Differences Between Roman and Greek Architecture

Last Updated on December 18, 2021 by QCity Editorial Stuff

The ancient Roman and Greek civilizations were two of the most influential in history. Though they share some similarities, such as their use of columns, they also have many differences. One of these is their architecture. The Romans tended to build grandiose structures, while the Greeks favored smaller, more elegant buildings.

When most people think of ancient architecture, they inevitably imagine the grandiose and intricate columns of Greece. However, a closer examination of Roman architecture will reveal many similarities, and in some ways, Roman buildings were even more impressive than their Greek counterparts. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the key differences between Roman and Greek architecture.

While both the Roman and Greek architectural styles are noted for their use of columns, there are several key differences between the two. For example, while Romanesque architecture typically features round arches, Greek architecture tends to use more angular designs. Additionally, while Roman architecture is often associated with large-scale projects such as aqueducts and public baths, Greek architecture is generally better suited for smaller spaces such as temples and homes. Finally, the Romanesque style is often characterized by its heavy use of stone, while Greek architecture relies more on wooden beams and marble carvings. Despite these differences, both styles remain highly popular to this day.

Comparison between Roman and Greek Architecture

Parameters of ComparisonRoman ArchitectureGreek Architecture  
GreeceRoman architecture was mostly influenced by GreeceGreek architecture was not
ArchesRomans used arches to build their buildingsGreeks did not
BricksRomans preferred using brick or stone as building materialsGreeks used marble for columns and sculptures
FunctionalRoman architecture is more functional and practicalGreek architecture is more decorative
Columns supportRomans did notThe Greeks used columns to support the roof

What is Roman Architecture?

Roman architecture is the construction of buildings and other structures in Rome, Italy. The style is characterized by brick-faced concrete, an absence of true arches (which were not introduced until Ancient Greek architecture), and the use of columns with stone or marble capitals. Roman architects adopted many elements from earlier cultures such as Greece and Egypt; however, they also created some new techniques that would become standards for generations to come. One example of this was their invention of the arch – a technique that did not exist before they used it. Not only did they invent the arch but early on they perfected it so that no one else could rival them in how well it was made or how strong it was built.

Roman architecture is one of the most highly recognized styles in the world. It is easily distinguished by its simple and elegant designs, often including columns and arches. But what makes Roman architecture so special? And where did it come from? In this post, we’ll explore the origins of Roman architecture and some of its most famous examples. We’ll also consider why this style has been so enduringly popular throughout the centuries.

Differences Between Roman and Greek Architecture

What is Greek Architecture?

For millennia, people have been fascinated by the architecture of the ancient Greeks. Their buildings were innovative and some are still standing today as monuments to their skill. The Parthenon located on the Acropolis in Athens is an example of Greek Architecture that has withstood time, war, and even earthquakes. It was built to be a temple for Athena, but it currently stands as one of the most recognizable symbols of Ancient Greece. This blog post will explore what Greek Architecture is and how it came about through various examples including both successful projects like The Parthenon and unsuccessful ones that were never made into construction such as The Temple of Zeus at Olympia which was first proposed by Libauros in 550 BC but was never completed due to lack of funds.

Differences Between Roman and Greek Architecture

10 Differences Between Roman and Greek Architecture

1. Roman architecture was mostly influenced by Greece, while Greek architecture was not.

2. Romans used arches to build their buildings; Greeks did not.

3. The colosseum in Rome is the only piece of Roman architecture that still exists today.

4. Temples were usually built on high ground for religious purposes. 

5. Columns are a common feature in both types of architecture but they differ in shape and size. 

6. Romans preferred using brick or stone as building materials; Greeks used marble for columns and sculptures.

7. Roman architecture is more functional and practical while Greek architecture is more decorative.

8. The Greeks used columns to support the roof, while Romans did not.

9. Greek buildings had flat roofs, but Roman buildings had a high pitched roof with a gable end.

10. Romans often built their homes out of brick or stone, while the Greeks preferred wood. 

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Roman Architecture

1. Romans didn’t use mortar to hold buildings together, but rather a type of concrete called “opus caementicium.

2. The Pantheon in Rome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. 

3. The most famous example of Roman architecture is the Colosseum, which was used as an amphitheater for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.

4. Ancient Roman architects often took inspiration from ancient Greek architecture. 

5. One reason that so many ancient Roman structures have survived into modern times is that they were made with materials that are durable enough to last for centuries. 

6. One way that ancient Roman architects achieved this durability was by using volcanic tuff or tufa stone, which has natural anti-erosion properties due to its porous nature.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Greek Architecture

1. The Parthenon is the most well-known example of Greek architecture.

2. Ancient Greeks didn’t use mortar in their building process, instead, they would cut and join stones to build walls.

3. The Acropolis was built on a flat hilltop which made it vulnerable to attack from invaders. 

4. There are many examples of ancient Greek temples with columns that have been destroyed or damaged. 

5. The Pantheon in Rome has a dome that is an example of the Romans’ architectural style.

6. One interesting fact about Roman architecture is that there were no windows in houses until after the Middle Ages began (500 AD).


To summarize, ancient Greek architecture had a lot of columns and was more open to the sky. Ancient Roman architecture had fewer columns but they were closer together giving it an airier feel with more light coming in through windows on all sides of buildings at ground level. This difference is evident even today as the Pantheon still stands proud after nearly 2000 years while many Greeks temples are now ruins due to earthquakes or time itself. There will always be something different about each type of building that makes one style stand out over another depending on what you want your audience to experience when viewing your work so choosing wisely can make all the difference.


Resource 01:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Empire
Resource 02: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_architecture

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