The built environment of the Greek city underwent important changes in the later seventh and sixth centuries BC. The conventions of Greek architecture, or orders, that developed at that time remained in place with little change through the Hellenistic period. The infl uence of these designs has been huge. The Romans would absorb these conventions into their own rich architectural repertoire, and pass them on to the medieval European and Islamic worlds. The effects are still with us today. We shall now look in detail at the elements of the architectural orders. So important is an understanding of these conventions for an appreciation of the appearance of Greek and Roman public buildings that, however tedious the effort may seem, this will be time well spent. We shall then examine the cities of the eastern Aegean, fl ourishing centers of Greek civilization in the sixth century BC, before moving in the next chapter to two prominent cities of the Greek peninsula: Athens and Sparta.