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A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea was widely used in ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.
Some noteworthy examples of porticos are the East Portico of the United States Capitol, the portico adorning the Pantheon in Rome and the portico of University College London. Porticos are sometimes topped with pediments. Palladio was a pioneer of using temple-fronts for secular buildings. In the UK, the temple-front applied to The Vyne, Hampshire, was the first portico applied to an English country house.
A pronaos ( UK: // or US: // ) is the inner area of the portico of a Greek or Roman temple, situated between the portico's colonnade or walls and the entrance to the cella , or shrine. Roman temples commonly had an open pronaos, usually with only columns and no walls, and the pronaos could be as long as the cella. The word pronaos (πρόναος) is Greek for "before a temple". In Latin, a pronaos is also referred to as an anticum or prodomus.
The different variants of porticos are named by the number of columns they have. The "style" suffix comes from the Greek στῦλος, "column".
The tetrastyle has four columns; it was commonly employed by the Greeks and the Etruscans for small structures such as public buildings and amphiprostyles.
The Romans favoured the four columned portico for their pseudoperipteral temples like the Temple of Portunus, and for amphiprostyle temples such as the Temple of Venus and Roma, and for the prostyle entrance porticos of large public buildings like the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. Roman provincial capitals also manifested tetrastyle construction, such as the Capitoline Temple in Volubilis.
The North Portico of the White House is perhaps the most notable four-columned portico in the United States.
Hexastyle buildings had six columns and were the standard façade in canonical Greek Doric architecture between the archaic period 600–550 BCE up to the Age of Pericles 450–430 BCE.
Some well-known examples of classical Doric hexastyle Greek temples:
Hexastyle was also applied to Ionic temples, such as the prostyle porch of the sanctuary of Athena on the Erechtheum, at the Acropolis of Athens.
With the colonization by the Greeks of Southern Italy, hexastyle was adopted by the Etruscans and subsequently acquired by the ancient Romans. Roman taste favoured narrow pseudoperipteral and amphiprostyle buildings with tall columns, raised on podiums for the added pomp and grandeur conferred by considerable height. The Maison Carrée at Nîmes, France, is the best-preserved Roman hexastyle temple surviving from antiquity.
Octastyle buildings had eight columns; they were considerably rarer than the hexastyle ones in the classical Greek architectural canon. The best-known octastyle buildings surviving from antiquity are the Parthenon in Athens, built during the Age of Pericles (450–430 BCE), and the Pantheon in Rome (125 CE). The destroyed Temple of Divus Augustus in Rome, the centre of the Augustan cult, is shown on Roman coins of the 2nd century CE as having been built in octastyle.
The decastyle has ten columns; as in the temple of Apollo Didymaeus at Miletus, and the portico of University College London.
The only known Roman decastyle portico is on the Temple of Venus and Roma, built by Hadrian in about 130 CE.
Selinunte was an ancient Greek city on the south-western coast of Sicily in Italy. It was situated between the valleys of the Cottone and Modione rivers. It now lies in the comune Castelvetrano, between the frazioni of Triscina di Selinunte in the west and Marinella di Selinunte in the east. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis. Of the five temples, only the Temple of Hera, also known as "Temple E", has been re-erected. At its peak before 409 BC the city may have contained up to 30,000 people, excluding slaves.
Ancient Greek architecture came from the Greek-speaking people whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Anatolia and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around 600 BC.
The Erechtheion or Temple of Athena Polias is an ancient Greek Ionic temple-telesterion on the north side of the Acropolis, Athens, which was primarily dedicated to the goddess Athena. The building, made to house the statue of Athena Polias, has in modern scholarship been called the Erechtheion in the belief that Pausanias' description of the Erechtheion applies to this building. However, whether the Erechtheion referred to by Pausanias is indeed the Ionic temple or an entirely different building has become a point of contention in recent decades.
The Maison carrée is an ancient Roman temple in Nîmes, southern France; it is one of the best preserved Roman temples to survive in the territory of the former Roman Empire.
The Temple of Hephaestus or Hephaisteion, is a well-preserved Greek temple dedicated to Hephaestus; it remains standing largely intact today. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George Akamates. The building's condition has been maintained due to its history of varied use.
The Temple of Athena Nike is a temple on the Acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the goddesses Athena and Nike. Built around 420 BC, the temple is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. It has a prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance, the Propylaea. In contrast to the Acropolis proper, a walled sanctuary entered through the Propylaea, the Victory Sanctuary was open, entered from the Propylaea's southwest wing and from a narrow stair on the north. The sheer walls of its bastion were protected on the north, west, and south by the Nike Parapet, named for its frieze of Nikai celebrating victory and sacrificing to their patroness, Athena and Nike.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to classical architecture:
Ancient Roman temples were among the most important buildings in Roman culture, and some of the richest buildings in Roman architecture, though only a few survive in any sort of complete state. Today they remain "the most obvious symbol of Roman architecture". Their construction and maintenance was a major part of ancient Roman religion, and all towns of any importance had at least one main temple, as well as smaller shrines. The main room (cella) housed the cult image of the deity to whom the temple was dedicated, and often a table for supplementary offerings or libations and a small altar for incense. Behind the cella was a room or rooms used by temple attendants for storage of equipment and offerings. The ordinary worshiper rarely entered the cella, and most public ceremonies were performed outside where the sacrificial altar was located, on the portico, with a crowd gathered in the temple precinct.
Greek temples were structures built to house deity statues within Greek sanctuaries in ancient Greek religion. The temple interiors did not serve as meeting places, since the sacrifices and rituals dedicated to the respective deity took place outside them, within the wider precinct of the sanctuary, which might be large. Temples were frequently used to store votive offerings. They are the most important and most widespread building type in Greek architecture. In the Hellenistic kingdoms of Southwest Asia and of North Africa, buildings erected to fulfil the functions of a temple often continued to follow the local traditions. Even where a Greek influence is visible, such structures are not normally considered as Greek temples. This applies, for example, to the Graeco-Parthian and Bactrian temples, or to the Ptolemaic examples, which follow Egyptian tradition. Most Greek temples were oriented astronomically.
A cella or naos is the inner chamber of an ancient Greek or Roman temple in classical antiquity. Its enclosure within walls has given rise to extended meanings, of a hermit's or monk's cell, and since the 17th century, of a biological cell in plants or animals.
A pseudoperipteros is a building with engaged columns embedded in the outer walls, except the front of the building. The form is found in classical architecture in ancient Greek temples, especially in the Hellenistic period. In Roman temples, the pseudoperipteral form became usual, where there were columns behind the portico as well. Typically the front has a portico with free-standing columns, but columns on the other three sides of the walls are engaged.
Prostyle is an architectural term designating temples featuring a row of columns on the front. The term is often used as an adjective when referring to the portico of a classical building, which projects from the main structure. First used in Etruscan and Greek temples, this motif was later incorporated by the Romans into their temples.
In classical architecture, amphiprostyle denotes an ancient temple with a portico both at the front and the rear, where the columns on the narrow sides are not between antae. The number of columns rarely exceeded four in the front and four in the rear. The best-known example is the tetrastyle small Temple of Athena Nike at Athens. Other known examples are the Temple of Artemis Agrotera outside Athens, and the hexastyle Temple of the Athenians at Delos.
In architecture, an engaged column is a column embedded in a wall and partly projecting from the surface of the wall, sometimes defined as semi- or three-quarter detached. Engaged columns are rarely found in classical Greek architecture, and then only in exceptional cases, but in Roman architecture they exist in abundance, most commonly embedded in the cella walls of pseudoperipteral buildings.
The Heraion of Perachora is a sanctuary of the goddess Hera situated in a small cove of the Corinthian gulf at the end of the Perachora peninsula. In addition to a temple of Hera of unusual construction and antiquity, the remains of a number of other structures have also been found, including an L-shaped stoa, a large cistern, dining rooms, and a second potential temple. The Sanctuary of Hera at Perachora is 14.2 kilometres (8.8 mi) north-northwest of Corinth and 75.9 kilometres (47.2 mi) west of Athens. Although there is debate between Argos, Megara and Corinth, the sanctuary was probably under the control of Corinth, as it faced the harbors of that powerful city across the Corinthian gulf. Cult activity at the site continued from perhaps the 9th century BCE to 146 BCE, when the Roman general Mummius sacked Corinth during the war with the Achaean League. In the Roman period, domestic structures were built on the site, indicating that the area was no longer a sanctuary. This site is significant for the study of the origins of Greek temple architecture and rural cults.
The Amphiareion of Oropos, situated in the hills 6 km southeast of the fortified port of Oropos, was a sanctuary dedicated in the late 5th century BCE to the hero Amphiaraos, where pilgrims went to seek oracular responses and healing. It became particularly successful during the 4th century BCE, to judge from the intensive building at the site. The hero Amphiaraos was a descendant of the seer Melampos and initially refused to participate in the attack on Thebes because he could foresee that it would be a disaster. In some versions of the myth, the earth opens and swallows the chariot of Amphiaraos, transforming him into a chthonic hero. Today the site is found east of the modern town Markopoulo Oropou in the Oropos municipality of Attica, Greece
A peripteros is a type of ancient Greek or Roman temple surrounded by a portico with columns. It is surrounded by a colonnade (pteron) on all four sides of the cella (naos), creating a four-sided arcade. By extension, it also means simply the perimeter of a building, when that perimeter is made up of columns. The term is frequently used of buildings in the Doric order.
The Temple of Hera Lacinia, or Juno Lacinia, otherwise known as Temple D, is a Greek temple in the Valle dei Templi, a section of the ancient city of Agrigentum in Sicily.
Temple E at Selinus in Sicily is a Greek temple of the Doric order. It is found on the hill to the east of the city's acropolis. Temple E is also known as the Temple of Hera because an inscription found on a votive stela indicates that it was dedicated to Hera; however, some scholars argue that it must have been dedicated to Aphrodite on the basis of structural parallels. It was built towards the middle of the sixth century BC on top of the foundations of a more ancient building. It is the best conserved of the temples of Selinus but its present appearance is the result of anastylosis performed—controversially—in 1959, by the Italian archaeologist Jole Bovio Marconi.