Page 0477

477 GREECE-LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND ART.

from their Asiatic home they brought with them a knowledge of pillared structure. It was

not so much, therefore, as inventors that the Ionian and Dorian Greeks produced their

respective styles of column, but rather as improvers and beautifiers of what already

existed in a ruder and less perfect form. Side by side the two columnar styles appeared in

the Hellenic architecture-the Doric and the Ionic each perfect in its kind-each capable of

the grandest effects known to the builder's art.

In their general structure the two orders of temple differed but little. The ground- plan

and design in both were the same. Walled terraces were first constructed lifting the

edifice above the profane level of its surroundings. Upon the platform thus produced the

temple proper was reared. Around the cella were the four walls, and around these those

sublime colonnades of fluted pillars which have remained the admiration of all after ages.

The covered space of the Greek temple was thus greatly extended beyond the rectangle of

the walls. On the capitals rested a decorated impost. This consisted of three parts: the

architrave, the frieze, and the cornice. The roof rose over all in a gentle slope,

presenting at each end a triangular space, called the, tympanum. Upon this were set those

immortal sculptures the parallel of which has never been seen in the world.

The interior space of the classic temple was lighted from above by an opening in the roof,

called the hypaithron. In the background of this single hall stood the statue of the god

to whom the edifice was dedicated. In some instances, when the temple was of great size,

the inner space Was divided by transverse rows of columns, and these stood sometimes one

row above the other, forming a gallery around the hall. Such was the arrangement in the

great temple of Neptune at Paestum.

Not everything in temple decoration was left to the artistes chisel, but much to the

painter's brush. Column, impost, gable, and ceiling were all artistically colored. In

strength and brilliancy of hue the pigments employed by the Greek painters of this age

surpassed all rivalry.

Whatever the brightest and richest tints of blue and gold and crimson could do to set the

temple in a blaze of glory, radiant as the sunshine of the Grecian sky, that was added by

the decorative skill of the artist to the already sublime work of the builder and the

sculptor. Both the Doric and Ionic temples were thus improved with the beautiful effects

of color deftly laid on under the guidance of the keenest artistic perception.

In Asia Minor and the Aegean islands the Ionic style of structure prevailed over the

Doric, but in Athens and throughout Hellas proper both styles flourished together. As

already said, the two differed in the column-not in the general character of the edifice.

The Doric pillar was imposing, massive. It gave a solemn grandeur to the building of which

it was the principal feature. It added an air of seriousness and solidity. It was plain to

the last degree of severity. It was baseless and virtually without a capital, having only

a massive, circular disk upon the top to support the architrave. The diameter of the

pillar was so great as to shorten its apparent height; the shaft tapered but little; it

stood calmly in the repose of infinite strength. The Ionic column, on the other hand, was

the pillar of beauty. Its height was augmented by the slender and tapering shaft. Elegance

and grace and delicacy added each her charm to this fluted dream of Greek architecture.

The Ionic pillar rose on a beautiful pedestal and was crowned with a capital ornate and

airy. It was the poetry, as the Doric was the prose, of the magnificent temples of Greece.

Of such grand structures almost every Greek city could make its boast. These were the

splendid edifices which were laid in ruins by the Persians. These were the grand

structures which rose again with added beauty in the age of Pericles, when Grecian

civilization shone with its richest luster. Theo it was that the ACROPOLIS became the seat

of the guardian gods of the land, and was adorned as no other hill of the world. Temples

and statues, the work of the best artists ever produced by the race of man, shone afar

over land and