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Ancient Greece

Greek temples were designed and constructed according to set proportions, mostly determined by the lower diameter of the columns or by the dimensions of the foundation levels. The nearly mathematical strictness of the basic designs thus reached was lightened by optical refinements. In spite of the still widespread idealised image, Greek temples were painted, so that bright reds and blues contrasted with the white of the building stones or of stucco. The more elaborate temples were equipped with very rich figural decoration in the form of reliefsand pedimental sculpture. The construction of temples was usually organised and financed by cities or by the administrations of sanctuaries. Private individuals, especially Hellenistic rulers, could also sponsor such buildings. In the late Hellenistic period, their decreasing financial wealth, along with the progressive incorporation of the Greek world within the Roman State, whose officials and rulers took over as sponsors, led to the end of Greek temple construction. New temples now belonged to the tradition of Roman architecture, which, in spite of the Greek influence on it, aimed for different goals and followed different aesthetic principles.The basic principles for the development of Greek temple architecture have their roots between the 10th century BC and the 7th century BC. In its simplest form as a naos, the temple was a simple rectangular shrine with protruding side walls (antae), forming a small porch. Until the 8th century BC, there were also apsidal structures with more or less semi-circular back walls, but the rectangular type prevailed. By adding columns to this small basic structure, the Greeks triggered the development and variety of their temple architecture.

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