→ For specific temples in the city of Rome,
see Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.
TEMPLUM is the same word as the Greek τέμενος, from τέμνω to cut off, for templum, according to Servius (ad Aen. I.446), was any place which was circumscribed and separated by the augurs from the rest of the land by a certain solemn formula. The technical terms for this act of the augurs are liberari and effari, and hence a templum itself is a locus liberatus et effatus. A place thus set apart and hallowed by the augurs was always intended to serve religious purposes, but chiefly for taking the auguria. ("Templum locus augurii aut auspicii causa quibusdam conceptis verbis finitus," Varro, de Ling. lat. VII. p81, Bip.). When Varro (de Ling. Lat. VI. p65, Bip.) says that a locus effatus was always outside the city, we must remember that this only means outside the pomoerium, for the whole space included within the pomoerium was itself a templum, i.e. a place in which auspices could be taken [Pomoerium]; but when they were to be taken in any place outside the pomoerium it was always necessary for such a place to be first circumscribed and sanctified by the augur (liberare et effari). The place in the heavens within which the observations were to be made was likewise called templum, as it was marked out and separated from the rest by the staff of the augur. When the augur had defined the templum within which he intended to make his observations, he fixed his tent in it (tabernaculum capere), and this tent was likewise called templum, or more accurately, templum minus. To this minus templum we must refer what Servius (ad Aen. IV.200) and Festus (s.v. minora templa) state, that a templum was enclosed with planks, curtains, &c., attached to posts fixed in the ground, and that it had only one door (exitus). The place chosen for a templum was generally an eminence, and in the city it was the arx, where the fixing of the tent does not appear to have been necessary, because here a place called auguraculum was once for all consecrated for this purpose (Paul Diac. s.v. Auguraculum; cf. Liv. I.18, IV.18; Cic. de Off. III.16).
Besides this meaning of the word templum in the language of the augurs, it also had that of a temple in the common acceptation. In this case too, however, the sacred precinct within which a temple was built, was always a locus liberatus et effatus by the augurs, that is, a templum or a fanum (Liv. X.37; Varro, de Ling. Lat. VI. p65, Bip.); the consecration was completed by the pontiffs, and not until inauguration and consecration had taken place, could sacra be performed or meetings of the senate be held in it (Servius, ad Aen. I.446). It was necessary then for a temple to be sanctioned by the gods, whose will was ascertained by the augurs, and to be consecrated or dedicated by the will of man (the pontiffs). Where the sanction of the gods had not been obtained, and where the mere act of man had consecrated a place to the gods, such a place was only a sacrum, sacrarium, or sacellum [Sacrarium; Sacellum]. Varro (ap. Gell. XIV.7 §7) justly considers the ceremony performed by the augurs as essential to a temple, as the consecration by the pontiffs took place also in other sanctuaries which were not templa, but mere sacra or aedes sacrae. Thus the sanctuary of Vesta was not a templum but an aedes sacra, and the various curiae (Hostilia, Pompeia, Julia) required to be made templa by the augurs before senatusconsulta could be made in them. In what manner a templum differed from a delubrum is more difficult to decide, and neither the ancient nor modern writers agree in their definitions. Some ancients believe that delubrum was originally the name given to a place before or at the entrance of a temple, which contained a font or a vessel with water, by which persons, before entering the temple, performed a symbolic purification (Serv. ad Aen. IV.56, II.225; Corn. Fronto, quoted by Dacier on Fest. s.v. Delubrum); others state that delubrum was originally the name for a wooden representation of a god (ξόανον), which derived its name from librum (the bark of a tree), which was taken off (delibrare) before the tree was worked into an image of the god, and that hence delubrum was applied to the place where this image was erected (Fest. s.v. Delubrum; Massur. Sab.º ap. Serv. ad Aen. II.225). Hartung (Die Rel. d. Röm. I. p143, &c.) derives the word delubrum from liber (anciently luber), and thinks that it originally meant a locus liberatus, or a place separated by the augur from the profane land, in which an image of a god might be erected, and sacred rites be performed. A delubrum would therefore be a sanctuary, whose chief characteristic was its being separated from the profane land. But nothing certain can be said on the subject (cf. Macrob. Sat. III.4).
After these preliminary remarks, we shall proceed to give a brief account of the ancient temples, their property, and their ministers, both in Greece and in Rome. We must, however, refer our readers for a more detailed description of the architectural structure of ancient temples to other works, such as Stieglitz, Archäologie der Baukunst, and others, especially as the structure of the temples varied according to the divinities to whom they were dedicated, and other circumstances.
Temples appear to have existed in Greece from the earliest times. They were separated from the profane land around them (τόπος βέβηλος, or τὰ βέβηλα), because every one was allowed to walk in the latter (Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 10). This separation was in early times indicated by very simple means, such as a string or a rope (Paus. VIII.10 §2). Subsequently, however, they were surrounded by more efficient fences, or even by a wall (ἕρκος, περίβολος, Herod. VI.134; Pollux, 1.10; Paus. passim), the entrance to which was decorated, as architecture advanced, with magnificent Propylaea [Propylaea]. The whole space enclosed in such a περίβολος was called τέμενος, or sometimes ἱερόν (Herod. IX.36, VI.19, with Valckenaer's note; Thucyd. V.18); and contained, besides the temple itself, other sacred buildings, and sacred ground planted with groves, &c. Within the precincts of the sacred enclosure no dead were generally allowed to be buried, though there were some exceptions to this rule, and we have instances of persons being buried in or at least near certain temples. The religious laws of the island of Delos did not allow any p1105 corpses to be buried within the whole extent of the island (Thucyd. III.104: cf. Herod. I.64), and when this law had been violated, a part of the island was first purified by Peisistratus, and subsequently the whole island by the Athenian people.
The temple itself was called νεώς, and at its entrance fonts (περιῤῥαντήρια) were generally placed, that those who entered the sanctuary to pray or to offer sacrifices might first purify themselves (Pollux, 1.10; Herod. I.51). In the earliest times the Greek temples were either partly or wholly made of wood (Paus. V.20 §3; 16 §1, VIII.10 §2), and the simplest of all appear to have been the σηκοί, which were probably nothing but hollow trees in which the image of a god or a hero was placed as in a niche (Hesiod. Fragm. 54, ed. Göttling; Schol. ad Soph. Trach. 1169); for a temple was originally not intended as a receptacle for worshippers, but simply as an habitation for the deity. The act of consecration, by which a temple was dedicated to a god, was called ἵδρυσις. The character of the early Greek temples was dark and mysterious, for they had no windows, and they received light through the door, which was very large, or from lamps burning in them. Vitruvius (IV.5) states that the entrance of Greek temples was always towards the west, but most of the temples still extant in Attica, Ionia, and Sicily have their entrance towards the east. Architecture, however, in the construction of magnificent temples, made great progress even at an earlier time than either painting or statuary, and long before the Persian wars we hear of temples of extraordinary grandeur and beauty. All temples were built either in an oblong or a round form, and were mostly adorned with columns. Those of an oblong form had columns either in the front alone, in the fore and back fronts, or on all the four sides. Respecting the original use of these porticoes see Porticus. The classification of temples, according to the number and arrangement of their columns, will be described presently. The friezes and metopes were adorned with various sculptures, and no expense was spared in embellishing the abodes of the gods. The light which was formerly let in at the door, was now frequently let in from above through an opening in the middle, which was called ὑπαιθρον, and a temple thus constructed was called ὑπαιθρος (Vitruv. l.c.). Many of the great temples consisted of three parts: 1. the πρόναος or πρόδρομος, the vestibule; 2. the cella (ναός, σηκός); and 3. the ὀπισθόδομος. The cella• was the most important part, as it was, properly speaking, the temple, or the habitation of the deity whose statue it contained. In one and the same cella there were sometimes the statues of two or more divinities, as in the Erechtheum at Athens the statues of Poseidon, Hephaestus, and Butas. The statues always faced the entrance, which was in the centre of the prostylus, or front portico. The place where the statue stood was called ἕδος, and was surrounded by a balustrade or railings (ἴκρια, ἐρύματα, Paus. V.11 §2). Some temples also had more than one cella, in which case the one was generally behind the other, as in the temple of Athena Polias at Athens. In temples where oracles were given, or where the worship was connected with mysteries, the cella was called ἄδυτον, μέγαρον, or ἀνάκτορον, and to it only the priests and the initiated had access (Pollux, I.9; Paus. IX.8 §1, VIII.62; 37 §5; Herod. VIII.53, IX.65; Plut. Num. 13; Caes. de Bell. Civ. III.105). In some cases the cella was not accessible to any human being, and various stories were related of the calamities that had befallen persons who had ventured to cross the threshold (Paus. VIII.52 §3; 10 §2; 38 §2; Soph. Oed. Col. 37). The ὀπισθόδομος was a chamber which had its entrance in the back front of a temple, and served as a place in which the treasures of the temple were kept, and thus supplied the place of the θησαυροί which were attached to some temples (cf. Müller, Archäol. d. Kunst, § 288; Stieglitz, Archäol. der Baukunst, vol. II § 1; Hirt, Lehre der Gebäude, § 1; Böckh, ad Corp. Inscript. pp264, &c.).
We now proceed to describe the classification of temples, both Greek and Roman, the latter being chiefly imitated from the former. They were either quadrangular or circular.
Quadrangular Temples were described by the following terms, according to the number and arrangement of the columns on the fronts and sides.
Ἄστυλος, astyle, without any columns (Leonidas Tarent. in Brunck, Anal. vol. I. p237; Plin. H. N. XXXIV.8).
Ἐν παραστάσι, in antis, with two columns in front between the antae (Pind. Ol. VI.1).
Πρόστυλος, prostyle, with four columns in front.
Ἀμφιπρόστυλος, amphiprostyle, with four columns at each end.
Περίπτερος or ἀμφικίων (Soph. Ant. 285), peripteral, with columns at each end and along each side.
Δίπτερος, dipteral, with two ranges of columns (πτερά) all round, the one within the other.
Ψευδοδίπτερος, pseudodipteral, with one range only, but at the same distance from the walls of the cella as the outer range of a δίπτερος.
To these must be added a sort of sham invented by the Roman architects, namely:
Ψευδοπερίπτερος, pseudoperipteral (Vitruv. IV.7), where the sides had only half-columns (at the angles three-quarter columns), attached to the walls of the cella, the object being to have the cella large without enlarging the whole building, and yet to keep up something of the splendour of a peripteral temple.
Names were also applied to the temples, as well as to the porticoes themselves, according to the number of columns in the portico at either end of the temple; namely, τετράστυλος, tetrastyle, when there were four columns in front, ἑξάστυλος, hexastyle, when there were six, ὀκτάστυλος, octastyle, when there were eight, δεκάστυλος, decastyle, when there were ten. There were never more than ten columns in the end portico of a temple; and when there were only two, they were always arranged in that peculiar form called in antis (ἐν παραστάσι). The number of columns in the end porticoes was never uneven, but the number along the sides of a temple was generally uneven. The number of the side columns varied: where the end portico was tetrastyle, there were never any columns at the sides, except false ones, attached to the walls, as in the temple of Fortuna Virilis at Rome, which has a tetrastyle portico, with a column behind each corner column, and then five false columns along each side of the cella: where it was hexastyle or octastyle, there were generally 13 or 17 columns at the sides, counting in the corner columns: sometimes a hexastyle temple had only eleven columns p1106 on the sides. The last arrangement resulted from the rule adopted by the Roman architects, who counted by intercolumniations (the spaces between the columns), and whose rule was to have twice as many intercolumniations along the sides of the building as in front; another example of the rule is furnished by the above-mentioned temple of Fortuna Virilis, which has four columns in front and, altogether, seven on each side. The Greek architects, on the contrary, counted by columns, and their rule was to have twice as many columns along the sides as in front, and one more,1 counting the corner columns in each case: sometimes, however, they followed the other rule, as in the temple at Mylasa, where there are six columns in front and eleven at each side. Another set of terms, applied to temples and other buildings having porticoes, as well as to the porticoes themselves, was derived from the distances between the columns as compared with the lower diameters of the columns. They were the following:
Εὔστυλος, eustyle, the distance between the columns two diameters and a quarter, except in the centre of the front and back of the building, where each intercolumniation (intercolumnium) was three diameters; called eustyle, because it was best adapted both for beauty and convenience.
These five kinds of intercolumniation are illustrated by the following diagram:
The following elevations and plans of temples will aid the reader in understanding the different terms descriptive of the number and arrangement of the columns. They are taken from the plates to Hirt's Geschichte der Baukunst; and although, for the sake of greater clearness and convenience, they are not all taken from actual buildings, but are general representations of each form, yet they are not merely imaginary, for they are founded on a careful comparison of existing remains with the descriptions of Vitruvius.
An engraving of a temple of this form has been given under Antae.
The above engraving exhibits clearly the prodomus or pronaos, or space enclosed by the portico and the side walls projecting beyond the front wall; and the cella, with the statue of the god opposite to the entrance.
Vitruvius (III.1) says that "the Amphiprostylos has every part which the Prostylos has, and moreover it has columns and a pediment in the posticum after the same manner." This posticum (the Greek opisthodomus) appears to have been of two kinds; either a mere portico attached to the back wall of the cella, or a larger space, as shown in the figure.
The above plan is that of a Roman Peripteros: to represent the Grecian Peripteros two columns should be added to each side, and the length thus gained thrown into the opisthodomus. In this form there were two columns between the antae terminating the projecting walls; and the three intercolumniations thus formed were fenced with marble railings (plutei, Vitruv. IV.4), with gates in them giving access to the prodromus, as shown by the lines in the figure.
This species of temple was not only more splendid than the former, but also more fully adapted for the performance of grand religious ceremonies, as the continuous portico all round it would give shelter and passage to a large number of people. Accordingly we find that several of the most celebrated Greek temples are of this form; such as that of Zeus Nemeus between Argos and Corinth, of Concord at Agrigentum, of Theseus at Athens, which has no pillars between the antae of the posticum.
To save space, the one side of the cut represents half of the dipteral temple, the other side half of the pseudodipteral.
The Dipteros may be considered as a Peripteros, increased in size and magnificence by the addition of another row of pillars along each side; the Pseudodipteros as a Peripteros with the side columns moved outwards over the space of one column and intercolumniation, so as to allow of eight columns in front. Vitruvius, who describes the latter first, assigns its invention to the architect Hermogenes. From the expense of such edifices, there were naturally very few examples of them. The far-famed temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and that of Quirinus at Rome, were dipteral. That of Artemis at Magnesia, built by Hermogenes, was pseudodipteral.
the statue of the god
entrances to the cella from the opisthodomus
apartments for the keeper of the temple
Every decastyle temple was also hypaethral, but there were also octastyle and even hexastyle hypaethral temples.
A question has lately been raised whether there ever were any hypaethral temples. The two sides of the question will be found discussed in the following works: Ross, Keine Hypäthraltempel mehr, in his Hellenika, pt. 1 pp1‑39, Halle, 1846, 4to., and Böttiger, Der Hypäthraltempel, auf Grund des Vitruvischen Zeugnisses, gegen Prof. D. L. Ross, erwiesen, Potsdam, 1847, 4to.
These were the chief normal forms of quadrangular temples. The variations made upon them, especially by the union of two or more temples in one building, were very numerous (see Hirt, Stieglitz, and the other authorities). One form deserves particular notice, inasmuch as it was certainly very ancient, and some writers have supposed that it contained the germs of all the other forms; this was what Vitruvius called the Tuscan Temple (Vitruv. IV.7). The passage of Vitruvius is very difficult, and has been differently explained (comp. Stieglitz and Hirt). The following engraving is so constructed as to contain a representation of the three chief forms, real or supposed, of the Tuscan temple.
The above plan is divided by the lines a, b, into three portions, by completing each of which, we have three different plans. Thus, if the middle portion be retained as it is, and the part to the left of b be made like that to the left of a, we have one of the supposed forms. Again, if the middle portion be retained, and the two sides completed on the same plan, namely, like the portion to the left of a, but without the projecting side wall, and with a round column in place of the square pillar which terminates it, we have what others suppose to have been the true original form of the Tuscan temple. In either case, the characteristic feature is the union of three cellae in one temple, dedicated to three associated deities, the middle cella, which (as shown in the figure) was larger than the other two, being assigned to the chief of the three divinities; as in the great temple on the Capitol, the middle cella of which was dedicated to Jupiter, the cella on the right side of the middle one to Minerva, and the remaining one to Juno. Lastly, a later variation of the Tuscan temple, in which its chief peculiarity was lost, was made by retaining only the middle cella, and carrying a peristyle of columns p1110 along each side of it, as represented in the right-hand division of the plan and elevation.
Circular Temples, properly so called, were probably not used by the Greeks in early times. The round buildings of which we have notices were either tholi or mere monumental edifices. Several round buildings of this kind are mentioned by Pausanias; such as the tholus at Athens, in which there were several small silver statues; where the Prytaneis sacrificed (Paus. I.5), and where, according to Pollux (VIII.155) they also banquetted. There was another tholus at Epidaurus, in the sacred grove of Asclepios, which he describes as well worth seeing: it was built of white marble, after the design of Polycleitus, and adorned on the inside with paintings by Pausias (Paus. II.27). (See Stieglitz, vol. II pp38 ff.) Vitruvius (IV.8), however, recognizes two regular forms of circular temples, to which a third must be added.
I. The MONOPTEROS consisted of a single circle of columns, standing on a platform (tribunal), the outer wall of which formed a stylobate or continuous pedestal for the columns, and surmounted by a dome; but without any cella. For the proportions see Vitruvius. The remains of such a temple have been found at the ruins of Puteoli.
II. The PERIPTEROS had a circular cella surrounded by a single peristyle of columns, standing on three steps, and the whole surmounted by a dome. Specimens are preserved in the so‑called temples of Vesta at Rome (see wood-cut on p299) and at Tivoli.a
The proportions of the temples of this form were very carefully regulated. The existing specimens agree in most particulars with the rules laid down by Vitruvius, according to whom the distance of the wall of the cella from the edge of the substruction was one-fifth of the whole diameter of the substruction; and consequently the diameter of the cella (including its wall) was three-fifths of the whole: the internal diameter of the cella was equal to the height of the columns: the height of the dome was equal to a semi-diameter of the whole building: and the centre of the dome was surmounted by a pyramid (or cone), to support an ornament equal in height to the capitals of the columns. (For a full discussion of this passage, see Hirt, Lehre d. Gebäude, pp29, 30).
Both species of round temples are mentioned by Servius (ad Aen. IX.408), who says that they were peculiar to Vesta, Diana, Hercules, and Mercury; and he distinguishes the Monopteros by the following description: tectum sine parietibus columnis subnixum. p1111
III. Another form, of which we have the chief example in the Pantheon, besides some smaller specimens (see Hirt, § 19), consists of a circular cella surmounted by a dome, without a peristyle, but with an advanced portico. The following engraving represents such a temple, with a prostyle tetrastyle portico, of two slightly different kinds (compare the left and right sides of the portico in the plan); the niches are for the statues of three associated deities, such as Apollo, Diana, and Latona; and thus this form of temple may be regarded, in its religious design, as a variation of the old Tuscan temple.
The portico of such a temple might be hexastyle, or even octastyle, as in the Pantheon.
Respecting the more minute details of the construction of temples of both sorts, which our space does not permit us to enter into, the reader is referred to the works of Hirt and Stieglitz, as quoted above; and lists and brief descriptions of the chief Greek and Roman temples, with references to the works in which they are more fully described, will be found in Müller's Handbuch der Archäologie der Kunst, under the heads of the respective periods in the history of the art.
Besides the terms which have now been explained, temples were designated by the names of the deities to whom they were dedicated, as the Ὀλυμπεῖον or temple of Zeus Olympius; the Παρθενών, or temple of Athena Parthenos, &c.; and sometimes a name was given according to some peculiar feature of the structure, as in the case of the Parthenon at Athens, which was called Hecatompedon, because its front was exactly 100 feet wide.
Independently of the immense treasures contained in many of the Greek temples, which were either utensils or ornaments, and of the tithes of spoils, &c. (Herod. VII.132; Diodor. XI.3; Polyb. IV.33),º the property of temples, from which they derived a regular income, consisted of lands (τεμένη), either fields, pastures, or forests. In Attica we sometimes find that a demos is in possession of the estates of a particular temple: thus the Peiraeeus possessed the lands belonging to the Theseum: in what their right consisted is not known; but of whatever kind it may have been, the revenues accruing from such property were given to the temples, and served to defray the expenses for sacrifices, the maintenance of the buildings, &c. For this purpose all temple-property was generally let out to farm, unless it was, by some curse which lay on it, prevented from being taken into cultivation (Harpocrat. s.v. Ἀπὸ μισθωμάτων: cf. Isocrat. Areop. 11). The rent for such sacred domains was, according to Demosthenes (in Eubulid. p1318), received by the demarch, probably the demarch of the demos by which the sacred domain was occupied; for in other cases we find that the rents were paid to the authorities entrusted with the administration of the temples (Böckh, Staatsh. I. p327, &c., II p339). The supreme control over all property of temples belonged to the popular assembly (Demosth. in Neaer. p1380).
Respecting the persons entrusted with the superintendence, keeping, cleaning, etc., of temples, we scarcely possess any information. [Aeditui] We have mention of persons called κλειδοῦχοι, κλῃδοῦχοι, νεοφύλακες, who must have been employed as guards and porters (Aeschyl. Suppl. 294), although it is not certain whether these functions were not performed by priests who were occasionally called by names derived from some particular function. At Olympia φαιδρύνται were appointed who belonged to the family of Pheidias, and had to keep clean the statue of the Olympian Zeus (Paus. V.14 §5).
In the earliest times there appear to have been very few temples at Rome, and in many spots the worship of a certain divinity had been established from time immemorial, while we hear of the building of a temple for the same divinity at a comparatively late period. Thus the foundation of a temple to the old Italian divinity Saturnus, on the Capitoline, did not take place till p1112 498 B.C. (Liv. II.21; Dionys. VI.1; Plut. Publ. 12). In the same manner Quirinus and Mars had temples built to them at a late period. Jupiter also had no temple till the time of Ancus Martius, and the one then built was certainly very insignificant (Dionys. II.34; Liv. I.33). We may therefore suppose that the places of worship among the earliest Romans were in most cases simple altars or sacella. The Roman temples of later times were constructed in the Greek style. The cella was here, as in Greece, the inner spacious part of the temple which contained the statue or statues of the gods, and an altar before each statue (Vitruv. IV.5). The roof which covered the cella is called testudo, but it was in most cases not wholly covered, in order to let the light in from above (Varro, ap. Serv. ad Aen. I.505). The entrance of a Roman temple was, according to Vitruvius, if possible, towards the west, which side was at the same time faced by the image of the divinity, so that persons offering prayers or sacrifices at the altar looked towards the east (cf. Isidor. XV.4, 7; Hygin. de Limit. p153, ed. Goes). If it was not practicable to build a temple in such a position, it was placed in such a manner that the greater part of the city could be seen from it; and when a temple was erected by the side of a street or road, it was always so situated that those who passed by could look into it, and offer their salutations to the deity.
As regards the property of temples, it is stated that in early times lands were assigned to each temple, but these lands were probably intended for the maintenance of the priests alone. [Sacerdos] The sacra publica were performed at the expense of the treasury, and in like manner we must suppose, that whenever the regular income of a temple, arising from fees and fines, was not sufficient to keep a temple in repair, the state supplied the deficiency, unless an individual volunteered to do so.
The supreme superintendence of the temples of Rome, and of all things connected with them, belonged to the college of pontiffs. Those persons who had the immediate care of the temples were the Aeditui.
1 The Roman rule might also be stated according to the number of columns thus:— twice as many columns along the sides as in front, and one fewer.
a For a near-perfect specimen of a peripteral circular temple at Rome, see my photos of the Tempietto di Diana in the Pincian Gardens; even if for our purposes, it has two flaws: it has no cella, and it does not date back to Antiquity.
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