Greek Temples

Temples are the focal point of worship for the Greeks. They are the largest structures in a god’s sanctuary or temple complex. They are built to house the great statues of the gods. Despite their prominence, they only play a background role in ceremonies. Only the priests may enter the central chamber that houses the god’s statue unless under exceptional circumstances. Offerings are left at the columns that surround the chamber and sacrifices and rituals are carried out on the concourses in front of the temple steps.

Layout and Design

The layout of greek temples follows a standard pattern. The outside is made up of one row of columns, sometimes two, that support the bulk of the roof structure. Inside, a series of walls that reach to the roof separate the interior into rooms. The Naos is the core of the temple, which in smaller sites contains the divine statue. In larger and more important temples, the statue is kept in a separate Adyton, or shrine area, where no-one, not even the priests are allowed to go. The rest of the building is divided up into the Pronaos - the entrance way, the Opisthodomos (storage room), Peristatis (area between columns and walls) and the Pteron (the area outside the columns but still under the roof).

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The temples can be up to 20 m high with many variations on the layouts. The base is usually at least one story above ground level with the most important temples being up to 3 stories. The heavy stone base is the foundation of the temple, and extends to at least half a story below ground level.

Temple are often painted in bright blues and rich reds that work with the white stone to impressive artistic effect. Important and richer temples will be have carvings and reliefs on all the available stone work with lots of sculpture adorning the edges and surrounds. Some sanctuaries charge an admission fee to support the cost of the temples, while others benefit from the patronage of a wealthy sponsor.

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open/settings/6d6hellenic/greek_temples.txt · Last modified: 2013/02/15 16:53 by cyancqueak
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