Obsessed with perfection, the Greeks were very
mathematically and aesthetically orientated in the construction of their
temples. They used entasis to correct the optical illusion of concavity which
would have resulted if the sides of the columns were straight and parallel.
In both the Parthenon and Temple of Apollo, there
is an even number of columns at the front to give symmetry and balance to the
entrance leading to the interior rooms. The Parthenon in Athens is the largest
completed peripteral Doric temple in Greece, built completely of pentelic
The Parthenon consists of a rectangular floor, 69.5 by 30.9m, surrounded by a
series of three low steps and a colonnade of fluted columns, 8 by 17, with
square capitals. The statue of Athena was placed in the naos and the
opisthodomos was utilised as a treasury.
The form was further enriched by colour and bronze
accessories found on the metopes and pediments2.
The gilded metopes depicted Olympian gods fighting giants and Theseus leading
troops to fight the Amazons, as well as a temple for worship and sacrifice it
was also an icon of power and strength.
to the Parthenon, the Hellenistic temple of Apollo at Didyma played a
significant role in religious and political life of ancient Miletus. Religious
festivals, offerings and sacrifices were all orchestrated at the temple.
However, the from and style of the building differs slightly to that of
overall floor plan is notably bigger, 118 by 59m and stood on a seven-stepped
crepidoma rather than the three stepped one of the Parthonon. The colonnade
also consists of more columns, twenty-one along the sides with a decastyle
façade. Unlike the Parthenon, the temple of Apollo does not have an
opisthodomos but it does have a pronaos, consisting of three rows of 4 columns3.
The entrance to the cella is much more obscure than the Parthenon. Between the
pronaos and the cella is a large wall with a small window allowing people to
glance at the interior. In order to enter the cella, there are two
barrel-vaulted pathways either side of the pronaos.
The Parthenon was purely constructed in the Doric
order; however, the Temple of Apollo has Ionic columns along the peristyle with
two Corinthian columns in the east chamber. The passages end on the third step
of a large main staircase which then takes you down into the hypaethral cella.
The temple was not completed until Roman times, when they added a decorated
frieze above the architrave4.
achieve perfect form, both temples are oriented so there is an oblique view.
This gives a much better three-dimensional view of the temple adding to its
aesthetic appearance. Location was vital, for example the Parthenon dominates
the hill of the Acropolis at Athens5.
2 Parthenon, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/athens/attractions/parthenon/a/poi-sig/1289715/359421,
3 The temple of Apollo at Didyma,
4 Temple of Apollo at Didyma, http://turkisharchaeonews.net/site/temple-apollo-didyma,
5 Greek Architecture, University of
Nottingham, Dr DidemEkici, 20.10.17