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Oriental Influences on Greek Temple Architecture

The purpose of this research is to examine the Oriental influences on the development of Greek temple architecture. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which Greek temple architecture attained its highest form, and then to explore the scholarly debate on the origins of such architecture in a manner that has the effect of showing the extent and kind of influence upon the perfection of geometric and monumental structures that may have come from more archaic civilizations in Persia and Crete, but especially from Egypt.

To understand the extent of Oriental influences on the emergence of Greek temple architecture, it is important to realize what any such influences might have wrought. In this connection, an important term that is used repeatedly throughout the literature of classical Greek architecture is Doric Order. An appreciation of this term requires a rethinking of meaning of the word order. Doric is the name given to the oldest of the three Greek types (i.e., orders) of column, entablature, and stylobate or support for the base of the column, as a unit of architectural style. One might be hard put to it to describe the Doric Order without benefit of illustration; simply put, the Doric order is neither the Ionic order (with capitals or column tops that look like a scroll) nor the Corinthian order (with capitals sporting acanthus leaves). One source connects the physical attributes of the Doric order with the historical context of its greatest flowering in a way that begs the question of how it came to be perfected in Greek culture:

The [Doric order] . . . is perhaps the most perfect of the Greek architectural Orders and certainly, in its own setting of sharp hills and violent foreground lights and shadows, in a landscape full of detail, with milky distances, always changing with the light from honey gold to violet and dim rose, the most perfectly satisfactory architecture to Western twentiethcentur...

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Oriental Influences on Greek Temple Architecture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:02, December 07, 2021, from