AP Art History : Understanding terminology that describes Ancient Greek and Roman architecture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

The Roman building the Pantheon features columns in the style called __________.

Possible Answers:

Corinthian

Composite

Ionic

Doric

Correct answer:

Corinthian

Explanation:

Ancient Greek and Roman architecture can be broken down into three main chronological groupings, from oldest to youngest: the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian. As a building of the Roman Empire, the Pantheon, built between 27 BCE and 126 CE, is emblematic of the Corinthian order, especially its ornate columns lining its portico.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

An Ionic column is distinguished by __________.

Possible Answers:

ornate ornamentation in its base

a plain, heavy base

scroll-shaped ornaments in its capital

floral ornaments in its capital

Correct answer:

scroll-shaped ornaments in its capital

Explanation:

The three "classical orders" applied to columns in Ancient Greek architecture are Doric, Ionian, and Corinthian, going from least to most ornate. The Ionic column is most easily distinguished by its capital, or the top of the column. On every Ionic column, a scroll-shaped ornamentation is placed at the top portion of the column.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

Female figures supporting an overhang in place of columns are known as __________.

Possible Answers:

caryatids

kouros

amphorae

serdabs

Correct answer:

caryatids

Explanation:

Often found in Ancient Greek architecture, female figures used as part of or in place of plainer columns are known as caryatids.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

What is not part of the Doric order, one of the three Classical Greek architectural orders?

Possible Answers:

Stylobate

Stereobate

Shaft

Abacus

Base

Correct answer:

Base

Explanation:

Columns in the Doric order sit directly on the stylobate without a base. The other two Classical Greek orders, Ionic and Corinthian, both employ bases.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

A ______________ column resembles a Doric column, but it is unfluted and has a base.

Possible Answers:

Tuscan

Cycladian

Ionic

Corinthian

Correct answer:

Tuscan

Explanation:

Tuscan columns are the standard type of Etruscan column. They closely resemble Doric columns, but are usually made of wood, have a base and are not fluted along the shaft.

Example Question #6 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

The chamber at the center of an ancient temple is called a ________________.

Possible Answers:

caldarium

peristyle

cubiculum

cella

Correct answer:

cella

Explanation:

The "cella" is the central room or chamber of an ancient temple; often this is where the cult statue of the god or goddess would be set up.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

A _____________ is a circular building in Greek and Roman architecture. 

Possible Answers:

tholos

rotunda

basilica

mausoleum

Correct answer:

tholos

Explanation:

In Greek and Roman architecture, a circular building is called a tholos. The tholos (plu. tholoi) is more common in Greek architecture than in Roman architecture; normally they were used for circular temples or shrines. In the Mycenaean tradition, the term "tholos" refers to a kind of circular, beehive-shaped tomb.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

A horizontal area of sculpted decoration on a wall close to the ceiling is known as a(n) ___________________.

Possible Answers:

frieze

entablature

architrave

cornice

arcade

Correct answer:

frieze

Explanation:

A frieze is a sculpted decoration near the ceiling of a temple or other structure from classical architecture. The rest are all other architectural terms: an entablature is the upper section of a building's facade supported by columns; a cornice is the top part of the entablature; an architrave is the lower part of the entablature; and an arcade is a series of columns with arches spanning the distance between them.

Example Question #6 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

A __________ is a triangular gable found over major architectural elements, especially the porch of Classical temples.

Possible Answers:

Entablature

Pediment

Stylobate

Echinus

Correct answer:

Pediment

Explanation:

The triangular gable over a major architectural element is called a pediment. In Classical and especially Greek temples, the pediment is decorated with a sculpture that tells a story or a myth. The pediment is the defining architectural feature of the Classical temple, and it also shows up a lot in Greek Revival architecture in Europe and the United States.

Example Question #7 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Ancient Greek And Roman Architecture

The ______________ refers to the use of a different architectural order (Tuscan, Ionic, Corinthian) on each level of a building, as on the Colosseum.

Possible Answers:

rhythmos

symmetria

progression of columns

progression of orders

Correct answer:

progression of orders

Explanation:

The use of different architectural orders on each level of a building is called the progression of orders. In Classical architecture, each "order" refers to a particular style, identifiable mostly by the profile and proportions of the columns. The progression of orders takes these structural elements and uses them as decorative elements, especially in Roman and Neoclassical architecture.

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