Temples And Economics In The Archaic And Classical Period

2407 words - 10 pages

Temples and Economics in the Archaic and Classical Period

During the Archaic and Classical periods in Ancient Greece, the technique and scheme of arts had dramatically developed, and temple buildings became more decorative and more complex. The development of the temple buildings, such as the painting and crafting skills, and the change in construction technique and building materials, indicated an increase of the local economy. Nearly all ancient complex societies built some forms of monumental architecture, for these buildings were not only religiously important, but also served the purpose as a deliberate symbol of power and wealth of the rulers and their poleis. Even though greater amounts of money and attention had been put into these constructions, it is hard to say that these buildings symbolized the concentration of social surplus of any Greek polis.
The idea of polis, or city-state, was developed in Greece in the ninth and eighth centuries BCE. A polis can be understood as an autonomous region, an urban centre which has its own political, religious, economic and culture centre (P108, Stokstad). According to Aristotle’s Politics, a polis is the union of several villages (Politics, 125b27). Although it lacks accuracy, we can get the impression that the Greeks consider a polis to be a community. As a community, the Archaic and Classical poleis were primarily a political and a military organisation, a male society from which women and children were excluded, not to speak of foreigners and slaves.

Although Childe considered monumental building to be one of the criteria of an urban centre, the monumentalization of the sacred architecture did not occur until sixth century BCE. The Temple of Artemis at Corcyra, dating to 600-580 BCE, was a milestone in the history of monumentalizing the religious architecture and the figural decoration on the pediments. It also represented a critical step in the development of stone building and in the development of the Doric order (214, Marconi). The political reason behind this step is crucially important. At the beginning of the sixth century BCE, Corcyra was one of the most powerful political centres of the Mediterranean. Shortly after conquering Corinth, the Corinthian tyrant Periander controlled Corcyra again shortly after finishing the Temple of Artemis. However, it was precisely during these years of Periander's rule that the cityscape of the colony underwent a major renovation, through the monumentalization of its sanctuaries, and it was as part of this process (215, Marconi).

From the beginning of the Archaic period (776-480 BCE), the Ancient Greek civilization began flourishing and moving artistically, commercially, and politically to the forefront, not due to religious obligation but majorly out of competing with other city-states. Archaic period, known as the “age of the old-fashioned,” is the third period of the major period of Greek art, after the Geometric Period (900-700 BCE) and...

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