Classic Temples


"Perfect was as important an idea to the Greeks as forever was to the Egyptians."
- Janson's

Assignment 5 - Exhibition Visit Due
Iktinos, Kallikrates, and Karpion, The Parthenon (view from the west), Akropolis, Athen, 447 - 438 BCE.











c. 750 BCE
Greek city-states begin to form
c. 621 BCE
Draco introduces strict rule of law in Sparta
c. 594 BCE
Solon lays the foundations for Athenian democracy
479 - 497 BCE
Persian Wars - Greeks defeat Persian invaders at Battle of Marathon
486 BCE
Siddhartha, founder of Buddhism dies
Classic Period ca. 480 to 323 BCE
480 - 479 BCE
Persians invade Greece, Athenians defeat Persians at the Battle of Marathon
Polykleitos formulates canon of proportions
Corinthian order introduced in temple architecture
447 - 438 BCE
Athenians rebuild the Acropolis
440s BCE
Greek theatre thrives
431 - 404 BCE
Peloponnesian Wars/ Sparta conquers Athens
399 BCE
Trial and execution of Socrates
380 BCE
Plato establishes the Athens Academy
356 - 323 BCE
Reign of Alexander the Great
Spreads Greek ways across the East
333 BCE
Battle of Issos
323 BCE
Death of Alexander
Hellenistic Period 323 to 30 BCE
c. 214 BCE
Great Wall of China built
144 BCE
Corinth destroyed by Romans
30 BCE
Death of Cleopatra and end of Ptolemaic rule











Plan of the Akropolis at Athens in 400 BCE (after A. W. Lawrence)











Artist's Rendition of Acropolis with Parthenon in upper right corner











Porch of the Maidens and the Erechtheion, Akropolis, Athens, ca. 421 - 405 BCE.











Iktinos, Kallikrates, and Karpion, The Parthenon (view from the west), Akropolis, Athen, 447 - 438 BCE.
Phidias, Athena Parthenos, c. 438 BCE. Model of the lost statue which was approx. 38' tall. Reconstructed Parthenon in Nashville, TN.












Parthenon built with constant ratio of 4:9
  • height to width
  • width to length
  • diameter of columns to space in between
In the Parthenon, the controlling ratio for the symmetria of the parts may be expressed algebraically as, x = 2y = 1, where x is the larger number and y is the smaller number
Thus, there are eight columns on the short ends of the temple and seventeen on the long sides:, 17 = (2 x 8) + 1
More on the ratios of the Parthenon











Secrets of the Parthenon


Diagram in exaggerated proportion of the horizontal curvature of the Parthenon.


Entasis = a swelling of the shaft of a column, a basic feature of the Doric column











Artist's rendition of East Pediment Parthenon Frieze
British Museum's position on ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures
Akropolis Museum's position on ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures











architectural order = an architectural system based on the column and its entablature in which the form of the elements themselves (capital, base, shaft, etc.) and their relationships to each other are specifically defined











Doric Order
Doric = simplicity
  • Greek mainland
  • Plain and sharply defined
  • Emphasis on stability and grace
  • Masive and weighty
  • Heavy use of entasis











Ionic Order
Ionic = simple embellishment
Temple of Athena Nike & Erechtheion
  • Aegean Islands and coast of Asia Minor
  • Columns are taller and more slendor
  • Less entasis than doric order
  • Lighter and more graceful
  • Continuous friezes
  • Often included caryatids = female figured columns

Kallikrates, Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis, Athens, ca. 427 - 424 BCE (view from the northeast).













Corinthian Order
Corinthian = complex, organic decoration
Monument of Lysikrates
  • Invented late 5th century by metalworker, Kallimachos
  • Began to appear about 450 BC, in the early Classic period on the inside of small temples
  • In the 4th century find it replacing Ionic capitals on the exterior
  • Curly shoots and leaves of the acanthus plant
  • Became the standard capital for Roman architects

Monument of Lysikrates, Athens, ca. 334 BCE.












Corinthian capital, from the Tholos at Epidauros, ca. 350 BCE.











"Typical" Greek Temple plan
nucleus (cella, naos) = room in which image of the deity was placed
pronaos = the porch
peristyle = a colonnade
  • In larger temples the nucleus of cella and porches is surrounded by a colonnade of 6 to 8 columns at front and back, and usually 12 to 14 columns along the sides
  • Entrance faces east, toward the rising sun
  • Floor plan not contingent upon order












Treasury of the Siphnians

Reconstruction drawing of the Treasury of the Siphnians. Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, ca. 530 BCE.











Classic Greek Painting


Youth diving, cover slab of the Tomb of the Diver, Tempe del Prete necropolis, Paestum, Italy, ca. 480 - 470 BCE.












Hades abducting Persephone, detail of a wall painting in tomb I, Vergina, Macedonia, ca. 340 – 330 BCE.











The Achilles Painter, Warrior taking leave of his wife on an Attic white-ground lekythos, ca. 440 BCE. 16” high.