Built Offering: On the Conception and Design of the Greek Temple

Mark Wilson Jones

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


The relationship between the function and appearance of buildings can tell us much about the way they operate in society, about how they were conceived by their designers and perceived by their audience. The longstanding quest to explain the form of Greek temples and the Doric and Ionic orders that dressed them has been much debated, including the possibility that this responded to the practicalities of construction. Yet relatively little consideration has been given to the relationship between form and function in the sense of the purposes temples fulfilled. Despite the paucity of evidence for the seventh century B.C., the period of the monumentalization of the Greek temple, advances can be made provided that we recognize the limitations of certain theories of design on the one hand and disciplinary divides affecting the study of Graeco-Roman architecture on the other.
This paper improves our understanding by demonstrating that the Greek temple, aside from its status as the house of a god, as equally fundamentally a collective offering to that god. Among other things this helps makes sense of the massive investment in temple building, since offerings had to dent the wealth of the giver.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient Greek Cult II: Sacred Architecture - Sacred Space - Sacred Objects.
Subtitle of host publicationAn International Colloquium in Honor of Erik Hansen
EditorsJ. Tae Jensen, G. Hinge, P. Schultz, B. L. Wickkiser
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherDIOMEDES Press
Number of pages15
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2017

Publication series

NameMonographs of the Danish Institute for Mediterranean Studies


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