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The Parthenon Influences on the United States Capitol

Greek architecture served as an inspiration for many architectural styles and modern iconic landmarks. It can be argued that many well-known buildings, including the United States Capitol and other politically significant constructions, are reminiscent of the renowned monuments of Ancient Greece. Specifically, the U.S. Capitol was influenced by the Athenian Parthenon. The impact of the Greek temple can be seen in the building’s symbolism and common architectural features such as columns.

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The Parthenon is one of the most well-known Ancient Greek temples and is located in Athens. The landmark shares several architectural elements in common with the U.S. Capitol building. The Greek influence is notable in the steps and columns in the Capitol, specifically, the east front of the building. However, the columns in Parthenon are either Doric or Ionic, whereas the Capitol boasts more ornamented Corinthian columns. Furthermore, the relief sculptures on the Capitol pediments are reminiscent of the lost ones on the Parthenon. In addition, the interior columns in the hall of Columns and the Crypt in the U.S. Capitol are inspired by the lost interior columns in the Parthenon that surrounded the statue of the Goddess Athena.

U.S. Capitol building illustrates the symbolic influence of the Parthenon. The Athenian Temple was viewed as the “birthplace of democracy” due to numerous reforms passed by the government of the city-state of Athens in the 5th century. These reforms allowed more people to participate in the public sphere, making the city one of the most inclusive of its time. Similarly, the U.S. Capitol building symbolizes democracy for the citizens of the country. The members of the U.S. Congress gather in the Capitol to propose, discuss, and enact national laws, participating in the democratic process.

In summary, the U.S. Capitol was inspired by the Athenian temple of the Parthenon. The former borrowed some of the latter’s architectural elements, including the positioning of the columns on the exterior and the interior. Furthermore, the relief sculpture on the pediments is similar to those that adorned the Parthenon in the past. Both buildings also share a symbolic meaning, representing democracy for their respective nations and the world as a whole.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 7). The Parthenon Influences on the United States Capitol. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-parthenon-influences-on-the-united-states-capitol/

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StudyCorgi. "The Parthenon Influences on the United States Capitol." July 7, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-parthenon-influences-on-the-united-states-capitol/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Parthenon Influences on the United States Capitol." July 7, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-parthenon-influences-on-the-united-states-capitol/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Parthenon Influences on the United States Capitol'. 7 July.

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