Archaic Greek Architecture - The first Greek temples
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Archaic Greek Architecture

Sicilian Greek temple

There were no more kings in Greece after the Dark Ages, and so there were no more palaces or fancy tombs. Instead, people began to build big temples for the gods. The Egyptians had already been doing this for a thousand years, so it was not a new idea, but it was new in Greece. A lot of Greeks were working in Egypt at this time, and they probably got the idea from that (as they did for stone sculpture as well at this time).

Greek temples are the most famous part of Greek architecture. They combine the Greek tradition of the megaron house with the Egyptian temple to make a new, simple, and elegant form.

Early Greek temple

The first Greek temples, built around 800 BC, were made of wood, which was easier to build in than stone. They were long rectangular buildings with a porch all the way around them supported by columns made of tree trunks, like this, and thatched or tiled roofs. (Compare these to Chinese palaces of the Shang Dynasty, just a little earlier.)

(Notice the stone altar in front of the temple for sacrifices).

Learn by doing: build a Lego Greek temple, or do it in Minecraft
More about Archaic Greek Architecture

Bibliography and further reading about Archaic Greek architecture:

More about Classical architecture
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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