Maison Carrée

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Nîmes, France; 20 BCE

The Maison Carrée in Nîmes is the best-preserved typical Roman temple. Greek temples were usually built in special places, such as the sites of Bronze Age settlements (like the Acropolis at Athens) or in remote situations (like Delphi). The Romans conquered mainland Greece at Corinth in 146 BCE, but they had already been impressed by Greek culture, which they saw as more sophisticated and civilized than their own. They regarded Sparta as a precursor of Rome’s military culture, and Virgil imitated Homer’s epic poetry. The Romans imitated Greek sculpture and architecture, but in their enthusiasm for grandiose ...

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