Among the Greeks, architecture was cultivated as a fine art. Dignity and grace were added to stability and magnificence. In the Doric order, their first style of building, this is fully exemplified. Phidias, Ictinus, and Calicrates are spoken of as masters in the art at this period: the encouragement and support of Pericles stimulated them to a noble emulation. The beautiful temple of Minerva, called the Parthenon, erected upon the acropolis of Athens, the Propyleum, the Odeum, and others, were lasting monuments of their success. The Ionic and Corinthian orders were added to the Doric, and many magnificent edifices arose. These exemplified, in their chaste proportions, the elegant refinement of Grecian taste. Improvement in Grecian architecture continued to advance until perfection seems to have been attained. The specimens which have been partially preserved exhibit a combination of elegant proportion, dignified simplicity, and majestic grandeur. Architecture among the Greeks was at the height of its glory at the period immediately preceding the Peloponnesian war; after which the art declined. An excess of enrichment succeeded its former simple grandeur; yet a strict regularity was maintained amid the profusion of ornament. After the death of Alexander, 323 B.C., a love of gaudy splendor increased: the consequent decline of the art was visible, and the Greeks afterwards paid but little attention to the science.
The Pantheon Rome.