The Dorian immigration (before 1000 B.C.) was a prelude to the building of Greek temples, at first made of timber and sun-dried brick. The superb stone and marble buildings on a defined floor plan were achieved in the middle of the 6th cent. B.C., although the most perfect examples, like the Parthenon (5th cent. B.C.), came later. The Greek temple customarily stood in a temenos, or sacred enclosure, along with accessory shrines, colonnades, and buildings housing the temple treasures. It was built not as a place for assembled worship but as the dwelling for the deity, whose colossal sculptured representation was placed in the naos, and illuminated by the daylight entering through the tall entrance portal. In larger temples, to support the roof lintels, two interior rows of columns divided the naos into nave and side aisles.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.