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Architecture is defined as that shaping art, of which the function is to express and arouse emotion by combinations of ordered and decorated form. Architecture as an art first appears in Egypt. Its two divisions here may be roughly described as the pyramid age and the age of the temples. The pyramids are among the oldest monuments in the world, and date from about 3000 В. С. They consist of vast conical masses of masonry1, raised over a small tomb containing the sarcophagus of the pharaoh or monarch. The height of the oldest pyramid of Khufu was 480 feet 9 inches, and its base was 764 feet square, covering 13 acres.

Egyptian temples were at first tremendously massive, with great square pillars; soon graceful round pillars succeeded these, and grace became the keynote2 of the whole. Egypt built with stone; Babylon, having no stone, built with sun-dried bricks. Today, the tremendous architectural marvels of Babylon are huge formless mounds of sand on the plain. Such Babylonian marvels of antiquity as the eight-terraced tower of Bel3, and the famous hanging gardens of Semiramis, remain as dim as legends today.

Classic Greek art developed three forms or orders of architecture -the Doric4, the Ionic5, and the Corinthian6. The Doric, the simplest of all, had a simple fluted column, with a square capital above; its effect was massive simplicity. The Ionic had a slenderer column, with curved volutes7 in the capital, conventionalized8 from Egyptian lily-petals9. The Corinthian, the most elaborate of the three, had a conventionalized acanthus-leaf pattern at the top.

The typical Greek temple is a parallelogram, with columns at both ends or all around; the earliest form had columns only in front. The temple itself was always a small enclosure within the vast portico.

Among the most impressive remains throughout the rest of Greece are the temple of Parthenon at Athens, and the temple of Poseidon, or Neptune, which is the most perfect and best preserved of all the relics of classic antiquity.


1) What is architecture?

2) Where does architecture as an art first appear?

3) What was the greatest pyramid in Egypt?

4) What did Egyptian temples look like?

5) Why weren't Babylonian marvels of antiquity preserved?

6) What were three forms of classic Greek architecture?

7) What was a typical Greek temple?


1. masonry - каменная или кирпичная кладка

2. keynote - основной принцип, идея

3. tower of Bel - Вавилонская башня

4. the Doric - дорический

5. the Ionic - ионический

6. the Corinthian - коринфский

7. volute - спираль, завиток -

8. conventionalized - изображенный условно

9. lily-petals - лепестки лилии

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