A portico (from Italian) is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea first appeared in Ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.
Bologna, Italy, is very famous for its porticos. In total, there are over 45 kilometres of arcades, some 38 in the city center. The longest portico in the world, about 3.5 km (2 mi), extends from the edge of the city to Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. In Turin, Italy, porticos stretch for 18 kilometres.
A pronaos is the inner area of the portico of a Greek or Roman temple, situated between the portico's colonnade or walls and the entrance to the cella, or shrine. Roman temples commonly had an open pronaos, usually with only columns and no walls, and the pronaos could be as long as the cella. The word pronaos is Greek for "before a temple". In Latin, a pronaos is also referred to as an anticum or prodomus.
Types of porticoEdit
The different variants of porticos are named by the number of columns they have.
The Romans favoured the four columned portico for their pseudoperipteral temples like the Temple of Portunus, and for amphiprostyle temples such as the Temple of Venus and Roma, and for the prostyle entrance porticos of large public buildings like the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. Roman provincial capitals also manifested tetrastyle construction, such as the Capitoline Temple in Volubilis.
The North Portico of the White House is perhaps the most notable four-columned portico in the United States.
Some well-known examples of classical Doric hexastyle Greek temples:
- The group at Paestum comprising the Temple of Hera (c. 550 B.C), the Temple of Apollo (c. 450 B.C), the first Temple of Athena ("Basilica") (c. 500 B.C) and the second Temple of Hera (460–440 B.C)
- The Temple of Athena Aphaia (the invisible) at Aegina c. 495 B.C
- Temple E at Selinus (465–450 B.C) dedicated to Hera
- The Temple of Zeus at Olympia, now a ruin
- Temple F or the so-called "Temple of Concord" at Agrigentum (c. 430 B.C), one of the best-preserved classical Greek temples, retaining almost all of its peristyle and entablature.
- The "unfinished temple" at Segesta (c. 430 B.C)
- The Hephaesteum below the Acropolis at Athens, long known as the "Theseum" (449–444 B.C), also one of the most intact Greek temples surviving from antiquity)
- The Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sunium (c. 449 B.C)
With the colonization by the Greeks of Southern Italy, hexastyle was adopted by the Etruscans and subsequently acquired by the ancient Romans. Roman taste favoured narrow pseudoperipteral and amphiprostyle buildings with tall columns, raised on podiums for the added pomp and grandeur conferred by considerable height. The Maison Carrée at Nîmes, France, is the best-preserved Roman hexastyle temple surviving from antiquity.
Octostyle buildings had eight columns; they were considerably rarer than the hexastyle ones in the classical Greek architectural canon. The best-known octostyle buildings surviving from Antiquity are the Parthenon in Athens, built during the Age of Pericles (450–430 B.C), and the Pantheon in Rome (125 A.D). The destroyed Temple of Divus Augustus in Rome, the centre of the Augustan cult, is shown on Roman coins of the 2nd century AD as having been built in octostyle.
- ↑ W. Burkert, Greek Religion (1987)
- Greek architecture Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968
- Stierlin, Henri. Greece: From Mycenae to the Parthenon, TASCHEN, 2004, Editor-in-chief Angelika Taschen, Cologne, ISBN 3-8228-1225-0
- Stierlin, Henri. The Roman Empire: From the Etruscans to the Decline of the Roman Empire, TASCHEN, 2002, Edited by Silvia Kinkle, Cologne, ISBN 3-8228-1778-3
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