Comparison Between Egyptian and Greek Temples
|Criteria||Egyptian Temples||Greek Temples|
|Layout||complex plan - courts, halls and chambers with the sanctuary deep inside the temple||- Very simple plan - A single cella (Naos)
- Similar to Mies van der Rohe motto "Less is more"
|Roof||Flat stone roof - columns closely packed to support roof||The temple is roofed in terracotta, with pitched wooden beams and rafters
- Fire was a constant hazard
|Facade||All columns are concealed inside the external walls||External colonnade (inverse of Egyptian temple) - The formula for the column count is L=2W+1, where "W" is the number of columns wide and "L" the number of columns on the long side. A temple 6 columns wide has 13 columns long|
|Section||Raised flooring and lowered roofs deeper inside the temple, with the sanctuary having the highest ground level and the lowest roof||Temples raised over a platform known as the stylobate - no internal stairs|
|Landscape||The external wall resembled a fortress isolating the temple from its surroundings which symbolically, represented the forces of chaos and evil||The temple is designed and situated for maximum impact in the context of the surrounding landscape.|
|Decorations||The scene on the outer walls of the temple, and the walls of the outer courtyard, show the battle of the forces of light, represented by the Pharaoh, subduing the forces of darkness, represented by the foreign enemies.|
The scenes in sanctuaries and hypostyle halls show sacred offerings to gods.
|All structural elements were decorated following pre-defined Ionic and Doric Orders - no random decorations or scenes showing achievements of kings|
|Worship||An Egyptian temple was not a place of public worship.||Public worship is carried on outside the temple,|
Poll: Which temple plan do you think was more suitable for performing temple rituals?
Egyptian Temples Function and Evolution
- Temples were the homes of the gods.
- Every temple was dedicated to a god or goddess and he or she was worshipped there by the temple priests
- The vast temple complexes of the New Kingdom grew out of humble beginnings. The local population built a small mud-brick shrine for their own, local deity, chose priests out of their midst to serve it, and brought offerings in return for favors and protection. They expanded it slowly over the centuries by adding new wings but eventually the state began to administer them, replacing mud-brick structures by stone buildings,
- The involvement of the general public in the temple ceremonies became small.
- Ordinary people had no access to the inner regions of the temples which could only be entered after elaborate purification rituals.
- Temple buildings in the New Kingdom were made of stone. their walls covered with colored scenes carved onto the stone,
showing the Pharaoh fighting in battles and performing rituals with the gods.
- Temples were single buildings or great complexes,
- The most essential component for any temple was the innermost shrine, where the statue of the god was kept.
- The activities of the temple revolved around the worship and celebration of the god's cult, and religious festivals.
- Around many Temples were sacred lakes or sacred pools. These pools allowed both the priests and followers to attend and perform their religious rites in a state of purity.
- Temples owned land, livestock and received donations and taxes, in order to support the large armies of priests and servants.
Section in Egyptian Temple
Components of Egyptian Temples
There were Five components of Egyptian temples
- These are the large gates of the temple, they consisted of two tapering towers, each surmounted by a cornice, joined by a less elevated section which enclosed the entrance between them
- The entrance was generally half the height of the two towers.
- Pylons were often carved and painted with scenes of the Pharaoh and gods with scenes emphasizing a king's authority since it was the public face of a cult building.
- In front of the pylon were a pair of obelisks and statues of the Pharaohs.
- This was a large open Hall, which decorated walls showing scenes of the Pharaoh and the gods.
- It had a transitional purpose, serving as an interface between the outside world and the sanctified regions deeper within the temple.
- People were only allowed to enter the Outer Courtyard on festival days.
- Sometimes there was a second pylon leading to the Hypostyle hall deeper in.
- This is a large colonnaded hall entirely roofed except for the central aisle which was lit by windows,
- Scenes of religious rituals were carved into the walls.
- The capital of the massive column often in the shape of the papyrus Flower.
- This was considered the reception area of the god and accessible only to the priests and the Pharaohs were allowed to enter the hypostyle hall, which was used for religious rituals.
- Smaller side doors, intended for bringing in offerings led into small rooms
- The sanctuary was the most special and important part of the temple. It was a very dark and relatively small room.
- The floor sloped steadily upwards until the sanctum was reached, while the roof was lower
- Only the High Priest and the Pharaoh could ever enter the sanctuary.
- In the middle of the sanctuary stood the Naos with the statue of the god. The naos was made of wood, with doors that were kept closed and locked at all times except for at the rituals
- A temple could be consecrated to more than one god, but the Naos of the main deities was always situated along the main axis, and lesser deities were placed on either side.
If both deities had the same importance, than a double sanctuary was constructed along the main axis (like the one shown in the picture above)
- In close connection to the sanctuary there were other rooms for storage of the god's belongings, jewelry, insignia and ritual tools.
- Most temple precincts included a sacred lake. Archaeologists have excavated a number of these in temples of the New Kingdom
- The priests used water from the sacred lake to perform rituals in the temple.