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The Parthenon in Athens: form, location, layout

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The Parthenon in Athens was constructed in the style of the Ancient Greek Doric order, whilst the Temple of Apollo in Didyma was constructed in the Ionic order. This differentiation was due to location and time period, for example the Parthenon was constructed in mainland Greece between 447-438BC whilst the Temple of Apollo was constructed in 300BC in Asia minor. This has caused both temples to show differences in style and form. The Parthenon shows Doric properties, for example the columns are thick and short and little decoration or detail is displayed on the capital. Due to the Temple of Apollo showing Ionic properties, the columns are much thinner, they have volutes (spiral scroll on the capital) and the quantity of columns is much greater. The Columns on the Parthenon also sit straight onto the platform of the temple, this is due to the thickness and height of the columns, however due to the Temple of Apollo having slender tall columns they need to sit on a rectangular base section.


There is also a variation in the foundations and location of the temples, The Parthenon was designed to be seen and admired form a distance, therefore it is located on high ground, on the other hand the Temple of Apollo is located on flat ground, this means that a higher base is needed to give the same sense of magnitude.


Due to the Parthenon being a Doric temple it features a rectangular floor plan with a series of steps surrounding the outer perimeter, columns are then located around the periphery of the space. The columns are used to support the roof of the structure, 6 Columns are also positioned at the entrance of the temple. The interior consists of 2 central rooms, the larger room is used as an inner sanctuary whilst the smaller room acts as a treasury (, n.d.). The Apollo temple has more steps to climb before reaching the temple, 7 in total, compared to the Parthenon’s 3 (, 2018). The Apollo temple also has more columns spread down the perimeter of the space and double the number of rows running down the side of the temple. The inside of the Apollo temple does not have a roof, instead there is a large open sanctuary that is accessed by two passages which descend into the dark, this opens into the sun lit inner sanctuary (, n.d.). This shows that although both temples are used as a religious monument the use of space is different, this is due to the Parthenon offering an internal area for religious activities whilst the temple of Apollo offers an external area.

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