Greek temple architraves

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Temple of Hera - Agrigento, Sicily (ca. 450 BC)

Temple of Hera – Agrigento, Sicily (ca. 450 BC)

To make the temples look more impressive, Greek architects started to build temples on top of small stone platforms with steps going up to them. This picture is from the Doric temple of Hera, also at Agrigento in Sicily. It was built about 450 BC. Can you see how the columns have lines running up and down them? That is to imitate the lines left by the axes which took the bark off the tree trunks, when columns were still being made from tree trunks. We call the lines flutes.

Temple at Segesta

Temple at Segesta

The facades (fa-SAHDS – fronts) of Archaic Greek temples were built just like the old wood ones, translated into stone. On this Doric temple from Segesta (also in Sicily, built around 430 BC) you can see the old tree-trunks that are now stone columns, and the triangular roof (the pediment) which was once the wooden roof beams. In between you can see sets of vertical lines with spaces between them. These are the triglyphs, and the spaces between them are called metopes. The triglyphs are copies in stone of the ends of the wooden roof beams from the old wooden temples.

Learn by doing: build a Greek temple out of Lego or in Minecraft
More about Archaic Greek Architecture

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By |2017-06-30T15:10:58+00:00June 30th, 2017|Architecture, Greeks|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Greek temple architraves. Study Guides, June 30, 2017. Web. December 15, 2018.

About the Author:

Dr. 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, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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