Greek Temples, Theatres, and Shrines

Greek Temples, Theatres, and Shrines

Greek Temples, Theatres, and Shrines

Greek Temples, Theatres, and Shrines

Excerpt

The aim of this book is twofold. Not only does it set out to show the monuments which still stand within the large territory covered by ancient Hellas, as expressions of a living art, but it also intends to reveal the actual purpose of these buildings and to reconstruct in our mind's eye what today are only ruins.

Even if the temples and shrines of ancient Hellas were today still standing unharmed and in their original state, they would be no more to us than examples of architecture and art. One is only able to grasp their essential meaning if one has first come to an understanding, through the study of Greek culture and religion, of the beliefs which were the reason for their having been built; of the ceremonies which took place in them and of the mythology which had permeated them since ancient times and justified their existence. To reveal all this for us once more is the aim of the first part of this book.

I should like to thank Professor Dr Helmut Berve for writing this section with great clarity and that wide knowledge gained by his ever-inquiring mind.

The further task of this book is to present the architecture itself in its formal and historical aspects. Certainly whoever roams through Hellenic regions today--whether in Greece itself or in South Italy and Sicily or in the area of Hellenic settlements on the west coast of Asia Minor--will be everywhere enchanted by the magic of the ruins and by the landscape which spreads out magnificently around them. But beyond these purely romantic impressions the second part of the book sets out, for the sake of the Graecophil and the historian alike, to reconstruct the buildings as they where--magnificent, self-contained creations, independent of their whole environment, the manifestations of the highest art of building which, from before the earliest period of Hellenic life, were already clearly and prophetically conceived, during the centuries in which the flowering of Hellenic culture found its fullest expression.

As well as giving a picture of each building in its entirety and final form, this part of the book shows the development of Greek architecture as a whole, gives the history of each individual temple and shrine, and discusses the forms of mythology and religion of their time. The discrepancy between the wish of the contractor, who was governed by the demands of his cult and who . . .

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