Since the advent of the Classical Age in Athens, in the fifth century BCE, the classical language has been deeply woven into Western understandings of architecture and, indeed, of civilization itself. Its fundamental principle of imbuing architectural forms with the proportions and vitality of human ones has had lasting significance. However, despite the universal aspirations sometimes claimed for it, classical architecture was born from a very particular set of conditions and circumstances.


Several important Egyptian monuments, such as the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deïr-el-Bahari (mid fifteenth century BCE) and the Amun Temple at Karnak (1530–323 BCE), had made use of essentially columnar systems. However, the ...

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