The second day of class we visited the Temple of Hephaisteon, also known as the Thesion. This is the best-preserved Ancient Greek temple and a standard example of Greek architecture. It has a classical columnade with 6 columns in front and 13 (2x +1) on the side. This temple is in the Doric style, invented at Corinth.
Part of the reason it was preserved so well was because it was turned into a Christian church. When the temples were converted to Christianity, the sides were changed. The Ancient Greek temples were oriented to the east, so the gods could “see” the sunrise. When Christians used the temples, they flipped the side so the entrance was on the west.
The Roman architect Vitruvius wrote books on the architecture of these Ancient Greek temples. These works pointed out that the architecture didn’t have straight lines in Greek buildings. The platform and the columns are both curved. This is for aesthetic purposes as well as it allows water to drain. There are no straight lines on these columns, but they bulge out like a parabola. He also pointed out that the Doric style columns are simpler, thicker and more “masculine” whereas Ionic columns are more ornate and feminine. The columns of this temple are Doric with fluting. The fluting catches the shadow and demonstrates shape of column.
The frieze on this temple features the deeds of Theseus, famous for killing the Minotaur, and deeds of Heracles. There are also carvings of the centaurmachy.
The next building we visited was the Stoa of Attolis was built by King Pergamum in the 2nd century BC. It was built for commercial purposes and had less decorative, utilitarian columns. On our way back to campus for lunch, we walked back through the acropolis.