What factors were particularly important in determining the architectural layout and development of Greek sanctuaries?
By way of introduction, something could be said about the choice of location: this had much less to do with architects than with tradition, often going back to Mycenaean times and perhaps earlier e.g. the Acropolis and Delphi. The importance of the oracle was a factor at Delphi; the availability of a water supply also seems to have been a factor in all three cases (the Acropolis, Delphi and Olympia).
Otherwise, the only requirements for a sanctuary are a space (temenos) for crowds to gather and an altar. In the early stages, there is not much for architects to work on!
From the 8th century B.C. there is a move towards monumentalisation within sanctuaries: this is seen most clearly in the building of temples. This probably should not be seen as due to religious fervour: such buildings were seen as embellishment, closely linked to the identity of the community or polis. As time went on, we find temples occupying the central position within the enclosure, displacing altars towards an easterly position: this can be seen at Delphi but was by no means always the case e.g. Olympia.
Temples were built on a particularly large scale at Olympia and Athens. At Olympia, however, it is the processional route leading to the altar which is the key factor in the layout: the temple of Zeus is not in a central position: that was occupied by the altar. The arrangement of buildings is haphazard. To some extent, the importance of the processional route in determining layout can be seen at Delphi e.g. the positioning of the treasuries.
Geographical features obviously become very significant once sanctuaries become embellished with monuments. This can be seen at Delphi, where the steep incline necessitates terracing, therefore breaking up the sanctuary and reducing the space available: the theatre was the only place where a crowd could gather. At Olympia, on the other hand, where the temenos is completely flat, the problem does not arise.
Finance was also of major importance in the architectural development of sanctuaries. All three major sanctuaries are of exceptional scale and architectural decoration. Delphi and Olympia attracted contributions from the pan Hellenic community, while the unique position of Athens, at the head of an empire, made large sums of money available for Perikles' building programme.
At Olympia and Delphi, therefore, pan Hellenic status is linked to their development. In both we find treasuries, erected by individual poleis as dedications and houses for their offerings e.g. the treasury of Gela at Olympia and Siphnos at Delphi. Both these pan Hellenic sanctuaries featured other structures associated with games e.g. the stadia, in both cases outside the temenos. At Delphi, we find a club house dedicated by the people of Cnidos, and at Olympia there are the gymasion and palaistra. By contrast, the Acropolis, as a local sanctuary, does not exhibit such pan Hellenic features.
The architectural development of the Acropolis in the fifth century is unique in that it was due to a single, coherent building programme. The scale and magnificence of the programme were exceptional: the finest example is, of course, the Parthenon. The relative positions of the buildings has also been carefully considered: for example, the Erechtheion, which replaced the 'old' temple of Athena, was moved to the north, thereby preventing it from being dwarfed by the Parthenon; the Propylaia was also aligned along the length of the Acropolis. However, this programme also took account of earlier structures: this can be seen in the layout of the Erechtheion, which accommodates the tomb of Kekrops and the site where Poseidon's trident struck. There were other considerations: for example, the use of the Ionic order in the later buildings (e.g. the Erechtheion), symbolising the position of Athens as champion of the Ionian Greeks.
The concluding paragraph should take account of the range of factors influencing layout and architectural development.
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