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Comparison of Parthenon and Palace at Knossos

The Palace at Knossos (ca. 1700-1400 BCE) was the first in the long file of spacious royal masons. The prehistoric Aegean people used to live in small and simple structures (70). Being rebuilt after the fire, the New Palace at Knossos was larger and occupied a few levels. The palatial complex covered a large territory and was centered around the central court (this concept was later used for both Greek and Roman architecture for residential buildings). The structure has premises for various purposes such as ceremonial and official rooms, storerooms, and residential rooms for royalty. One of the areas is of unknown origin with steps on both sides that could be seats being ‘a possible forerunner of the later Greek theater’; (71). The Palace at Knossos looked stable and substantial with thick bright red columns and cushionlike capitals (71).

The citadel at Tiryns reminds more prehistoric megalithic constructions rather than early Greek architecture. However, it was built around 1400-1200 BCE and because of its uniqueness was called Cyclopean masonry. The citadel of Tiryns features thick walls made with huge stones and served for the fortification purposes. One part of the citadel has a long gallery of two walls of gigantic stones with no mortar which were levered inward to form a vault (77). Inside, the main room is preceded by the vestibule with columns. It was the forerunner of the Greek temple structure.

With a time difference of a millennium, the Greek Parthenon looks lighter and more elegant than the Palace at Knossos. Unlike the Palace at Knossos made with rough fieldstones and clay, Parthenon was built with marble. The system of ideal proportions was applied to create a harmonious design from all sides. For example, architects mathematically calculated the length-width ratio of the cella, the stylobate, and the temple, the distance between the centers of two adjacent columns in proportion to the columns’ diameter, and so forth. However, despite it Parthenon has a lot of deviations from the norm. For example, ‘the corner columns of the temple should be thicker because they are surrounded by light and would otherwise appear thinner than their neighbors’; (72).