OUTLINE FOR ARCHAIC GREEK ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL SCULPTURE

OUTLINE FOR ARCHAIC GREEK ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL SCULPTURE

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OUTLINE FOR ARCHAIC GREEK ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL SCULPTURE The foremost architectural expression of ancient Greek culture was always the peristyle temple. This kind of temple is rectangular in plan, usually consisting of three rooms placed one behind the other in the following order: the pronaos or frontporch, the naos or central cult room, and a storeroom at the back called an opisthodomos or an adyton depending on where one enters the room (Janson fig. 5.7) . This type of building seems to have been inspired by the throne room in Bronze Age Mycenaean palaces on mainland Greece and is called a megaron (See the example at Tiryns, ca. 1250 BCE in Janson fig. 4-19 and website images of the megaron at Mycenae). The seemingly illogical placement of a peristyle or colonnade around the megaron has practical origins. Before Greek stonemasons learned from the Egyptians the technical ability to render these buildings in stone, the walls were made of unbaked mud brick, and the roof was made of heavy thatch. In order to protect the mud brick walls from wind- driven rain, the eaves of the heavy thatch roof were broad, extending out as much as 15 feet beyond the wall, thus necessitating a row of wooden posts beneath the edge of the eaves to help support the enormous overhang, as in the Protogeometric heroon at Lefkandi, ca. 950 BCE. (website images ). Three hundred years later, when the temples came to be made of stone, there was no longer a need for broad eave overhang, but because the peristyle emphasizes so perfectly the solid geometric structure of the building, the Greeks decided to render the surrounding posts in stone, too. Unlike their Egyptian counterparts who forced the viewer to approach Egyptian buildings on the central axis, Greek architects always made certain that the first complete view of a peristyle temple, after penetrating the temenos (sanctuary) wall, is of a corner, so that the viewer sees two colonnades intersecting at right angles, thus better defining the solid geometry of the structure as in
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OUTLINE FOR ARCHAIC GREEK ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL SCULPTURE

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