In ancient Rome, a long rectangular or oblong building, often culminating in a semi-circular apse. The interior generally had two rows of columns, forming a wide central aisle and two narrower side aisles. Early Christians and contemporaneous Jews modeled their churches and synagogues on the Roman basilica.


Referring to the great period of Greek creativity in art, architecture, literature, science and philosophy—mostly in Athens—during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.


Referring to the period of Greek influence around the Mediterranean in the centuries following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C.


The construction of columns not as perfect cylinders but with a slight swelling, or convexity, to compensate for optical effects.


Invention or improvisation. For Vitruvius, the architect should not simply replicate older models; he should add his own vision—for example, in adapting a building to its physical setting.