that define these architectural periods.

There are many types of buildings created in Ancient Greece, which include stone temples, theatres, stadiums, squares, monumental tombs, etc. All these constructions were based on the principles of logic and order, which characterized all Greek art of that period. Architects carefully assessed the role of each part in the final construction and appearance of the building and made sure that it follows the laws of the symmetry and harmony (Boffrand, 2002). Ancient architects collaborated with mathematicians, who calculated the width, height, and proportions to create perfect constructions. It is because of this desire to follow the logic that the most famous architectural styles of that period – Doric Order, Ionic Order and Corinthian Order – received their distinct names (Boffrand, 2002). In general, the ancient Greek architecture has some basic characteristics, such as simplicity, the elegance of proportions, and sophisticated yet unpretentious decoration.

Roman architecture was significantly influenced by the Greek architectural tradition. Similar to the Greek, Roman architects loved using columns in temple building, both decorated and simple ones (Kleiner, 2016). They used the same principles of logic and order when constructing their buildings, and their engineers spent much time calculating the proportions and making sure the construction will survive any natural and man-made disasters (Bunson, 2014). Indeed, some of the best examples of the Greek and Roman architecture are still well-preserved despite their impressive age, which proves that the ancient architects managed to achieve the unprecedented level of mastership.

However, the Romans managed to develop further the experience and skills inherited from the Greek architects. While the latter rarely used anything more complicated than post-and-lintel techniques, the Roman experts invested reliable and impressive arches, vaults, and domes that were unthinkable in the ancient Greece period (Bunson, 2014). These innovative constructions were much more durable and allowed to include more impressive decorative elements. Moreover, compared to the Greek architecture preferring the strict Doric style, the Roman architecture favored the more vibrant and pompous Corinthian ornamentation (Jones, 2003). In general, one may note that the Roman architecture reflected the lavish lifestyle and values of the people of that period, while the Greek architecture shows the elegance and moderation promoted by the ancient Greeks.

In this one, one may summarize that the ancient Greek and Roman architectural constructions have their similarities and differences. They were all made of stone and marble, were decorated by columns, and based on the principles of order and logic. However, unlike somewhat austere Greek architecture that used simple structures and minimum of decorations, Roman buildings were more richly decorated and showed the prosperity and innovation characteristic for that period. Besides, Roman buildings were more reliable because of the advanced engineering decisions, and they continue to surprise people with their impressiveness and solidity.



This compare and contrast essay sample focuses on the ancient Roman and Greek architecture comparison and can be used for reference only. If you have a similar assignment to complete and do not have time to do it by yourself, our experienced writers are ready to help. Place the order online and enjoy our excellent academic writing services for school and college students. We promise that you won’t be disappointed!



Boffrand, G. (2002). Book of architecture: Containing the general principles of the art and the plans, elevations, and sections of some of the edifices built in France and in foreign countries. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Bunson, M. (2014). Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. New York: Infobase Publishing.

Jones, M. W. (2003). Principles of Roman architecture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Kleiner, F. S. (2016). Gardner’s art through the ages: The Western perspective. New York: Cengage Learning.

Matz, D. (2012). Voices of ancient Greece and Rome: Contemporary accounts of daily life. Santa Barbara: CA: ABC-CLIO.

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