The Roman temple, while based upon the Greek type, retained elements from Etruscan architecture, as in its deep front portico and its elevation upon a high base, or podium, whose wings extended forward to flank the broad entrance steps. The Maison Carrée at Nîmes, France (1st cent. B.C.), the best-preserved Roman temple, is the common pseudoperipteral type, with engaged columns or pilasters attached to its walls. Unlike the long narrow Greek naos, the Roman cella was nearly square in plan. Of the polygonal and circular temples the circular pantheon at Rome (2d cent. A.D.) with its magnificent dome is the most remarkable. Many temples, particularly those of the Eastern colonies, as at Baalbek in Syria, had magnificent settings of entrance courts enclosed by colonnades.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.