CHAPTER 5 Greek Civilization 163
In addition to making pottery, the
Greeks were skilled architects. Architecture
is the art of designing and building struc-
tures. In Greece, the most important archi-
tecture was the temple dedicated to a god or
goddess. The best-known example is the
Parthenon. Temples, such as the Parthenon,
had a walled room in their centers. Statues
of gods and goddesses and the gifts offered
to them were kept in these central rooms.
Large columns supported many Greek
buildings. The first Greek columns were
carved from wood. Then, in 500 B.C., the
Greeks began to use marble. Marble
columns were built in sections. Large
blocks of marble were chiseled from stone
quarries and brought by oxen-drawn
wagon to the building site. The sections
were stacked on top of each other. To keep
them from toppling, the column’s sections
were joined with wooden pegs. Today,
marble columns are common features of
churches and government buildings.
Some of the best-known buildings in our
nation’s capital, such as the White House
and the Capitol, have columns similar to
Many Greek temples were decorated
with sculpture. Greek sculpture, like Greek
architecture, was used to express Greek
ideas. The favorite subject of Greek artists
was the human body. Greek sculptors did
not copy their subjects exactly, flaws and
all. Instead, they tried to show their ideal
version of perfection and beauty.
the most important type of building in ancient
• The Greeks believed gods and
goddesses influenced their lives.
They believed oracles spoke for
the gods and goddesses.
• The Greeks wrote long poems,
called epics, and short tales, called
fables, to pass on Greek values.
• The Greeks created the ideas of
tragedy and comedy that are still
used in drama today.
• Greek art forms, such as painting,
architecture, and sculpture,
expressed Greek ideas of beauty,
harmony, and moderation.
1. How and why did the Greeks
honor their gods?
2. What values did the epic poems
of Homer teach Greeks?
3. Contrast How do Greek
tragedies and comedies differ?
Draw a table to describe the
characteristics of Greek archi-
tecture and pottery.
Evaluate Do you think the
themes of Euripides’ plays
would be popular today?
Make Generalizations Why
did Greek artists include the
ideas of reason, moderation,
balance, and harmony in their
Expository Writing Greek lit-
erature tells us what the Greeks
thought was important. Choose
a modern book, movie, or televi-
sion show. Write a paragraph to
explain what it would tell others
about our society.
Explain how the words in the
following sentence would help
you find the meaning of the
“The moral of the story is ‘slow
and steady wins the race.’”
What Did You Learn?
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