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Greek Temples

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Parthenon in Athens is a monument in Greek mainland, a classical temple located at the top of Acropolis. Constructed in 5th Century BCE, it was devoted to Athena Parthenos (Greek Goddess) to emphasise the power of Athens. Out of the classical Greek architectural orders (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian), Parthenon uses Doric order, being considered the largest Doric temple in Greece

At the façade of the classical temple there are 8 by 17 Doric columns. Compared to earlier Doric temples Parthenon had subtle optical refinements, consequently it also solved the corner problem. These consisted of slightly concave foundations/columns which appear straight. Parthenon is home to the statue of Athena which has 23 small Doric columns surrounding the statue and 6 standard Doric columns which pillar the porch. Furthermore, the Classical temples in Greek mainland, including Parthenon, are designed to be looked at from the outside and perceived as ‘perfect’; reflecting on the fact that these temples are only to be seen from the exterior and not to be inhabited.

On the other hand, a typical temple in Asia Minor is built on different ground therefore the temples incorporate Ionic order. Compared to the Parthenon in Athens and classic temples these are taller, thinner, fluted and rest of a flat surface whereas Doris orders consist of a thick column, no base, and much larger. Despite this, the room which contains Athena’s treasure in Parthenon accommodates 4 Ionic columns which reinforce the roof [4] hence some Classical temples in Greek mainland incorporate both Doric and Ionic styles.

The temple of Apollo in Didyma is a temple in Asia Minor, very different to Acropolis of Athens (Doric form). In ancient Greece this temple is known to have been the fourth largest[5], holding within it both political and deeply religious beliefs causing numerous rulers (e.g. Alexander the Great) to come to the temple for guidance. In total Apollo had a total of 3 known temples (whereas Parthenon has 2) although some were destroyed; for example, the second temple. Compared to Parthenon in Athens, this temple is much larger in width although the length of both temples are roughly the same. In fact, the additional temple (Hevenishe Didyamion) in the temple of Apollo in Didyma was thought to be ‘’twice the size of Athens Parthenon’’

Despite this, this third temple was built to resemble a Classical Greek temple from the outside, similar to Parthenon, hence reflecting the same beliefs in having a ‘perfect’ exterior. However, unlike the classical Greek temple, the interior of Didyma had the adyton (inner chamber) was on the ground floor due to being built around a ‘sacred spring’, whereas the adyton of the Classical Greek temple sat right above the temple platform. The inner chamber of Didyma also was left open for religious portrayals like sacred trees.

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