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p97 Antae

Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on p97 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

ANTAE (παραστάδες), were originally posts or pillars flanking a doorway (Festus, s.v. Antes). They were of a square form, and are, in fact, to be regarded rather as strengthened terminations of the walls than as pillars affixed to them. There is no clear case of the application of the word to detached square pillars, although Nonius explains it by quadrae columnae (1 §124).


[image ALT: A schematic representation of a small tetrastyle Graeco-Roman temple, the end supports being not columns, but square pillars attached to the side walls; with a plan of the same building beneath. It is an illustration of those attached pillars, called antae.]
A, A, the antae;
B, B, the cella or ναός.
The chief use of antae was in that form of temple, which was called, from them, in antis, (ναὸς ἐν παραστάσι), which Vitruvius (III.1 s2 § 2, Schn.) describes as having, in front, antae attached to the walls which enclosed the cella; and in the middle, between the antae, two columns supporting the architrave. The ruins of temples, corresponding to the description of Vitruvius, are found in Greece and Asia Minor; and we here exhibit as a specimen a restoration of the front of the temple of Artemis Propylaea, at Eleusis, together with a plan of the pronaos: [right arrow]

Vitruvius gives the following rules for a temple in antis of the Doric order:— The breadth should be half the length; five-eighths of the length should be occupied by the cella, including its front walls, the remaining three-eighths by the pronaos or portico; the antae should be of the same thickness as the columns; in the intercolumniations there should be a marble balustrade, or some other kind of railing, with gates in it; if the breadth of the portico exceeds forty feet, there should be another pair of columns behind those between the antae, and a little thinner than they; besides other and minor details (Vitruv. IV.4).

In the pure Greek architecture, the antae have no other capitals than a succession of simple mouldings, sometimes ornamented with leaves and arabesques, and no bases, or very simple ones; it is only in the later (Roman) style, that they have capitals and bases resembling those of the columns between them. The antae were generally of the same thickness throughout; the only instance of their tapering is in one of the temples of Paestum.

In a Greek private house the entrance was flanked by a pair of antae with no columns between them; and the space thus enclosed was itself called παραστάς (Vitruv. VI.10 s7 § 1 Schn.). So also Euripides uses the term to denote either the pronaos of a temple (Iph. in Taur. 1126), or the vestibule of a palace (Phoen. 415).

The following are the chief of the other passages in which antae or παραστάδες are mentioned:— Eurip. Androm. 1121, where παραστάδος κρεμαστὰ signifies the arms suspended from one of the antae of the temple; Cratin. Dionys. Fr. 9, ap. Polluc. VII.122, X.25, Meineke, Fr. Com. Graec. vol. II p42; Xen. Hier. XI.2; Hero, Autom. p269; Inscript. ap. Gruter. p207. See also Stieglitz, Archäologie der Baukunst, vol. I pp236‑242. [Templum.]


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Page updated: 9 Aug 04