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A. PerUtylium. D. Hecatompedon.
B- Fronaoa or Prodomus. a. Statue of the Goddess.
C. Opiithodomus or Pos- E. Parthenon, afterwards
good reason for believing that the Greeks used the word Opisthodomus to signify a corresponding hall in the back-front of a temple; and that aa Pronaos, or Prodomus, answered to the Latin anticum, so Opisthodomus was equivalent to the Latin posticum. (Tb Tpb [tov (ttjkov] irpdHofjuts, Kal rb tcdrowty dviaddHopos, Pollux, i. 6; comp. iv Tois irpovdois teal rots dxtaOaMpoiSy Diod. xiv. 41.) Lucian (Herod. 1) describes Herodotus as reading his history to the assembled Greeks at Olympia from the Opisthodomus of the temple of Zeus. If we suppose Herodotus to have stood in the hall or ambulatory leading out of the back portico, the description is intelligible, as the great crowd of auditors might then have been assembled in the portico and on the steps below; and we can hardly imagine that Lucian could have conceived the Opisthodomus to be an inner room, as some modern writers maintain. Other passages might bo adduced to prove that the Opisthodomus hi the Greek temples ordinarily bore the sense we have given to it (comp. Paus. v. 13. § 1, 1G. § 1); and we believo that the Opisthodomus of the Parthenon originally indicated the same part,
though at * later time, as we shall see presently, it was used in a different signi6cation.
The Hecatompedon must have been the eastern or principal chamber of the cella. This follows from its name; for as the whole temple was called Hecatompedon, from its being 100 feet broad, so the eastern chamber was called by the same name from its being 100 feet long (its exact length is 98 feet 7 inches). This was the naos, or proper shrine of the temple; and here accordingly was placed the colossal statue by Pheidias. In the records of the treasures of the temple the Hecatompedon contained a golden crown placed upon the head of the statue of Nike, or Victory, which stood upon the hand of the great statuo of Athena, thereby plainly showing that the latter must have been placed in this division of the temple. There has been considerable dispute respecting the disposition of the columns in the interior of this chamber; but the removal of the Turkish Mosque and other incumbrances from the pavement has now put an end to all doubt upon the subject It has already been stated that there were 10columns on each side, and 3 on the western return; and that upon them there was an upper row of the same number. These columns were thrown down by the explosion in 1687, but they were still standing when Spon and Wheler visited Athens. Wheler says, "on both sides, and towards the door, is a kind of gallery made with two ranks of pillars, 22 below and 23 above. The odd pillar is over the arch of the entrance which was left for the passage." The central column of the lower row had evidently been removed in order to effect an entrance from the west, and the " arch of the entrance " had been substituted for it. Wheler says a " kind of gallery" because it was probably an architrave supporting the rank of columns, and not a gallery. (Penrose, p. 6.) Recent observations have proved that these columns were Doric, and not Corinthian, as some writers had supposed, in consequence of the discovery of the fragment of a capital of that order in this chamber. But it has been conjectured, that although all the other columns were Doric, the central column of the western return, which would have been hidden from the Pronaos by the statue, might have been Corinthian, since the central column of the return of the temple at Bassae seems to have been Corinthian. (Penrose, p. 5.)
If the preceding distribution of the other parts of the temple is correct, the Parthenon must have been the western or smaller chamber of the cella. Judging from the name alone, we should have naturally concluded that the Parthenon was the chamber containing the statue of the virgin goddess; but there appear to have been two reasons why this name was not given to the eastern chamber. First, the length of the latter naturally suggested the appropriation to it of the name of Hecatompedon; and secondly, the eastern chamber occupied the ordinary position of the adytum, containing the statue of the deity, and may therefore have been called from this circumstance the Virgin's-Chamber, though in reality it was not the abode of the goddess. It appears, from the inscriptions already referred to, that the Parthenon was used in the Peloponnesian war as the public treasury; for while we find in the Hecatompedon such treasures as would serve for the purpose of ornament, the Parthenon contained bullion, and a great many miscellaneous articles which we cannot suppose to have been placed in the shrine alongside of the statue of the goddess. But we know from later authorities that tlio treasury in the temple was called Opisthodomus (Harpocrat., Suid., Etym. M., t v.'Oirur66$oiM>s; Schol. ad ArUtoph. Plut. 1193; Bockh, Inter. No. 76); and we may therefore conclude, that as the Parthenon was the name of the whole building, the western chamber ceased to be called by this name, and acquired that of the OpiBthodomus, which was originally the entrance to it. It appears further from the words of one of the Scholiasts (ad ArUtoph. ic), as well as from the existing remains of the temple, that the eastern and western chambers were separated by a wall, and that there was no direct communication between them. Hence we can the more easily understand the account of Plutarch, who relates that the Athenians, in order to pay the greatest honour to Demetrius Poliorcetes, lodged him in the Opisthodomus of the Parthenon as a guest of the goddess. (Plut. Demetr. 23.)
In the centre of the pavement of the Hecatompedon there is a place covered with Peiraic stone, and not with marble, like the rest of the pavement It has been usually supposed that this was tile foundation on which the statue of the goddess rested; but this has been denied by K. F. Hermann, who maintains that there was an altar upon this spot. There can however be little doubt that the common opinion is correct, since there is no other place in the building to which wo can assign the position of the statue. It could not have stood in the western chamber, since this was separated by a wall from the eastern. It could not have stood at the western extremity of the eastern chamber, where Ussing places it, because this part of the chamber was occupied by the western return of the interior columns (see ground-plan). Lastly, supposing the spot covered with Peiraic stone to represent an altar, the statue could not have stood between this spot and the door of the temple. The only alternative left is placing the statue either upon the above-mentioned spot, or else between it and the western return of the interior columns, where there is scarcely sufficient space left for it
There has been a great controversy among modern scholars as to whether any part of the roof of the eastern chamber of the Parthenon was hypaethral, or pierced with an opening to the sky. Most English writers, following Stuart, had arrived at a conclusion in the affirmative; but the discussion has been recently reopened in Germany, and it seems impossible to arrive at any definite conclusion upon the subject. (Comp. K. F. Hermann, Die ffypathral Tempel des Alterthumt, 1844; Ross, Keine Hypathral Tempel mehr, in his HeUenika, 1846, to which Botticher replied in Der Ilypathral Tempel atif Grand da Vitruvischen Zeugnistet, 1847.) We know that, as a general rule, the Grecian temples had no windows in the walls; and consequently the light was admitted either through some opening in the roof, or through the door alone. The latter appears to have been the case in smaller temples, which could obtain sufficient light from the open door; but larger temples must necessarily have been in comparative darkness, if they received light from no other quarter. And although the temple was the abode of the deity, and not a place of meeting, yet it is impossible to believe that the Greeks left in comparative darkness the beautiful paintings and statues with which they decorated the interior of their temples. We have moreover express evidence that light was admitted into temples through
the roof. This appears to have been done in twt> ways, cither by windows or openings in the tiles of the roof, or by leaving a large part of the latter open to the sky. The former was the case in the temple of Eleusis. (Plut. Per. 13, Otouov EcvoirAijs Vkopwpwot: comp. Pollux, ii. 54, o-waiov oi 'attijcoi r^y KtpafilSa faoAow, ^ T^f oirV ftxev.*) There can be little doubt that the naos or eastern chamber of the Parthenon must have obtained its light in one or other of these ways; but the testimony of Vitruvius (iii. 1) cannot be quoted in favour of the Parthenon being hypaethral, as there are strong reasons for believing the passage to be corrupt* If the Parthenon was really hypaethral, we must place the opening to the sky between the statue and the castem door, since we cannot suppose that such an exquisite work as the chryselephantine statue of Athena was not protected by a covered roof.
Before quitting the Parthenon, there is one interesting point connected with its construction, which must not be passed over without notice. It has been discovered within the last few years, that in the Parthenon, and in some others of the purer specimens of Grecian architecture, there is a systematic deviation from ordinary rectilinear construction. Instead of the straight lines in ordinary architecture, we find various delicate curves in the Parthenon. It is observed that "the most important curves in point of extent, arc those which form the horizontal lines of the building where they occur; such as the edges of the steps, and the lines of the entablature, which are usually considered to be straight level lines, but in the steps of the Parthenon, and some other of the best examples of Greek Doric arc convex curves, lying in vertical plains ; the lines of the cntablat arc being also curves nearly parallel to the step* and in vertical plains." The existence of curves in Greek buildings is mentioned by Vitruvius (iii. 3), but it was not until the year 1837, when much of the rubbish which encumbered the stylobate of the Parthenon had been removed by the operations carried on by the Greek government, that the curvature was discovered by Mr. George Pennethome, an EnglUh architect then at Athens. Subsequently the curves
* The words of Vitruvius in the usual editions are: — " Hypaethros vero decastylos est in pronao et postico: rcliqua omnia babet quae dipteros, sed interiore parte columnas in altitudine duplices, remotas a parietibus ad circuitionem ut portions peristyliornm. Medium autem sub divo est sine tecto, aditusqne valvarum ex utrinque parte in pronao et postico. Hujus autem exemplar Romae non est, sed Atbenis octastylos et in templo Olympio." Now, as the Parthenon was the only octastyle at Athens, it is supposed that Vitruvius referred to this temple as an example of the Hypaethros, more especially a* it had one of the distinguishing characteristics of bis hypaethros, namely, an upper row of interior columns, between which and the walLs there was an ambulation like that of a peristyle. (Leake, p. 562.) But it seems absurd to say " Hypaethros decastyloa est," and then to give an octastyle at Athens as an example. It has been conjectured with great probability that the " octastylos " is an interpolation, and that the latter part of the passage ought to be read: "Hujus autem exemplar Romae non est, sed Athenis in templo Olympio." Vitruvius would thus refer to the great temple of Zens Olyinpius at Athens, which we know was a complete example of the hypaethros of Vitruvius.