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Ancient Greek Mythology: Ancient Greek Temples

Ancient Greek Mythology, Religion, Art

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Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of ancient Greek religion are their large and beautiful temples. The first stone temples appeared some time during the 8th century BCE and, in the 7th century BCE, they began to appear in large numbers. Today not much remains of them but they point to a grandeur and glory that we can only imagine.

Temples were political as well as religious creations. The site of each temple was chosen for its political or social value, for example in a city-center or on the highest part of the city. Sacred sites or sanctuaries were strategically placed in and around the city in order to facilities ritual processions as well as bind together the various neighborhoods in religious observances.

Greek temples were, then, as much civic structures as they were sacred. Possession of a sacred site said something about a city's relationship with the divine - loss of a sacred site through disaster or war was intolerable.

Almost all Greek temples were oriented facing East and, if possible, facing that precise spot in the East where the sun rises on a specific day of the year. This day would have been one deemed special to the god in question and when the Greeks would honor the god with special sacrifices and probably a festival.

Ancient Greek Temples
Layout of Greek Temples Evolution of Greek Temple Design
Layout of Greek Temples Evolution of Greek Temple Design
Comparison of Greek Temples Columns of Greek Temples
Comparison of Greek Temples Columns of Greek Temples

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