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Hellenistic architecture: Greek theater at Epidauros

Enough temples already

By the Hellenistic period, there were pretty much enough Greek temples. Most towns already had one, and many towns had a lot of temples.

Archaic Greek temples
Classical Greek architecture
What is the Hellenistic?
Greek architecture and rhythm
All Greek architecture
All our ancient Greece articles

New types of buildings

So instead of building so many temples, Greek people, started to build a lot of other types of large public buildings. They built many more theaters, and also gymnasia (like our gyms, places to exercise), and, because this was a time with a lot of fighting, also a lot of forts. They built some big impressive tombs for their leaders.

Origins of Greek theaters
Menander and Hellenistic plays
Greek games and exercise
Warfare in ancient Greece

Outside of Greece

Greek theater at Bosra in Syria

Greek theater at Bosra in Syria

After Alexander of Macedon conquered the Persian Empire in the 300s BC, Greek architecture reached all across West Asia and North Africa and even into India. There was a lot of interest in town planning, and architects planned a lot of new towns with carefully laid out straight streets and public squares.

Who was Alexander of Macedon?
The Persian Empire
The Ptolemies in Africa
Mauryan architecture in India

Too poor to build

After about 250 BC, however, there was not so much building, because the Hellenistic kingdoms were not rich enough anymore to pay for big public buildings. That didn’t change until the Roman Empire conquered Greece and West Asia in the 100s BC.

Bibliography and further reading about Hellenistic Greek architecture:

Greek Art and Archaeology (3rd Edition), by John G. Pedley (2002) A lot of good information and is pretty readable. Plus, the author is really an expert in this field.

The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction, by William R. Biers (1996) Biers writes very clearly and has a lot of good pictures.

The Early Hellenistic Stadium (Excavations at Nemea)
by Stephen G. Miller, Robert C. Knapp, David Chamberlain (2001) By experts, for experts, on their recent archaeological excavations at Nemea in Greece.

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