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GREEK ARCHITECTURE.


The supreme achievement of Greek architecture was the temple. In imperial Rome, or in any typical city of the Roman Empire, the most extensive and imposing buildings were secular--basilicas, baths, amphitheaters, porticoes, aqueducts. In Athens, on the other hand, or in any typical Greek city, there was little or nothing to vie with the temples and the sacred edifices associated with them. Public secular buildings, of course, there were, but the little we know of them does not suggest that they often ranked among the architectural glories of the country. Private houses were in the best period of small pretensions. It was to the temple and its adjunct buildings that the architectural genius and the material resources of Greece were devoted. It is the temple, then, which we have above all to study.

Before beginning, however, to analyze the artistic features of the temple, it will be useful to consider the building materials which a Greek architect had at his disposal and his methods of putting them together. Greece is richly provided with good building stone. At many points there are inexhaustible stores of white marble. The island of Paros, one of the Cyclades, and Mount Pentelicus in Attica--to name only the two best and most famous quarries--are simply masses of white marble, suitable as well for the builder as the sculptor. There are besides various beautiful colored marbles, but it was left to the Romans to bring these into use. Then there are many commoner sorts of stone ready to the builder's hand, especially the rather soft, brown limestones which the Greeks called by the general name of poros. [Footnote: The word has no connection with porous] This material was not disdained, even for important buildings. Thus the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, one of the two most important religious centers in the Greek world, was built of local poros. The same was the case with the numerous temples of Acragas (Girgenti) and Selinus in Sicily. An even meaner material, sun-dried brick, was sometimes, perhaps often, employed for cella walls. Where poros or crude brick was used, it was coated over with a very fine, hard stucco, which gave a surface like that of marble.

It is remarkable that no use was made in Greece of baked bricks before the period of Roman domination. Roof-tiles of terra-cotta were in use from an early period, and Greek travelers to Babylonia brought back word of the use of baked bricks in that country. Nevertheless Greek builders showed no disposition to adopt baked bricks for their masonry.

This probably hangs together with another important fact, the absence of lime-mortar from Greek architecture. Lime-stucco was in use from time immemorial. But lime-mortar, i.e., lime mixed with sand and used as a bond for masonry, is all but unknown in Greek work. [Footnote: The solitary exception at present known is an Attic tomb built of crude bricks laid in lime-mortar] Consequently in the walls of temples and other carefully constructed buildings an elaborate system of bonding by means of clamps and dowels was resorted to. Fig. 46 illustrates this and some other points. The blocks of marble are seen to be perfectly rectangular and of uniform length and height. Each end of every block is worked with a slightly raised and well-smoothed border, for the purpose of securing without unnecessary labor a perfectly accurate joint. The shallow holes, III, III, in the upper surfaces are pry-holes, which were of use in prying the blocks into position. The adjustment having been made, contiguous blocks in the same course were bonded to one another by clamps, I, I, embedded horizontally, while the sliding of one course upon another was prevented by upright dowels, II, II. Greek clamps and dowels were usually of iron and they were fixed in their sockets by means of molten lead run in. The form of the clamp differs at different periods. The double-T shape shown in the illustration is characteristic of the best age (cf. also Fig. 48).

Another important fact to be noted at the outset is the absence of the arch from Greek architecture. It is reported by the Roman philosopher, Seneca, that the principle of the arch was "discovered" by the Greek philosopher, Democritus, who lived in the latter half of the fifth century B. C. That he independently discovered the arch as a practical possibility is most unlikely, seeing that it had been used for ages in Egypt and Mesopotamia; but it may be that he discussed, however imperfectly, the mathematical theory of the subject. If so, it would seem likely that he had practical illustrations about him; and this view receives some support from the existence of a few subterranean vaults which perhaps go back to the good Greek period. Be that as it may, the arch plays absolutely no part in the columnar architecture of Greece. In a Greek temple or similar building only the flat ceiling was known. Above the exterior portico and the vestibules of a temple the ceiling was sometimes of stone or marble, sometimes of wood; in the interior it was always of wood. It follows that no very wide space could be ceiled over without extra supports. At Priene in Asia Minor we find a temple (Fig. 49) whose cella, slightly over thirty feet in breadth, has no interior columns. The architect of the Temple of Athena on the island of AEgina (Fig. 52) was less venturesome. Although the cella there is only 21 1/4 feet in breadth, we find, as in large temples, a double row of columns to help support the ceiling. And when a really large room was built, like the Hall of Initiation at Eleusis or the Assembly Hall of the Arcadians at Megalopolis, such a forest of pillars was required as must have seriously interfered with the convenience of congregations. We are now ready to study the plan of a Greek temple. The essential feature is an enclosed chamber, commonly called by the Latin name cella, in which stood, as a rule, the image of the god or goddess to whom the temple was dedicated. Fig. 47 shows a very simple plan. Here the side walls of the cella are prolonged in front and terminate in antae (see below, page 88). Between the antae are two columns. This type of temple is called a templum in antis. Were the vestibule (pronaos) repeated at the other end of the building, it would be called an opisthodomos, and the whole building would be a double templum in antis. In Fig. 48 the vestibules are formed by rows of columns extending across the whole width of the cella, whose side walls are not prolonged. Did a vestibule exist at the front only, the temple would be called prostyle; as it is, it is amphiprostyle. Only small Greek temples have as simple a plan as those just described. Larger temples are peripteral, i.e., are surrounded by a colonnade or peristyle (Figs. 49. 50). In Fig. 49 the cella with its vestibules has the form of a double templum in antis, in Fig 50 it is amphiprostyle. A further difference should be noted. In Fig. 49, which is the plan of an Ionic temple, the antae and columns of the vestibules are in line with columns of the outer row, at both the ends and the sides; in Fig. 50, which is the plan of a Doric temple, the exterior columns are set without regard to the cella wall, and the columns of the vestibules. This is a regular difference between Doric and Ionic temples, though the rule is subject to a few exceptions in the case of the former.

The plan of almost any Greek temple will be found to be referable to one or other of the types just described, although there are great differences in the proportions of the several parts. It remains only to add that in almost every case the principal front was toward the east or nearly so. When Greek temples were converted into Christian churches, as often happened, it was necessary, in order to conform to the Christian ritual, to reverse this arrangement and to place the principal entrance at the western end.

The next thing is to study the principal elements of a Greek temple as seen in elevation. This brings us to the subject of the Greek "orders." There are two principal orders in Greek architecture, the Doric and the Ionic. Figs. 51 and 61 show a characteristic specimen of each. The term "order," it should be said, is commonly restricted in architectural parlance to the column and entablature. Our illustrations, however, show all the features of a Doric and an Ionic facade. There are several points of agreement between the two: in each the columns rest on a stepped base, called the crepidoma, the uppermost step of which is the stylobate; in each the shaft of the column tapers from the lower to the upper end, is channeled or fluted vertically, and is surmounted by a projecting member called a capital; in each the entablature consists of three members--architrave, frieze, and cornice. There the important points of agreement end. The differences will best be fixed in mind by a detailed examination of each order separately.

Our typical example of the Doric order (Fig. 51) is taken from the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina--a temple probably erected about 480 B.C. (cf. Fig. 52.) The column consists of two parts, shaft and capital. It is of sturdy proportions, its height being about five and one half times the lower diameter of the shaft. If the shaft tapered upward at a uniform rate, it would have the form of a truncated cone. Instead of that, the shaft has an ENTASIS or swelling. Imagine a vertical section to be made through the middle of the column. If, then, the diminution of the shaft were uniform, the sides of this section would be straight lines. In reality, however, they are slightly curved lines, convex outward. This addition to the form of a truncated cone is the entasis. It is greatest at about one third or one half the height of the shaft, and there amounts, in cases that have been measured, to from 1/80 to 1/140 of the lower diameter of the shaft.[Footnote: Observe that the entasis is so slight that the lowest diameter of the shaft is always the greatest diameter. The illustration is unfortunately not quite correct, since it gives the shaft a uniform diameter for about one third of its height.] In some early Doric temples, as the one at Assos in Asia Minor, there is no entasis. The channels or flutes in our typical column are twenty in number. More rarely we find sixteen; much more rarely larger multiples of four. These channels are so placed that one comes directly under the middle of each face of the capital. They are comparatively shallow, and are separated from one another by sharp edges or ARRISES. The capital, though worked out of one block, may be regarded as consisting of two parts--a cushion- shaped member called an ECHINUS, encircled below by three to five ANNULETS, (cf. Figs. 59, 60) and a square slab called an ABACUS, the latter so placed that its sides are parallel to the sides of the building. The ARCHITRAVE is a succession of horizontal beams resting upon the columns. The face of this member is plain, except that along the upper edge there runs a slightly projecting flat band called a TAENIA, with regulae and guttae at equal intervals; these last are best considered in connection with the frieze. The FRIEZE is made up of alternating triglyphs and metopes. A TRIGLYPH is a block whose height is nearly twice its width; upon its face are two furrows, triangular in plan, and its outer edges are chamfered off. Thus we may say that the triglyph has two furrows and two half-furrows; these do not extend to the top of the block. A triglyph is placed over the center of each column and over the center of each intercolumniation. But at the corners of the buildings the intercolumniations are diminished, with the result that the corner triglyphs do not stand over the centers of the corner columns, but farther out (cf. Fig. 52). Under each triglyph there is worked upon the face of the architrave, directly below the taenia, a REGULA, shaped like a small cleat, and to the under surface of this regula is attached a row of six cylindrical or conical GUTTAE. Between every two triglyphs, and standing a little farther back, there is a square or nearly square slab or block called a METOPE. This has a flat band across the top; for the rest, its face may be either plain or sculptured in relief. The uppermost member of the entablature, the CORNICE, consists principally of a projecting portion, the CORONA, on whose inclined under surface or soffit are rectangular projections, the so-called MUTULES (best seen in the frontispiece), one over each triglyph and each metope. Three rows of six guttae each are attached to the under surface of a mutule. Above the cornice, at the east and west ends of the building, come the triangular PEDIMENTS or gables, formed by the sloping roof and adapted for groups of sculpture. The pediment is protected above by a "raking" cornice, which has not the same form as the horizontal cornice, the principal difference being that the under surface of the raking cornice is concave and without mutules. Above the raking cornice comes a SIMA or gutter-facing, which in buildings of good period has a curvilinear profile. This sima is sometimes continued along the long sides of the building, and sometimes not. When it is so continued, water-spouts are inserted into it at intervals, usually in the form of lions' heads. Fig 53 shows a fine lion's head of this sort from a sixth century temple on the Athenian Acropolis. If it be added that upon the apex and the lower corners of the pediment there were commonly pedestals which supported statues or other ornamental objects (Fig. 52), mention will have been made of all the main features of the exterior of a Doric peripteral temple.

Every other part of the building had likewise its established form, but it will not be possible here to describe or even to mention every detail. The most important member not yet treated of is the ANTA. An anta may be described as a pilaster forming the termination of a wall. It stands directly opposite a column and is of the same height with it, its function being to receive one end of an architrave block, the other end of which is borne by the column. The breadth of its front face is slightly greater than the thickness of the wall; the breadth of a side face depends upon whether or not the anta supports an architrave on that side (Figs.


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