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Greek Temple Architecture with Oriental Touch

Because the Hellenic temple derived directly from its

primitive forbear, often occupying the same sacred site .... it belongs to its landscape, its accurate geometry and

proportion seeming to be manmade and perfected extensions

of the Greek hills themselves . . . In many ways, therefore, the primitive temples were satisfactory and their features were kept by the Dorians, who improved rather than innovated and seldom discarded unnecessarily (Ibid. 144).

In other words, the highest and best use of Greek architectural science did derive from something. Just where the majesty and magnificence came from, and how much the Doric Order owed to its architectural forebears east of Greece, is at the core of the scholarly debate. One view of the differences between Greek and Egyptian temples with columns cites the difference between Egypt, a wellsettled fertile agricultural civilization, and Greece, which had little arable land and obliged its people to become sailors, traders, Mediterranean explorers, including in their explorations the western and eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Herodotus, writing in 450 BC, described the Egyptian culture as one in which peasants had only to sit and wait for the Nile to flood to produce a good harvest.

This view of the differences between Greeks and Egyptians emphasizes the fact that Greek temple stone architecture at its best was the culmination of much experimentation from the time of the mud-brick huts onward. Furthermore, it continued to experiment even after the Doric Order was institutionalized, and that is why one sees the elaboration of the Ionic and Corinthian columns at about the same time as the Doric ones were obtaining full exposure in the Hellenistic world. "It is essential to appreciate the implications of this expansion, in order to understand the basic Egyptian pyramid and the lightness of the buildings on the Acropolis in Athens . . . The Gre...

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