Introduction to Temples

  • During the 7thC general idea of what a temple should look like: large, rectangular, inner room called a cella, porch, and encircling colonnade. 
  • Worship happened outside temples. inside could put the cult statue or offerings. access to cella therefore quite limited. Doors to temple usually opened in festivals/worships so the cult statue was on display.
  • Festivals very important to Greeks - open to everyone, even slaves. big part of the culture
  • Place of worship was really the sanctuary the temples are located in.
  • Treasuries could be set up in the sanctuaries by the City State
  • Choosing site for Sanctuary: ideally flat so large no. could congregate and also makes building temples easier, dictated to needs (serving local community or pan hellenic?), accessible, history of the site may be important e.g. acropolis supposedly where Athena and Poseidon competed for patronage of the city., accomodation near by? support level of tourism for festivals etc., natural phenoma e.g. springs at Delphi.
  • The Temple Structure: Stereobate and Stylobate (top step) (together the Krepidoma) was the three stepped platform, everything above columns called entablature, architrave first (blank section or 3 ridges for ionic), then the frieze (ionic) metopes and triglyphs (doric), top of column is the capitol (flat for doric, volutes or scrolls for ionic), on columns themselves the dips are called flutes and ridges where tehy join is the arris.
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Aphaia at Aegina

  • The temple's scultpture is important in showing transition from archaic to classical period
  • original temple constructed in early 6thC but destroyed in a fire around 500BC
  • Replaced by a larger more impressive structure which now had encircling colonnade
  • The archaic/classical difference suggests delay in building likely caused by the Persian wars. 
  • Contruction believed to have been strated early 5thC probs just after last one was destroyed
  • Columns 6 by 12 (temple rather short in relation to width)
  • On the facade, the second and fifth columns are in alignment with cella but those cella walls are not in alignment with the columns at the sides
  • Door at west end slightly off centre
  • Temple, typical of Doric, stands on 3 step platform
  • Temple was entered via a ramp otherwise there would have had to have been steps which were too high to be practical. ramp also more practical for processions etc. 
  • Early technique for temples - columns built from one block of  stone (monolithic). technique died out after this temple's construction
  • However 3 columns at eastern end made out of drums, a technique to be used from now on (evidence for delays in construction)
  • Columns are about 5.3m high and just under 1m in diameter. 
  • Spacing between columns different along ends and sides-seen on other temples of this period
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Aphaia at Aegina

  • One reason for different spacing is because the architects wanted quite a short temple
  • Typical of the time: short and stocky columns with heavy capitals and steep sided echinus 
  • Triglyphs meant to go directly above column or between columns but problem at the ends because this would mean having half a metope. wanted to end each side with a triglyph to be more aesthetically pleasing so last metope before each corner had to be elongated.
  • Solution was angle contraction: moving adjacent triglyph outwards and to make corner columns thicker
  • The Cella: typically doric - side walls in alignment with 2nd and 5th columns of the facade
  • Deep porch at the east end with two Doric columns between the antae
  • Over these columns from anta to anta was typical doric entablature
  • The internal colonnades like many doric buildings at the time, were two rows of columns placed on top of each other, the top slightly shorter than bottom. Interior columns needed to support the roof so needed to be taller than exterior ones but if they were single columns a lot of floor space would be taken up. With shorter columns bases dont need to be too wide. The technique also often allowed there to be a viewing gallery. 
  • West end: another porch (originally false porch but entrance to cella later added) door slightly off centre
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The Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia

  • Site of great importance to ancient Greeks
  • Not particularly easy to get to location but likely located where it is because of religious significance it held in the Bronze age. 
  • Importance: where the olympic games were started and held,
  • dedicated to King of the gods,
  • sanctuary would draw people around from all over Greece,
  • birthplace of the gods (whole essence of Greek culture),
  • Number of and size of the buildings - even had to extend site (evidence of its popularity)
  • Temple of Zeus at this sanctuary held the title of biggest mainland temple before the Parthenon was built
  • Longevity of the site - statues were still erected there in the time of emperor Nero
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The Temple of Zeus

  • Libon was the architect of this major building
  • Started in 470BC and completed aroudn 458BC
  • The Decoration shows this was a pan hellenic site as subject matter is from the legends of heros from different parts of Greece. 
  • Temple was at the time the largest in mainland Greece about 28 by 64m
  • Commonly regarded as the most perfect example of a Doric style of temple. 
  • Steps were too large for anyone to gain access so they would use a ramp. 
  • Canon number of columns for doric temple 6 by 13. 10.43m in height with lower diameter of 2.21m
  • Quite poor quality stone used for the construction - so columns would appear slightly thicker and more old fashioned compared to those at Aphaia temple. 
  • Cella had a front and rear porch but no access to temple via rear porch.
  • Two interior colonnades to provide support for roof
  • Pediments were carved but metopes beneath them left blank. Instead the metopes over the porches were carved. 
  • Temple housed the chryselephantine statue of Zeus by Pheidias (one of the ancient wonders of the world). It is a statue of a god seated but reaching the ceiling in height. 
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Temple of Hera

  • Built on the southern slopes of the Cronos Hill.
  • The remains that survive today date back to 590BC
  • Doric temple measuring 18.7 by 50m
  • Marks the end of the transition from using elementary materials to using stone
  • 6 columns by 16
  • Had a porch at front and rear both with two columns between the antae. These two columns are aligned with the columns of the outer colonnade
  • Interior colonnade in the cella
  • Upper elements of the temple made from mud-brick and timber - they no longer remain
  • Entablature made of wood covered with terracotta
  • Stylobate, platform and lower elements made with masonry
  • Columns originally wooden later replaced with stone
  • Columns were replaced over the course of centuries into the then current style so temple displays columns from all periods showing the stylistic developments from archaic to Roman times.
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Other Buildings

  • Lots of small looking temples between temples and stadium called treasuries
  • Two doric columns for porches
  • Used to store offerings etc.
  • Usually made from the materials for which the state is famous
  • Number of treasuries shows how important the sanctuary was (Pan-Hellenic)
  • The stadium
  • The Bouleuterion (supposedly used as a council room for the committee of the Olympic games) across the three chambers of the building ran a continuous ionic colonnade. 
  • The Prytaneion: rectangular shape, contained special room housing the hearth of Hestia
  • The Metroon: Small temple erected to the mother goddess Metroom in 4th C
  • The Philippeon: monument which was finished erecting by Alexander the Great to his father. elegant circular stucture in ionic style with raised marble base and enclosed by ionic colonnade. on inner walls of cella were 14 corinthian half columns
  • The Echo Stoa: two colonnades inner ionic one outer doric one. 
  • Palaestra: training ground for athletes
  • Gymnasium. gatway later added built in corinthian style (likely inflluenced by Propylaia)
  • Leonidaion: hospice/hotel constructed in 4thC enclosed by outer ionic colonnade. 
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The Acropolis in Athens

  • Was from this place the city was mostly defended in times of war
  • Shows the true glory of the city- most impressive temples etc. 
  • Parthenon became biggest temple on mainland Greece. sculptural decoration on it inspired many vase painters and sculptors. 
  • Impressive gateway costing around 4X as much as Parthenon
  • Ionic and Doric blend a lot more on the Acropolis (Ionic Erechtheum, Doric Parthenon with ionic elements)
  • Goldeon Spot: everything built harmoniously. Place you can see the largest surface area of temples of Athena, Parthenon and Erechtheum. 
  • Originality of some of the buildings e.g. no encircling colonnade on Athena Nike, uniqueness of Erechtheum
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The Propylaia

  • Central gateway and occupies almost entire western end of rock. Building work started as soon as Parthenon's stopped: 436BC
  • Architect was Mnesikles. Building cost about 3 or 4 times as much as Parthenon.
  • Difficulty of building on the sloped terrain. slightly higher roof as rear to compensate. 
  • Gateway was repositioned slightly so it aligns with acropolis rock. Creates the golden spot. 
  • ramp leading up to Propylaia and continuing on the rock. 
  • Steps on either side of ramp. Clever that bottom step built in Eleusinian stone so darker - warning of the big drop. 
  • Measured 18.125m by 25m depth
  • Main facade just like a temple. 6 doric columns and a pediment above. 
  • Behind doric columns was a deep porch where passageway ran through
  • either side of passageway were ionic columns to support roof. 
  • 5 doorways - central door highest and widest for processions etc. either side two doors that decreased in size as you moved from centre. 
  • Doric columns at back are same proportions as Parthenon - giving harmonius link between the two buildings. 
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Athena Nike

  • Architect Kallikrates. very small temple 8.27m by 5.64 and actually sits outside main Acropolis. 
  • Importance of location: was really the vantage point where Athens was defended. Fitting that it is a temple to Athena (like a thanks offering or request that she will continue defending them)
  • Think it was completed somewhere between 427 and 424BC
  • Highly unusual Greek design: small size and no encircling colonnade round whole building just ones for front and back
  • Ionic temple that would soon mirror Erechtheum 
  • Marble temple with a cella. 
  • Four antae, one at each corner. way to make temple look more attractive. 
  • just straight wall across at back but at each end of temple four ionic columns.
  • Stands on 3 step platform like other temples
  • Front of cella open but there was a partly enclosed porch created by metal grills running between antae and corner columns.
  • Capitols of columns are ionic but of a later design than those on the Parthenon - these ones show the refinement made to the volutes so they were more aesthetically pleasing. 
  • Above the columns a three band fasciae and above that a carved frieze. 
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The Erechtheum

  • Very unique ionic temple.
  • Housed original olive wood statue of Athena (one so old no one knew where it came from, many thought the heavens)
  • Building work started in 436BC but majority of building took place between 409 and 406BC
  • Many of the religious sites were around Erechtheum so reason it was such an odd shape was to accomodate for this and build around them 
  • Western wall of temple overlapped tomb of Kekrops - so as not to disturb it there are no foundations here just a slab of marble bridging the tomb. 
  • North Porch: Neptune struck ground with trident and water sprung forth here. NP has four ionic columns at front and one on return to temple. above was entablature and pediment.
  • Could access cella through north or south (Karyatid) porches. 
  • Difficulty of ground level: big height difference. easiest way would be to build up lower ground but this would have been tampering with religious sites. 
  • Many people were worshipped there: Athena, Poseidon, Hephaestus, Erechtheus and his twin brother Butes. 
  • Eastern chamber thought to be cella of Athena Polias (this was where statue was) this was also the end of the temple on highest ground. 
  • East end was a portico with six ionic columns and above entablature with pediment
  • Portico had coffered ceiling to lessen weight of roof. 
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The Erechtheum

  • Architects wanted to have the entablature and roof at the same level but this caused problems
  • eastern end higher than western - if there were normal sized columns at west end then those at the east end would have been too small but if they did normal sized at east end they would need to be really tall at west end. (pillars too tall would be bad for earthquakes etc. not stable enough)
  • SO on the west end of the cella instead of columns from floor height up to roof they built a wall at lower level and built part engaged columns meaning the wall came up between columns and metal grills went the rest of the way up for total support. 
  • There was a hold in roof of north porch supposedly for Poseidon to look upon where he struck the ground with his trident or in case if he wanted to do it again.
  • Karyatid porch: women in peploi as the columns - very unusual feature in mainland Greece. 
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The Parthenon

  • Built on highest point of acropolis showing its importance. architects were Ictinus and Kallikrates
  • Came to be the biggest temple on mainland Greece
  • Doric temple but has 8 by 17 instead of the canon
  • Columns are 1.91m in diameter and 10.43m high
  • Cella divided into two rooms each with their own porch. 
  • All the dimensions of the building are linked with the ratio of 9:4
  • unusual features: all the metopes are carved not just those on the ends. Ionic frieze running above porches of the cella and all along sides of the structure
  • 92 metopes in high relief and 160m continuous frieze in low relief
  • very quick speed the building work was done - 15 years
  • There are no straight lines - slight curvature to the 3 stepped platform and also in the entablature and columns which lean in. This was to solve optical illusion that people saw when looking at temples - everything looks like its curving down slightly sagging under its own weight.
  • orignally painted in bright reds, blues and yellows. unpainted parts would be toned down to avoid harsh glare as sun hits marble
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The Parthenon (Interior)

  • Two rows of columns along length of cella, parallel to walls.
  • full height doric columns would take up too much floor space so they used double tiered system (2 columns shorter with smaller dimensions on top of each other)
  • 4 ionic columns at the back
  • Large chryslephantine statue in the temple built by Pheidias. Shield of the statue highly decorative encrusted with precious stones
  • viewing platform so statue could be seen close up. 
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The Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi

  • Pan-Hellenic site widely respected by all Greek cities
  • Really multicultural - if you wanted info about far away places this is where you'd find the people (oracle would also use information from the variety of people making predictions seem more reliable)
  • Site where Apollo slew the python
  • Oracle which foretold future events and advised the best course of action in an abstract way. The oracle was very important in Greek culture and religion. 
  • Pythia/priestess sat in a pit and voiced the views of the gods - nonsensical ranting had to be 'interpreted'.
  • Sanctuary situated next to Mount Parnassus
  • A large supply of fresh water there making it very popular (especially the Castalian Spring where many visitors would cleanse themselves before seeing the Oracle)
  • Built high on steep slope so isnt really a open plan. all the buildings needed terracing so could be built on level ground.
  • A wall, defining the sacred boundary, was erected in 6th C. No formal gateway
  • Entrance to site was at south eastern corner - it was the first area one would come to after cleasing in the Castalian Spring. Amazing natural phenomena - breathtaking landscape. 
  • City states continually trying to outdo each other building monuments blocking each others. 
  • Has both a stadium and theatre whereas Olympia lacks a theatre. 
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Temple of Apollo

  • First built around 7th C BC, destroyed in a fire and rebuilt in 6th C. Measures 21.68 by 58.18 and has 6 by 15 doric columns so it is quite long compared to width
  • Housed the inner sanctum (fenced off from main cella)  where the pythia was consulted. 
  • Temple approached by ramp at eastern end
  • Steps and columns all made out of limestone
  • In the pronaos were inscriptions of well known maxims like 'know thyself'. There was also a statue of Homer
  • Cella proper, where pigrims would enter, contained Altar of Poseidon, statues of the Fates and Apollo and other sacred objects.
  • Adyton, only accessed by attendants of the oracle, was innermost part of the temple where there was a goldon Apollo and the bronze tripod of the pythia was placed over the chasma from which vapours were exhaled
  • above outer columns on eastern side, shields from the Persians hung and on the west and south sides, those from the Gauls
  • eastern pediment was of figures of gods like Artemis and Apollo and the west of Dionysus and the Maenads
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The Treasuries

  • Treasuries from a wider range of cities than those of Olympia
  • SIKYONIAN TREASURY: Doric treasury built beween 575 and 550BC
  • commissioned 14 sculpted stone metopes to decorate the building (4 of which preserved).
  • Depict dioskouroi raiding cattle, calydonian boar, and voyage of the argo for the golden fleece. 
  • SIPHNIAN TREASURY: Built around 530-525BC
  • most dazzling treasury at the sanctuary, highly decorative sculpture
  • Built as thanks offering for the rich vein of silver discovered on the island of Siphnos
  • Two columns were replaced with karyatids
  • Built in ionic style and has continuous frieze, pediments also carved
  • stands on limestone base but is made from marble.
  • ATHENIAN TREASURY: Built 490-480BC
  • Built in doric style with carved metopes depicting exploits of Herakles on two sides, Theseus on one and Amazonomachy on eastern side
  • Unlike earlier treasuries like Sikyonian, metopes show cycle of myths not unrelated stories
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Other Monuments

  • Bronze tripod oppostie altar of Apollo. 
  • Club house, probably banquet hall, at top of sanctuary 
  • Relatively small theatre for 4000 
  • Stadium for the Pythian Games and athletic contests holding 7000 spectators
  • Sanctuary of Athena at Delphi on a different level with remains of various temples and treasuries surviving today. 
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Temple of Apollo at Bassae

  • Designed by Ictinus 
  • According to Pausanias it was contructed as a thanks offering from a plague 
  • Mainly built from limestone but some marble used e.g. for capitols of interior columns
  • Unusual: orientation runs from north to south rather than east to west as there was limited space avaliable on steep slopes of the mountain. Had a continuous frieze running along inside of cella, in the cella itself were two rows of tall ionic columns and opposite the entrance was a single freestanding corinthian column (earliest example of this order) 
  • Temple is unusual as it shows all three classical orders 
  • Corinthian capitol is bell shaped and decorated with spirals and vegetal motifs
  • Metopes and friezes are outstanding carved between 425-420BC showing Greeks fighting Amazons and Lapiths fighting Centaurs. Carved in high relief and more elaborate and decorative than those even of the Parthenon. More this elaborate decoration than showing the real gruesome reality of battle. 
  • Sculptors clearly influenced by those of the Parthenon frieze
  • Figures all in twisted poses of combat. Action confined within set groups so easily intelligible
  • Swirling drapery adding to elaborate nature but is quite transparent revealing the rounded forms beneath. 
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The Hephaesteion at Agora

  • 449-44BC
  • lies in the agora beneath acropolis. well preserved as it was later converted to a church
  • Hephaistos was the blacksmith god and was closely connected with Athena as she was the goddess of all crafts. 
  • It was intended as a thanks offering for the Athenian victory in the Persian war 
  • built on artificial foundation of limestone blocks
  • Temple is made from Pentellic marble except sculptures which were Parian marble. 
  • Doric temple. obeys canon of 6 by 13 columns
  • unusual placing of carved metopes for doric - they appear on east facade and only the eastern ends of north and south sides. (western ends left blank). suggests temple was intended to be seen from the east. 
  • Metopes carved in high relief and depict labours of Heracles and adventures of Theseus
  • Typical of other 5thC doric temples there were ionic features like the base mouldings around cella wall.
  • Two tiered doric colonnade inside the cella (unnecessary as temple was small enough for roof beams to support the weight but shows then the influence of the Parthenon on other architecture of the time)
  • Sculpted frieze over rear porch runs from anta to anta and shows battle of centaurs & lapiths
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