TEMPLE

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TEMPLE (Latin, templum), in architecture ; an edifice destined for the performance of public worship. Various etymologies have been suggested for the Latin word templum. Some derive it from the Greek refisvos, the meaning of which was a sacred enclosure or temple (from rfjuvw, I cut off, or separate), a temple being a place abstracted and set apart from other uses; others from the oid Latin verb templari (to contemplate). The ancient augurs undoubtedly applied the name templa to those parts of the heavens which were marked out for observation of the flights of birds. Temples were, originally, all open; and hence, indeed, most likely, came their name. These structures are among the most ancient soon as a nation had acquired any degree of civilization, they consecrated particular spots to the worship of their deities. In the earliest instances, they contented themselves with erecting altars of earth or ashes in the open air, and sometimes resorted, for the purposes of worship, to the depths of solitary woods. At length, they acquired the practice of building cells or chapels, within the enclosure of which they placed the images of their divinities, and assembled tc ofler up their supplications, thanksgivings and sacrifices. These were chiefly formed like their own dwellings. The Troglodites adored their gods in grottoes; the people who lived in cabins erected temples like cabins in shape. Clemens Alexandrirms and Eusebms refer the origin of temples to sepulchres; and this notion has been latterly illustrated and confirmed, from a variety of otestimonies, by Mr. Farmer, in his Treatise on the Worship of Human Spirits, p. 373, &c. Herodotus and Strabo contend that the Egyptians were the first who erected temples to the gods; and the one first erected in Greece is attributed, by Apollonius, to Deucalion. (Argonaut lib. iii.) The temple of Castor was built upon the tomb of that hero. At the time when the Greeks surpassed all other people in the arts introduced among them from Phoenicia, Syria and Egypt, they devoted much time, care and expense to the building of temples. No country has surpassed, or perhaps equalled them, in this respect: the Romans alone successfully rivalled them, and they took the Greek structures for models. In every city of Greece, as well as in its environs, and in the open country, was a considerable number of sacred temples. The ruins of this description, now existing, greatly exceed those of any other kind of building, owing to the fact that the best materials and the utmost attention were uniformly employed upon the Grecian and Roman temples. The particular divinity who was held to preside in chief over each several town, had always the most elegant and costly temple therein especially dedicated to him or her. The temples constructed in the provinces chiefly appertained to* the gods of the country, or to those common to the several communities. In the immediate vicinity of these edifices, the people held, at fixed seasons, assemblies for the purpose of sacrificing to the gods; they also celebrated their festivals on the same spot, and deliberated 16 * not of great extent; some of them were very small. The cella was barely large enough to contain the statue ofvthe pre siding deity of the temple, and, occasionally, an altar in addition. Even in succeeding ages, this observation holds good in a great degree. Their object, in fact, did not render extent necessary ; since the priests alone entered the cella, and the people assembled without the walls. Exceptions, indeed, were made, in the examples of those dedicated to the tutelary divinities of towns, of those of the supreme gods, and of those appropriated to the common use of various communities. This increased extent was chiefly displayed in the porticoes surrounding the cella. According to Vitruvius, the situations of the temples were regulated chiefly by the nature and characteristics of the various divinities. Thus the temples of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, who were considered, by the inhabitants of many cities, as their protecting deities, were erected on spots sufficiently elevated to enable them to overlook the whole town, or, at least, the principal part of it. Minerva, the tutelary deity of Athens, had her seat on the Acropolis, (q. v.) The temples of Mercury were, ordinarily, in the forum. Those of Apollo and Bacchus were beside the theatres. The temple of Hercules was commonly near the gymnasium, the amphitheatre, or circus. Those of Mars, of Venus and of Vulcan were generally without the walls of the city, but near the gates. The temples of Esculapius were uniformly in the neighborhood of the towns, on some elevated and desirable spot, wiiere the pure air might be inhaled by the invalids who came to invoke the aid of the god of health. In the cities, the houses of the inhabitants clustered round the temples. The form most generally given to temples was that of a long square; some times, however, they were circular. Those of the former shape commonly had a depth or length double their breadth, and their cella had ordinarily, at the exterior, porticoes which sometimes adorned only the facade of the anterior, sometimes that also of the posterior, and was occasionally carried round all four sides. Over the entablature of the columns, at both the fronts, was a pediment. The principal facades of the temples were always ornamented with an even numbei of columns, while the sides had gener ally an uneven number. The circulai form was by no means common. Those temples were generally covered with a cupola, the height of which about equalled the semidiameter of the entire edifice. The most celebrated instance of the circular temple is the pantheon of Rome. It has some peculiarities not common to its class. (See Pantheon.) Several of the very ancient Etruscan temples have an oblong shape, or one approaching to a perfect square. In several of the ancient buildings of this character were staircases, by means of which people mounted to the roof. These were constructed within the walls, by the side of the entrance fronting the cella, and, that they might occupy less space, were made winding. The Egyptian temples had a species of openings or windows. The statue of the divinity to whom the structure was dedicated was, as may be supposed, the most venerated object of the temple, and the most prominent ornament of the cella. It was, in almost every instance, executed by a distinguished artist, even when destined only for a small building. In the earliest instances, these statues were of terra cotta, and were commonly painted red; others were of wood. In succeeding times, as the fine arts advanced, iron and bronze were occasionally substituted, but still more frequently marble. (See Sculpture, and Statue.) The primitive bronze statues were not cast in one single jet, but in separate pieces, afterwards joined together. Besides the statue of the presiding deity, there were generally others, either in the cella or pronaos, or both, some of which had a special relation to the principal figure, whilst others served merely for ornament. The altar, on which the sacrifices were offered, was plr.ced before the statue of the divinity, a little less elevated than it, and turned towards the east. (See Altar.) Sometimes single cells contained altars raised to sundry deities. To the sacred architecture of the Greeks, as exhibited in their various temples, we are indebted for the purest and best canons of architecture that the world has ever seen. The Egyptian temples were remarkable for the number and disposition of the columns, contained in several enclosures within the walls. The little cella appeared like a kind of stable, or lodging, for the sacred animal to whom, as it may be, the building was consecrated. This was never entered but by the priests. The porticoes were magnificent in size, proportions, and often in style. Obelisks and colossal statues were ordinarily placed before the entrance. These were sometimes preceded by alleys of sphinxes, or of lions, of immense size. Near the gates two masses of a pyramidal form were erected: these were often covered with hieroglyphic bassirilievi. A corbel, scooped out in the shape of a gorge, was the only substitute for the entablature, whether to the gate itself, or to the two lofty masses adjoining. No pediment or shape of roof interfered with the horizontal line of the platform above, with which the temples were covered, and on which it is probable that the priests passed the nights in making astronomical observations. (See Architecture, vol. i, p. 339; also Denderah, Hieroglyphics, Elephantine, and Thebes.) The Indian temples, or pagodas, are sometimes of immense size. (See Pagoda, Elora, and Salsette; also the article Architecture. For Christian temples and churches, see Architecture, Cathedral, and Masonry.) The first Hebrew temple was built by Solomon on mount Moriah, in Jerusalem, with the help of a Phoenician architect. It was an oblong stone building, sixty cubits in length, twenty in width, and thirty in height. On three sides were corridors, rising above each other to the height of three stories, and containing rooms, in which were preserved the holy utensils and treasures. The fourth or front side was open, and was ornamented with a portico, ten cubits in width, supported by two brazen pillars, Jachin and Boaz (stability and strength). The interior was divided into the most holy place, or oracle, twenty cubits long, which contained the ark of the covenant, and was separated, by a curtain or veil, from the sanctuary, or holy place, in which were tho golden candlesticks, the table of the showbread, and the altar of incense. The walls of both apartments, and the roof and ceiling of the most holy place, were overlaid with wood work, skilfully carved. None but the high priest was permitted to enter the latter, and only the priests, devoted to the temple service, the former. The temple was surrounded by an inner court, which contained the altar of burntoffering, the brazen sea and lavers, and such instruments and utensils as were used in the sacrifices, which, as well as the prayers, were offered here. Colonnades, with brazen gates, separated this court of the priests from the outer court, which was likewise surrounded by a walk See .Hirt's Tempcl Solomonis (Berlin, 1809). This temple was destroyed by the Assyrians, and, after the return from the much inferior in splendor, was erected. Herod the Great rebuilt it of a larger size, surrounding it with four courts, rising above each other like terraces. The lower court was 500 cubits square, on three sides surrounded by a double, and on the fourth by a triple row of columns, and was called the court of the Gentiles, because individuals of all nations were admitted into it indiscriminately. A high wall separated the court of the women, 135 cubits square, in which the Jewish females assembled to perform their devotions, from the court of the Gentiles. From the court of the women fifteen steps led to the court of the temple, which was enclosed by a colonnade, and divided by trelliswork into the court of the Jewish men and the court of the priests. In the middle of this enclosure stood the temple of white marble, richly gilt, 100 cubits long and wide, and 60 cubits high, with a porch 100 cubits wide, and three galleries, like the first temple, which it resembled in the interior, except that the most holy was empty, and the height of Herod's temple was double the height of Solomon's. Rooms, appropriated for different purposes, filled the upper story above the roof of the inner temple. The fame of this magnificent temple, which was destroyed by the Romans, and its religious significance with Jews and Christians, still render it more interesting to us than any other building of antiquity. To the Jew, it is even now a subject of sorrow and regret; to the architect, a key to the history of the old Oriental architecture; to the freemason, the most important symbol of his ritual.