Greek Background Notes on Architecture

Notes I used in my revision for Classical Greek background last year on Classical Architecture

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Materials and Technical Terms Connected With Greek Architecture
Materials Used For Building Temples
Iron: Used as clamps to fit blocks into place
Durable material
Lead: Molten lead used to fix clamps into upper surfaces of blocks
Limestone: One of the chief temple building materials
Cheaper to use than marble
Found in quarries
Marble: Expensive material
Harder to cut and shape than limestone but can be carved for finer detail
Used for certain features of temples-faces/hands of females as delicacy is portrayed
Stucco: Fine powdered marble paste
Used to coat limestone temples to give a finer finish = more superior
Terracotta: Baked clay used for roof tiles and antefixes
Wax: Lubricant used in final polishing process
Wood: Supporting framework of temple
Timber ceiling under the roof
Decorative Techniques used/ Elements Of a Temple
Antefixes: carved figures standing on each of the three angles of a pediment
Akroteria: Decorative waterspouts which hold tiles in place at roof edges
Carved in stone/terracotta
Mask rough ends of ridged tiles/joints
Roof Tiling: Held together by overlapping grooves
Important for temple's appearance as it clarifies composition
Makes sculptures more realistic/animated and more intelligible from a distance
-Coloured stones-used for buttons, eyes, jewellery
-Copper-used for lips
-Pastel-used for eyes
-Metal-used for armour/weapons
-Silvered teeth

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Construction Of Temples
Laborious process (by sea/wagon)
Oxen/mules used to haul stone to building site from quarry
Marble had to be transported if the destination was on the mainland as the marble quarries were on
Mt Pentelikon and so it would have to be transported by sea and the land
-Cut ½ inch thicker so any scars received during cartage could be removed later
-Building blocks only trimmed roughly in quarry and finished off at destination in case of damage on
the way…read more

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The Peripteral Temple
Definition: a temple with external colonnades all around, peristyle and sometimes inside (for
-Plan comes from that of a traditional Mycenaean house, a rectangular hall with front porch
supported by columns
-Wood ceiling as in all Greek temples
-Two tiered columns in interior
-External colonnade forms a curtain around the temple screening the cult image and temple from the
outside world
Temple Parts
Pronaos and opisthodomus-two porches, front and back of the temple
Cella/naos -The central room of the temple which…read more

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Ionic Order
-The temple was more elaborately designed and decorated than Doric temples
-Ionic temples had a frieze
-Architrave was divided into 3 strips
-Ionic temples had a shallower pediment
-Entablature was divided into the frieze, the architrave and the cornice
Ionic Columns
-The column shafts were thinner and taller than Doric ones
-Column's height was 8-10 times its width
-Columns stand on a bulging base
-The capital of the column contains volutes
-There are narrower flutings on column, which heightened the impression of slenderness…read more

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The Doric Order
-Predominant temple type in Greece
-Frieze had a band of alternating metopes/triglyphs
-Plain architrave
-Temple has a very simple and basic appearance
however is very sturdy and robust
Doric Columns
-Columns shorter and wider than Ionic columns
-No bases on columns and they had very simple
-Capitals consists of three parts, necking, echinus
and abacus
-Height of column was 4-6 times its width
-Sturdy, strong, simple columns used
-Flutings were wider apart on columns…read more


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