Good Temples Of Zeus And Hera Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Greece, Athens, History, Greek, Architecture, Construction, Zeus, Real Estate

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/01/05


The famous Olympia is situated on the Peloppones island. Probably there is no a man who would not be familiar with the name of this city. This is the place where from prehistoric times the famous Olympic Games were held in honor of the Greek god Zeus and until today, this is where the Olympic Flame is lit, it makes its long journey to the venue of the next Olympic Games right from this place. Combined with ancient monuments it creates an unusually strong impression. The Olympic Games in Ancient Greece were a grand event dedicated to deities and sports. Therefore, Olympia was organized in the way to carry them out, amazed by its size and beauty. And even now, it is not difficult to imagine its former glory watching all the remaining fragments. In this paper, two temples will be described that were built in the neighborhood not far from each other. One temple was erected in honor of Supreme Greek God Zeus and the other in honor of his wife Hera.


The architecture of Ancient Greece is one of the most important stages in the development of world architecture. The unparalleled excellence and organically made monuments of the ancient Greek architecture has become the exemplars for subsequent periods in the history of architecture. The development of the greek City-States (polises) and social life of the Greeks contributed to the formation of new types of buildings, (the Ancient Greek architecture was superior to the architecture of any pre-existing epoch) (Greek Architecture, 2013). "Bouleuterions" - the Council Houses, theaters, stadiums, gymnasiums, "palestras" - schools. Greek temples dedicated to the gods-patrons of the urban communities, haven`t been closed and mysterious sanctuaries (as in Ancient Egypt), these temples combined the functions of religious and public buildings. Imaginative and realistic character of Greek architects who sought to express the meaning of each part of the building in architectural forms, clearly manifested in the creation of the order system - one of the greatest achievements of the Ancient Greek architecture. The main aesthetic problems were the differences in underlying forms, proportions and details of major orders of the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian building types. The order colonnade has become a major element of the Ancient Greek architecture. It`s made public buildings and temples open, spatially associated it with the surrounding nature. The colonnade was used in the composition of the Greek residential buildings in which living quarters were grouped around the patio, enclosed by columns (Grillo, 2004).

The Temple of ZeusThe history and construction specifics

Temple of Zeus at Olympia, was built by architect Libon of Elis between 468 and 456 years B.C. and it is one of the most magnificent monuments of strict and powerful Doric Order. In ancient times, the temple was known for its statue of Zeus made by Phidias; he used gold and ivory and the statue was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the world (see figure 1).
Figure 1
The temple was completely destroyed by the earthquake, only a few stones from the walls were left on the podium, surrounded by drums of columns, fragments of walls and entablature. The careful study of these ruins and ancient authors` descriptions (especially Pausanias) helped to reconstruct the architectural appearance of the building. It was a Doric peripter 27,68 x 64,12 m size on stylobate, with the number of columns 6 x 13. It was the largest temple of the Peloponnese. The interior consisted of a pronaos, cella and opisthodomos. The temple was built entirely from solid local poros (clam shell limestone) and was covered with a thin layer of a fine white marble plaster; roofing tiles, the sim and sculptures were marble. The hardness of limestone allowed to achieve exceptional accuracy in the performance characteristic of the Greek heyday architecture. There were no additional steps to the entrance of the temple but sloping ramps (Turner, 1994). Intercolumniums were the same on all sides of the temple; only extreme spans of each facade were slightly narrowed; the corner columns were thickened in comparison with the rest (5 cm). The trunks, apparently had no entasis were markedly thinned: upper and lower drums columns of the main facade were respectively 2.25 and 1.72 m in the diameter. Columns height were 10.43 m - twice distance between the axles; they consisted of fourteen drums handled by twenty flutes. The entablature`s height was equal to the height of the columns (1: 2.50) and was massive and simple. The severity of the forms once softened by festive coloring, traces of which were found on some fragments; on the metopes of the exterior frieze deprived of sculptural decorations, there were no traces of paint (probably they were white) (Greek Architecture, 2013). Eventually, the temple became enriched with the new offerings. Thus, in 456 BC., its pediment was decorated with a gold shield. The similar offering was a huge, embroidered and painted Phoenician purple curtain separated the first two aisles. Suspended by a cord, it was hanging down the floor for the first barrier, opening a colossal seated figure of Zeus in the depths of the cella; a bunk colonnade emphasized the statue`s sizes. Phidias` Zeus was one of the most important and famous in the ancient monumental sculpture dedicated to images of the Greek mythology. The Temple of Zeus was built in a period of a great political upheaval in Greece, shortly after the victorious end of the Persian Wars. Olympia with its famous games was the embodiment of the idea of ​​national unity of the entire Hellenistic world, and the construction of a huge temple at that time, ruling over an ensemble of a sacred Olympia, held together the unity by the artistic display of grandeur and power of the main deity. The motif of Hellenistic superiority and victory over the barbarians was expressed in mythological form on the west pediment of the temple; it showed the struggle of the Greek Lapiths and the gross centaurs - represented the enemies of the Hellenistic world, the barbarians in general (Argos, City, Ancient Greece, 2013). Class-aristocratic nature of the Greek Peloponnese clearly comes through in the story sculpture of the east pediment (see figure 2), representing the contest of the King Oenomaus with the future king of the Peloppones in the chariot race.
Figure 2

The temple of HeraThe history and construction specifics

As likely as not that an older place of worship was situated here previously. According to Pausanias, the temple was built about 8 years after Oxyl had become the ruler of Elis. Therefore, it happened in 1096 BC. In fact, this event occurred much later. According to some researchers, the first temple was built in about 650 BC. It was a small Doric temple, which had a cella and pronaos. Around 600 BC, the Opisthodomos and pteron was added here (Menadier, 1994).
Nowadays, it is believed that the temple was built in 600 BC; it was then that it was introduced as a gift to the Olympic sanctuary from residents of Scillūs (the ancient city of Elis). According to some researchers, the original temple was built in honor of Zeus, who was considered the chief god in Olympia. According to other sources, the temple was built around 580 BC in honor of Hera. It was during this period of power over Olympia was transferred from Triphylia to Elis. Alternatively, this great event could happen in the 5th century BC, during the construction of the temple of Zeus (Kourkoulis, 2009).
The temple has a direction from west to east. Its dimensions are 50,01x18,76 m. at the level of the stylobate. Its elongated shape are inherent in the early Doric architecture. Periptera consists of 6 and16 columns (see figure 3).
Figure 3
Originally, the columns were made of wood. Over time, they were replaced by the stone columns. However, this replacement lasted for many years, starting with the ancient period and up to the Roman period. A column was divided into a trunk and a capital. The role of capitals was to underline and highlight an important constructive point, the point of application of two forces: the support and oppressive. The main part of the capitals was a cushion or echinus. Its trunk covered the grooves and flutes in order to underscore the value of a column. Thus, a column turned into a beam that moved up the vertical lines.
A thread of the columns was made on consideration of the current style of architecture. All columns differ significantly in proportions and in details (see figure 4).
Figure 4
At the bottom, the temple is made of limestone. Its upper part is made of brick. Wooden entablature has terracotta cladding and terracotta tiles. The Mid acroteria ring has a diameter of 2.3 m. It is made of terracotta too. Currently acroteria is situated in the Archaeological Museum (Grillo, 2004).
The temple itself is divided into three parts - a pronaos, cella and Opisthodomos. Pronaos and Opisthodomos are made in the form of the portico, which has two columns in antah. Cella has an input portion such as a door height of 2.9 m. Its width of the entrance is located in the pronaos, where it is separated by two rows of columns along. Every second column was inserted into the inner partition, which was located across. Four walls covered the five niches (Kourkoulis, 2009). There is a statue of Zeus and Hera on a hill at the end of the cella. Hera sat on the throne, and Zeus stood before her. Various relics were preserved in opistodome, such as the epitome of a tyrant Cypselus made of gold, wood and ivory. It was decorated with mythological scenes. There is also a small bed made of ivory "Hippodamia Toy". In addition, there was a table of Colotes, on which there were painted olive crowns of the winners of the Olympic Games.

The cultural significance

A temple is considered as an actual dwelling of a god in the form of statues. Many festive processions were coming to this dwelling, it was a real holiday, its outer plastic appearance was no less, but even more important than its interior space. Harmony and clarity of its relations appear in a full light. What is the Greek Doric temple? What was the process of formation of this order? Apparently, the stone temples of the heyday had evolved from archaic wooden architectural structures. The main structural elements of the ancient temple of the 6-5th centuries have their roots from the archaic era of wooden temples. Heraion can serve as a striking illustration of confirming the correctness of this general provision, the temple of Hera in Olympia was built in the beginning of 7th century. The temple was built of mud bricks, its floors were wooden and the roof was made of clay tiles. Ornamental decoration were represented by an acroteria terracotta; the columns that surround the building of the temple were made of wood. Therefore, the materials that could be found easily were used the most. By the example of the same temple, one can trace the gradual “fossilization” of the Greek architecture. The decayed wooden columns were replaced by the stone ones, and most of them were already made of stone in the classical period. The ways of development of ancient architecture does not seem necessary for this type of work; some changes in the treatment of stone columns and the development of definite proportions lead to the formation of the basic features characteristic of the so-called Doric order that is defined in essentially the architectural face heyday. The architectural forms are characterized by a large harmony and clarity in its architectonics in relation to the architecture of the previous stage. Then, putting columns became converging, and colonnade served as a plastic unit and at the same time, they emphasized aesthetically the balancing designs of the crushing and bearing parts.
Before the acquaintance with the further process of developing type classical temple of the 5th century, it is necessary to learn the basic elements of the construction of the temple in a general way. Typical temples of the 6-5th centuries are peripter, i.e. a temple, which is in terms of an elongated rectangle, surrounded on all sides by a colonnade. The entire structure is placed on a stone base - podium. Colonnade bore the brunt of the overlap. It is structurally and visually supported horizontally dissected and heavy entablature with the help of its pronounced vertical rhythm. Entablature and colonnade are the two main elements that form the Greek temple.
How Would it be Built Today The modern and high quality equipment for construction is an important aspect that requires special financial expenses. If the temples of Zeus and Hera were built today, it is likely that only the new technologies would be used, employed in the construction of large-scale projects. The construction process would pass much faster due to the large number of new technologies and materials.
For instance, a solid construction of buildings and houses would be suitable for the construction of the Temple of Zeus and Hera, because this is a good technology that helps to build large structures and buildings of any form in the short term. Solid work is this new technology in the construction of houses, which creates a beautiful ventilated facade. In addition, these types of work can be done by using specific finishes facing products and materials, such as artificial and natural stone. The modern building houses, as well as monolithic, consist of the main process steps: heating and pouring of concrete, new technologies in the construction of houses: setting clear formwork, curing and stripping, as well as the reinforcement cage device, would have made the temples of the ancient Greek gods much more resistant to natural influences. A good strong formwork panels in themselves consist of different types, which are based on the desired forms. Monolithic type of constructions are made using a variety of types and kinds of shuttering, which are separated depending on the specific cases and types of works.
Nowadays, the modern building of the temples of Zeus and Hera and structures of various types can use the monolithic technology that will help to create a structure wall formwork for both vertical and horizontal surfaces, as well as crawling formwork for rounded structures and buildings. High-rise building itself implies a use of several types of skeletons: frames with beams on the load-bearing columns and frames with bearing longitudinal walls. There should be added a few words about the pouring of concrete mixtures. Most often, the concrete mixture is made on concrete plants and other specialized companies. In this case, the mixers supply concrete on the object itself, it saves the time of construction. In this way, the concrete mix is ​​supplied only for large volumes of fill. And if the object needs only small volumes of fill, such as altars of sacrifices, the concrete is delivered on conventional machines and is prepared using concrete mixer, or by hand. Full supply of concrete in a mold is made by means of a concrete pump or crane. Concrete should be compacted thoroughly in the formwork and then a constructor can get a high quality product. This process carries out with an economic benefit to the production and helps reduce the cost of finishing the premises of temples to a minimum.
Therefore, innovation is becoming more widely used. High-rise building, such as a temple for example, creates a great scope for design of various structures and buildings. Solid work on the construction of temples to Zeus and Hera could be carried out on the free plan within structures if the construction technology emphasizes only a clear standard sizes. As a result, a monolithic construction of temples and structures implies the creation of large-scale facilities with various kinds of planning. The speed of the creation of such temples and structures of various types occupies a leading position. The disadvantages of this type of construction can be either high labor intensity, enhanced gradients properties, or a low strength at the huge size of the building. If the temples of Zeus and Hera had survived until today, new temples are unlikely to have lived up to the distant future. All these secrets and scientific achievements allow people to create temples with high technological properties and quality indicators.
Conclusion Ancient Greek architecture heritage is the basis for the subsequent development of the world architecture. The reasons for such a sustained impact of the Greek architecture are the objective qualities: simplicity, truthfulness, clarity of the composition, harmony and the proportionality of common shapes and all the parts in the plasticity of the organic connection of architecture and sculpture, the close unity of the architectural aesthetic and design-tectonic construction elements. The ancient architecture features had a full compliance of forms and constructive basis, what has created an extraordinary integrity. The basic construction were stone blocks that created the walls. The columns, entablature (lying on the support-column overlap) were treated with different profiles, acquired decorative items, enriched with sculpture. The Greeks brought the processing of the architectural structures and everything without the exception (the decor details) to the highest degree of the perfection and elegance. These structures can be called a giant pieces of jewelry in which there was nothing minor to the master. The Ancient Greek architecture is closely related to philosophy, because it is based on the understanding of the strength and beauty of a man who was in close unity and harmonious balance with the surrounding nature and social environment. Ancient Greece received a high development of the social life, so the architecture and art had social character.

Works Cited

"Greek Architecture." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1-2. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.
Turner, Lee Ann. "The Display Of The Specifications For The Temple Of Zeus Basileus At Lidavia." American Journal Of Archaeology 98.2 (1994): 315. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.
Grillo, Stefano. "Science In Culture." Nature 430.7000 (2004): 616. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Mar. 2015.
"Argos, City, Ancient Greece." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
Menadier, Blanche. "The Western Chamber Of The Sixth-Century Temple Of Hera Akraia At Perachora." American Journal Of Archaeology 98.2 (1994): 313. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
Kourkoulis, S. K., and K. E. Moupagitsoglou. "Influence Of Flutes On The Mechanical Behaviour Of Ancient Greek Columns." Strain 45.5 (2009): 468-479. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

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