For the ancient Greek civilisation the natural landscape was considered sacred, literally the ‘landscape of the gods’ It was not just a parcel of land surrounding a man made construction, but a holy place one embodying and reflecting the character of the God. Within each part of the landscape the Greeks believed there existed a guardian spirit of a place. Whether it was in the mountains, hills, valleys, islands or seascape it was the builder’s duty to search out and identify the sacred spirit integral to each location. Then only after the spirit was divined would the architecture be introduced into a holy partnership with the existing features of the topography of the land. This has parallels in Asian cultures particularly where building on the different parts of the ‘dragon’s body’ are forbidden and can bring chaos or tempest upon those who breach these beliefs. Therefore the siting of a Greek temple was not rational, but an explicit and planned geometric exercise that was all at once intuitive, subtle and an emotional process with implications that in our own time are only beginning to be fully comprehended. The temple was to collaborate with its surroundings, not dominate it, as thought the elements, wild though they may be, yet had some unrecorded harmony…in order to discover an inner balance between man and nature.
TagsAncient Greek TempleClassical ArchitectureCultural DevelopmentGreek ArchitectureGuardian SpiritLandscape of the GodsThe Culture Concept
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.