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Richard Allan Tomlinson

The Greek temple was the house of the god, whose image it contained, usually placed so that at the annual festival it could watch through the open door the burning of the sacrifice at the altar which stood outside (see statues, cult of). It was not a congregational building, the worshippers instead gathering round the altar in the open air, where they would be given the meat of the victims to consume (see sacrifice, greek). *Orientation was generally towards the east, and often towards that point on the skyline where (allowing for the vagaries of ancient Greek calendars) the sun rose on the day of the festival. The temple also served as a repository for the property of the god, especially the more valuable possessions of gold and silver *plate (see votive offerings).The core of the temple is the cella, a rectangular room whose side walls are prolonged beyond one end to form a porch, either with columns between them (in antis) or in a row across the front (prostyle). More prestigious temples surround this with an external colonnade (and are described as peripteral). They generally duplicate the porch with a corresponding prolongation of the walls at the rear of the cella, without, however, making another doorway into the cella (the opisthodomus, or false porch).


John North

Greek and Roman temples served as the houses of gods and goddesses, but also as centres of religious activity, meeting-places, storehouses for dedications, and secure locations for the keeping of valuables. They do not seem in general to have played as great a role in the social and economic life of the cities as did the great temples of Egypt and the near east, but all the same they must have required regular control, care, and funding in fulfilling their tasks and maintaining their fabric.In Greece we have a picture of how the temples operated. There were normally *priests or priestesses in charge of each; in any large temple they would be assisted by minor officials. *Aristotle (Pol. 6. 1322b) distinguishes three types of these: first, there were cult officials who assisted in the sacrifices and rituals (hieropoioi), who would have received their share of the sacrificial meat and other perquisites; secondly, there were wardens or caretakers (neōkoroi, naophylakes) who controlled access to the sanctuary, carried out purifications of those entering, and cleaned the sanctuary; thirdly, there were treasurers (hierotamiae), who assisted with financial administration, took care of treasures and votives, and oversaw the raising of revenue.


Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Depictions of the underworld, in ancient Greek and Roman textual and visual sources, differ significantly from source to source, but they all draw on a common pool of traditional mythic motifs. These motifs, such as the realm of Hades and its denizens, the rivers of the underworld, the paradise of the blessed dead, and the places of punishment for the wicked, are developed and transformed through all their uses throughout the ages, depending upon the aims of the author or artist depicting the underworld. Some sources explore the relation of the world of the living to that of the dead through descriptions of the location of the underworld and the difficulties of entering it. By contrast, discussions of the regions within the underworld and existence therein often relate to ideas of afterlife as a continuation of or compensation for life in the world above. All of these depictions made use of the same basic set of elements, adapting them in their own ways to describe the location of, the entering into, and the regions within the underworld.