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Posted on July 30th, 2012, by

Parthenon and Colosseum are masterpieces of the ancient architecture. These two buildings are manifestations of the advancement of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. At the same time, Parthenon and Colosseum were cultural centers attracting people from different parts of Greece, Rome and the Mediterranean. In fact, they were cultural centers of the ancient world that made Parthenon and Colosseum similar, but these buildings performed different functions because Parthenon was a religious center of ancient Greece, whereas Colosseum was the entertainment center of the Roman Empire. In such a way, in spite of certain similarities, Parthenon and Colosseum were different.

On analyzing the form of Parthenon and Colosseum, it should be said that it differs consistently because Parthenon has a square form with a well-developed system of pillars. Parthenon had 46 outer pillars and 19 inner pillars, which made the temple open to the public and symbolized the power of Athena, ancient Greek goddess which the temple was built to worship (Cosmopoulos, 2004). As for Colosseum, this building has an oval form. The oval arena is located in the center of Colosseum, whereas the entire building is comprised with a complex system of arches in the three-floor arcades. Each of the arches in the second and third-floor arcades framed statues, which were probably dedicated to ancient Roman deities. In this regard, the religious theme makes Colosseum to Parthenon, but Parthenon was more oriented on religious theme. Moreover, Parthenon was dedicated specifically to Athena and worshipping of this goddess was the main goal of the construction of the temple. Instead, divine elements in Colosseum are rather decorations than true symbols of worshiping Roman gods.

In fact, Colosseum was designed to entertain the public. The arena of Colosseum was renowned for fights of gladiators and great shows organized for different occasions to entertain the public in Rome. Thousands of Romans attended Colosseum to watch gladiatorial contests and public spectacles as well as mock sea battles, animal hunts executions and other ancient Roman entertainments (Byrnes, 2005). This is probably why the construction of Colosseum was more complex compared to Parthenon because Colosseum had a complex system of water supply to organize sea battles, when the arena of the amphitheater was filled with water. In addition, there were complex system of pathways to separate citizens, gladiators, and animals. The seats were ranged according to the social standing of the audience. This is why representatives of different social classes occupied different levels in Colosseum. For instance, the emperor and senators could have the seats closest to the arena, whereas slaves and women had the seats furthest from the arena.

Instead, Parthenon performed the religious function. It was a sacred place where ancient Greek could worship Athena, one of the most respectable deities in ancient Greek religion. Naturally, Parthenon could not be used for entertainment that determined the different architecture of the temple. It was not supposed to have the large audience watching public spectacles as was the case of Colosseum. Instead, Parthenon had clearly divided areas, where people could worship the goddess and priests perform their religious functions.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Parthenon and Colosseum are remarkable buildings that symbolize the achievements of ancient Greek and Roman architecture and culture. The difference between the buildings is determined by the difference of their functions.

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