Egyptian Influence on Ionic Temple Architecture
Special Studies: Directed Research Project
University of Notre Dame
December 12, 2000
From its very beginnings, Ionic art has shown a strong stylistic tendency towards a more "oriental," Near Eastern, or Egyptian appearance, evident in relief design persisting even through the Classical Period, in comparison to the art of the Greek mainland. When Ionic temple architecture began to bloom in the early Archaic Period (late 7th-early 6th centuries BCE), it took an even more drastic path of innovative, non Doric form than contemporary reliefwork and sculpture. The origin and development of the Ionic Order of architecture, along with the Ionian people, is a very different story from that of its Doric cousin on the Greek mainland. William B. Dinsmoor writes:
We have traced the story of the foundation of the Ionian colonies by the fleeing remnants of the Mycenaean populations [36ff], of their early contacts with the native peoples of Phrygia, Mysia, Lydia, and Lycia, and of the colonies which they in turn, as they increased in power, sent off to other parts of the Greek world. The result of this dispersion is that our knowledge of the Ionic style has to be gathered, not only from the great cities of Asia Minor, but also from the trading colonies such as Naucratis in Egypt, and from outposts established to receive surplus populations, such as Rhegium (Reggio) in southern Italy and Masilia (Marseilles) in France.1
In light of the dispersion of the Ionian peoples across the Mediterranean World, it becomes imperative to look not only at the architecture of the Ionic coast, but also that of the Ionian colonies in foreign nations to formulate a realistic understanding of the Ionic Order and to reconstruct its stylistic elements and visions. Of likely influence on the developing Ionic Order of the early Archaic Period is the architecture of Ancient Egypt, because of strong precedent for artistic influence and a historical and cultural context ideal for the transmission of artistic and architectural notions. As a result, it is sensible to consider the Egyptianizing peculiarities in Egyptian Ionic architecture when trying to understand the origin, development, and meaning of Archaic Ionic architecture.
This paper seeks to help us further understand some of the many possible and simultaneous influences contributing to the Ionic Order and to give us a greater understanding of what the Ionians had hoped to express through their innovative temple architecture in light of their Egyptian allies. Relying heavily on ancient testimony and modern scholarship, we begin with an analysis of the Egyptian influence on Greek sculpture contemporary to early Archaic architecture in order to establish sufficient precedent for the transmission of artistic style and technique between the Egyptians and Greeks. Having established a precedent for the Greek importation of Egyptian artistic ideas, we then move on to examine the cultural, historic, and economic situation in the Egyptian Delta region of the Saite Period, during which time the Ionian are invited to found a colony of increasing significance and prosperity in the Mediterranean World. This exploration is an effort to exposed a social climate, in which the transference of artistic and architectural ideas, along with cultural wares and trade goods, not only had strong precedent, but was even greatly encouraged by the political climate of the Egyptian and Ionian nations. Once the scene is properly set, we are ready to discuss specific examples of Egyptian architecture, which may have had a profound impact on the development of the Archaic Ionic architectural style. We will also look at specific works of Ionic architecture, which are exemplary of such Egyptian influences in their experiential, formal, and stylistic elements.
The Egyptian Presence in Archaic Greek Statuary
It has been observed that, as far as Herodotus and his contemporaries are concerned, no Greek sculpture of significance was created before the 7th century2, until Near Eastern, especially Egyptian, influence began a period of emulation in Greece commonly referred to as the Orientalizing Period, or Proto-Archaic Period (c. 7th century BCE). Along those lines, many ancient sources wrote of an Egyptian likeness in Archaic Greek statuary. Diodorus Siculus (active c. 60-30 BCE) states in his Library of History that Egypt's ancient statuary is "identical in form (rhythmos) to those later wrought by Daedalos amongst the Greeks."3 Along those lines, Diodorus also relates the story of Theodorus4 and Telekles, the sons of Rhoikos and "most renowned of the ancient sculptors," who are said to have spent time in Egypt.
They carved the wooden statue of Pythian Apollo for the Samians, of which it is reported that half of the image was fabricated by Telekles in Samos, and the other half was completed by his brother Theodoros at Ephesus. But when the parts were brought together, they dovetailed with each other so well that the entire work seemed to have been accomplished by one man. ... Thus, in conformity with the ingenuity of the Egyptians, the wooden statue in Samos is cleft in two and the figure divided down the middle from the crown of the head to the genitals, each side being identical to the other. For the most part, they say, it resembles the statues of the Egyptians, in that its hands are held straight and the legs are parted in stride.5
While this account should not be taken as literal truth, the point remains that early Archaic Greek sculptors are thought by the Greeks to have been influence by Egyptian artistic style. Murphy further maintains that Theodoros and Telekles "probably owed something of their technique to Egyptian influence, especially the reformed Saite cannon of art, which divided the human figure by twenty-one horizontal grids."6 Likewise, Pausanias tells us that the "image of Apollo called the 'Pythian' and the Dekatephoros [in the ancient temple of Apollo at Megara] is very much like Egyptian carved images" (1.42.5) and that the ancient image from the temple of Athena at Priene "is not like those called Aeginetan, nor is it like most ancient images of Attica, but rather, if anything, it is distinctly Egyptian" (7.5.5).7 Therefore, while Archaic Greek sculpture of a distinctly Egyptian form may have stood out amongst its Aeginetan and Attic contemporaries, this Egyptian stylistic influence was far from scarce.8 In Greek Sculpture: the Archaic Period, John Boardman further emphasizes the likelihood of an Egyptian influence in the development of Archaic Greek sculpture:
In Egypt [during the reign of Psammetichus I (664-610)] the Greeks saw lifesize statuary, and larger, in hard stone, for standing and seated figures, superficially not unlike their own less ambiguous statues and statuettes, with some features already familiar to them from the egyptianizing arts of the near east. It would not have required many visits by craftsmen, being Greeks and imbued with characteristic Greek curiosity and aptitude to learn, for these novel (to them) concepts in statuary and the means of their execution to be introduced to Greece itself. ... it is impossible not to associate this new era in Greek sculpture with the influence from Egypt.9
In agreement with Classical authors, modern scholars generally support likely role Egyptian sculptural form and technique played in the development of Archaic Greek sculpture. This evidence for an Egyptian influence establishes a significant precedent for further cultural and artistic transmission between Egypt and Greece of the early Archaic Period and we will now see that the Egyptian influence on Archaic Greece did not end solely with sculpture.
Greco-Egyptian Cultural Transmission
The Archaic Period saw the blossoming of trade relations between Greece and Egypt for the first time since the Bronze Age. During this period of renewed commerce, many cultural goods were exchanged along with colonists, mercenaries, and artisans. Herodotus states that the 26th Dynasty King Psammetichus (Psamtik I, 664-610 BCE) gave to the Ionian and Carian mercenaries, who helped him gain the Egyptian throne, "two pieces of land, opposite one another on each side of the Nile, ... [and] went so far as to put some Egyptian boys into their charge to be taught Greek; and their learning of the language was the origin of the class of Egyptian interpreters."10 Psammetichus campaigned between 664 and 657 throughout Lower Egypt for reunification of Egypt and was the first Egyptian ruler to employ Greek and Carian mercenaries, establishing a standard in Near Eastern and Mediterranean conflict for centuries to come.11 James Henry Breasted notes in his History of Egypt that Psammetichus was probably also the first Egyptian ruler to favor Greek colonies in Egypt.12 Before long, Egypt was filled with Greek merchants and their manufacturing settlements, especially in the western Delta region near Sais, the royal capital of the Saite period. The ancient capital of Memphis now had Greek and Carian quarters, and other large Egyptian cities likely apportioned similar areas for Greek and additional foreign expatriates. Continuous communication between Greek states and Egypt soon established direct and sometimes intimate relations between the two nations. The Greek military also recruited many mercenaries returning home after their terms of employment in the campaigns of Psammetichus and Greek merchants assuredly returned home with numerous tales, artifacts, and ideas borrowed from the Egyptian world they frequented.13 A few generations later, Amasis (Ahmose II, 570-526 BCE) "subsequently turned them [the Greek mercenaries] out and brought them to Memphis, to protect him from his own people. They were the first foreigners to live in Egypt, and after their original settlement there, the Greeks began regular intercourse with the Egyptians."14 Amasis further reorganized trade relations with Greece and designated the Nile Delta port city of Naukratis as the commercial headquarters for foreign settlers in Egypt, where the Greeks were given a definitive monopoly on all seaborne trade.15 Land was also granted to the Greek settlers at Naukratis, whereupon they built not only houses, but also temples and altars to their own gods and goddesses.16
The far-reaching influence of Amasis was equally apparent in Greece. Herodotus states he gave one thousand talents in alum for the rebuilding of the temple at Delphi, after its accidental destruction by fire, when it was to cost no more than three hundred talents, and to the Greeks, who had settled in Egypt, he gave twenty minae.17 Amasis gave further gifts as dedications to various temples throughout Greece. "To Cyrene he sent a gold-plated statue of Athena and a painting of himself; to the temple of Athena at Lindos, two statues in stone and a remarkable linen corselet; and to the goddess Hera at Samos two likenesses of himself, in wood, which until my own time stood behind the doors in the great temple."18 If Herodotus' account of Amasis were to be believed, that would place actual works of Egyptian art directly in Archaic Ionic temples.
Simultaneous with the blossoming of trade relations between Greece (particularly Ionia) and Egypt, to the increasing Ionian colonization of the Delta region, and to the Egyptian influence in Archaic Greek sculpture, the Ionians began constructing colossal works of temple architecture of an unprecedented scale and form.19 Significant innovations in Ionian temple architecture of this period greatly resemble long established and commonly implemented elements of the Egyptian colossal architectural tradition. It has been shown above that early Greek sculptural form and style heavily borrowed from Egyptian tradition and that the Greeks may have housed Egyptian works within their temples. Why, then, can one not suppose that the Greek peoples so closely in contact with Egyptian civilization might have similarly incorporated Egyptian architectural form or technique into the evolving Archaic Greek temple? This theory, in fact, is supported by ample evidence in the way of ancient testimony on Egyptian influence on Greek architecture and a comparative analysis of Greek and Egyptian archaeological remains and reconstructions. An analysis of the artistic situation in the Egyptian Delta region during the Archaic period may first prove helpful in discovering an atmosphere, in which transmission of artistic and architectural form, style, and ideas may have been likely, if not encouraged.
With the blossoming trade relations between the Greeks and Egyptians, the cultural and political setting of the Mediterranean in the late 7th to 6th centuries was, in fact, perfect for the transference of artistic and architectural notions between the Egyptians and Greeks. This period in Egypt was a time of great artistic and architectural revival, a renaissance after the decline of the former Ethiopian and Assyrian dynasties, with the repair of the pyramids of the ancient Memphite kings and the restoration of their mortuary cults, and with significant additions by many of the Saite rulers to the temples at Sais and Memphis. Monumental constructions throughout Egypt of this period included colossal statuary, obelisks, propylaea, colonnaded courts, and further elements of traditional Egyptian architectural design. With architectural construction being so vigorous during this period, particularly in the Delta region around Sais and Naukratis, it is almost inconceivable that Greek settlers and travelers in Egypt did not witness the erection of colossal additions to Egyptian temples. If contemporary examples of an Egyptian influence on Greek statuary are indicative of a Greek reception of Egyptian artistic ideas, it also becomes unlikely that the Greeks in Egypt did not adopt Egyptian architectural elements for their developing canon.
Egyptian Influence on Ionic Architecture
An examination of the architectural remains of the Archaic Greeks in Egypt may reveal features or stylistic elements suggestive of an Egyptian influence on their design. During the reign of Amasis, Herodotus tells us that the Greek settlers of Naukratis constructed numerous temples to their own gods and goddesses. He writes:
[Amasis] made grants of land upon which Greek traders, who did not want to live permanently in Egypt, might erect altars and temples. Of these latter the best known and most used--and also the largest--is the Hellenium; it was built by the joint efforts of the Ionians of Chios, Teos, Phocaea, and Clazomenae, of the Dorians of Rhodes, Cnidos, Halicarnassus, and Phaselis, and of the Aeolians of Mytilene. ... the Aeginetans, however, did build a temple of Zeus separately, the Samians one in honor of Hera, and the Milesians another in honor of Apollo.
Very little evidence of the Greek temples survives or has been excavated at Naukratis, but their temenos foundations and occasional temple foundations have been discovered. Perhaps the most significant find of Archaic Greek architecture at Naukratis is a capital from the colossal Ionic Temple of Apollo (c. 566 BCE). This capital marks the point of transformation from the Proto-Ionic examples, with their volutes springing vertically from the shafts, to the capitals of the Ionic order, where the volutes "now lie horizontally, and are connected by the cushion, and below them the girdle of hanging leaves has become the egg-and-dart, the ovolo or echinus" (figs. 10 and 11). Just below the astragal (the small rounded moulding just beneath the volute), on the uppermost part of the column shaft is a necking decorated with the Egyptian lotus flower and bud, which may have been the prototype of the anthemion, a continuous pattern of alternating palmette (a Mesopotamian floral decoration) and stylized lotus popular to Ionic columns of later periods. The absence of the palmette on the Naukratis capital emphasizes the purely Egyptian influence. From the scanty remains at Naukratis and Sais, the two most significant cities to the Saite Dynasty and the Archaic Greek presence in the Delta region, minor evidence suggests an Egyptian influence on the development of Archaic Ionic architecture. An examination of specific Egyptian architectural feats visible and accessible to the Archaic Greeks and a close look at general Egyptian architectural traditions may provide further evidence suggesting an Egyptian influence on Greek architecture, if not the colossal Archaic Ionic temple, itself.
The Egyptian Labyrinth
One monument of Ancient Egypt that may have had significant impact on the development of the stylistic and formal elements of Greek architecture has little connection with the Saite Dynasty, but is known to have been a popular attraction for Greek and Roman travelers. The 12th Dynasty mortuary temple of the pyramid complex of Amenemhet III (1855-1808 BCE) at Hawara, the royal necropolis in the southeastern Fayum region came to be known by Classical authors and travelers as the Egyptian Labyrinth, most certainly due to the supposed twisting, maze-like characteristics of its inner chambers. The Egyptian Labyrinth occupies the attention of many Classical authors, who never hesitate to mention the tremendous impact it is said to have had on Greek and Aegean architecture. Many ancient authors maintain that Daedalus fashioned his legendary Labyrinth of Minos after "the first [labyrinth] ever to be constructed," the so-called Egyptian Labyrinth near Lake Moeris. Diodorus Siculus writes, "Daedalus, they say, reconstructed in Crete the tangled paths of the Egyptian Labyrinth, which still exists down to the present time and which was built many years prior to the reign of Minos." Likewise, in Pliny's account of civilization's famous labyrinths, he asserts that "there is no doubt that Daedalus adopted it [the Egyptian Labyrinth] as the model for the labyrinth built by him in Crete, but that he reproduced only a hundredth part of it containing passages that wind, advance and retreat in a bewilderingly intricate manner." While these accounts of King Minos and Daedalus may have their basis in myth rather than fact, it remains that Classical authors firmly believed that Egyptian architecture had influenced Aegean architecture in some way.
There is little evidence proving that the Egyptian Labyrinth directly influenced additional works of Greek architecture, but Pliny does include the 6th century colossal Ionic temple of Hera on the island of Samos in his account of famous labyrinths. While Pliny does not detail the influence the Egyptian Labyrinth may have had on the design of the temple of Hera, the so-called Rhoikos temple, the inclusion of this colossal Ionic temple in his account of labyrinths clearly associates it with the Egyptian marvel. The question then arises why Pliny and his contemporaries (his source at the very least) were prompted to consider the Rhoikos temple a labyrinth comparable to the famed Labyrinth of Egypt. To gain an accurate understanding of why the Rhoikos temple was considered a labyrinth, we must isolate the characteristic elements of a traditional labyrinth and examine the Rhoikos temple in this context. The isolation of characteristic elements of a labyrinth may further lead us to the recognition of features in common with both the Egyptian Labyrinth and the Rhoikos temple. Once labyrinthine similarities between the Egyptian and Samian Labyrinths have been isolated, we can look for further stylistic and formal similarities between the two structures. We can then attempt to determine whether or not these similarities are the result of an Egyptian influence on the Rhoikos temple and, possibly, Archaic colossal Ionic architecture as a whole.
The Meaning of the Name
An isolation of characteristic elements of the labyrinth, in its generic form, would best begin with an examination of the meaning of the word "labyrinth," or the Greek laburinqoV. Liddell and Scott's Intermediate Lexicon defines laburinqoV as a "maze, a building consisting of halls connected by tortuous passages," consistent with the Classical and modern usage of the word. Sir Arthur Evans, however, offers us a colorful etymology of the word in maintaining the "labyrinth" is derived from labrys, the Lydian (or Carian) name for the Greek double-edged axe. The suffix "-nth" is believed to belong to a group of pre-Hellenic words surviving in place names, like Corinth (Korinthos) and Zakynthos. Thus "labyrinth" is thought to denote originally the "place of the double axe," which is likely a reference to the palace of Knossos, where the double axe featured prominently among ornamentation and iconography. The Classical and modern usage of labyrinth, however, seems to have lost all connection with its original meaning and to have adopted a meaning describing either the visitor's experience of the ruins of Knossos or the description of King Minos' Labyrinth of Classical myth.
The Egyptian Labyrinth gets its Classical name, of course, from its characteristic hallways and chambers, "which are long and numerous and have winding passages communicating with one another, so that no stranger can find his way either into any court or out of it without a guide." One can almost get lost in Herodotus' appropriately convoluted description of the Labyrinth:
The upper rooms, on the contrary, I did actually see, and it is hard to believe that they are the work of men; the baffling and intricate passages from room to room and from court to court were an endless wonder to me, as we passed from a courtyard into rooms, from rooms into galleries, from galleries into more rooms, and thence into yet more courtyards.
In his Natural History, Pliny also comments on how "doors are let into the walls at frequent intervals to suggest deceptively the way ahead and to force the visitors to go back upon the very same tracks that he has already followed in his wanderings." Diodorus further sums up the Classical traveler's experience of the Egyptian Labyrinth in calling it "a work remarkable not so much for its size as for its unrivaled cleverness of construction: for it is hard for anyone venturing inside to find his way out again, unless he has obtained a guide of fully proven experience." In no lengthy account of the Egyptian Labyrinth do Classical authors fail to comment on its baffling, confusing, maze-like characteristics. Similar characteristics are also ascribed to all other labyrinths of history. In the introduction to his account of the world's famous labyrinths, Pliny labels them "quite the most abnormal (portentosissimum) achievement on which man has spent his resources." In his description of the Cretan Labyrinth, supposedly based largely on the Egyptian Labyrinth, he speaks of "passages that wind, advance and retreat in a bewilderingly intricate manner." Pliny then borrows a description of the Italian, or Etruscan, Labyrinth from the 1st century BCE Roman scholar Marcus Varro, in which he says "... there is a tangled labyrinth, which no one must enter without a ball of thread if he is to find his way out."
One labyrinth in Pliny's account, however, is not given the characteristic appellation of housing a bewildering maze of passages. What Pliny calls the Lemnian Labyrinth (Lemnius) is described as being similar to the Cretan Labyrinth, but in what respect we are not told. Pliny considers it more noteworthy than the Cretan "only in virtue of its 150 columns, the drums of which were so well balanced as they hung in the workshop that a child was able to turn them on the lathe." Pliny is now generally considered to have been describing the early Archaic Temple of Hera at Samos, the above-mentioned Rhoikos temple. Evidence in favor of this structure being the Rhoikos temple at Samos is found in Pliny's description of the use of a lathe to form the column drums. The column bases of the Rhoikos temple show clear traces of having been turned out by lathes. Pliny further cites Zmilis, Rhoecus, and Theodorus as the architects of this labyrinth and all as natives of Lemnos, when, in fact, Rhoecus (Rhoikos) and Theodorus were the architects of the temple of Hera at Samos and were natives of Samos. Additionally, Pliny already places the Greek labyrinth on Samos in an earlier book of his work when he writes: "Theodorus, who constructed the Labyrinth at Samos, cast a statue of himself in bronze." Lastly Pliny's misplacement of the Samian Labyrinth in Lemnos is possibly the result of a misinterpretation of Greek term en limnais, meaning "in the marshes," which designates the location of the temple of Hera at Samos.
The Samian Labyrinth
Why does Pliny include the Rhoikos temple among the famous labyrinths of history? What elements of the Rhoikos temple prompt Pliny to consider it a labyrinth? As we have seen above, Classical authors ascribe to all labyrinths characteristics such as "tangled paths," "passages that wind, advance and retreat in a bewilderingly intricate manner," "winding passages communicating with one another," "baffling and intricate passages," deceptive suggestions, the wanderings of a visitor, the need for a guide or a ball of thread to find the way out again, and many other similar descriptions on the notable maze-like features of a labyrinth. In light of the abundance of similar descriptions of labyrinths among Classical authors over the ages and in light of the lack of generosity on the part of any one Classical author to put forth a specific definition of what constitutes a labyrinth, it seems reasonably safe to conclude that a labyrinth may be defined as a structure possessing stylistic and formal elements similar those mentioned above. As such, to be considered a labyrinth, the colossal Ionic temple of Hera at Samos must have possessed features suggestive to an ancient visitor of baffling, winding, intricate passages, or the like.
In addition to the unprecedented colossal size, a remarkable innovation to Greek temple architecture in the Ionic temples of the 6th century is the vastly increased number of columns within the temple peristyle and interior. The peristyle, in fact, consisted of a depth of two columns about the temple perimeter, referred to as dipteral, and columns of the same colossal dimensions then continued into the pronaos and sometimes the naos of the cella building. It is thought by some that the effect upon a visitor's experience of these temples induced by the number of colossal columns might lead to the perception of a certain labyrinthine quality. On the labyrinthine effect of the Rhoikos temple, Dinsmoor writes:
The earliest of these [colossal dipteral Ionic temples] was designed for the sanctuary of Hera at Samos by Rhoecus and Theodorus of that island, inspired by the great columned halls of Egyptian temples such as the so-called Labyrinth near Lake Moeris described by Herodotus and Strabo; the Samian temple was likewise on that account called the Labyrinth.
Dinsmoor directly compares the Rhoikos temple to the Egyptian Labyrinth, designating the latter as exemplary of the Egyptian architectural characteristics, which influenced the design of the Rhoikos temple. The key architectural characteristic that influenced the Rhoikos temple, according to Dinsmoor, is the "columned halls," or the colonnaded courts and hypostyle halls found in nearly every traditional Egyptian temple. On account of the great columned halls of Egyptian temples such as the Labyrinth, and on account of the vast expanse of densely gathered columns in the peristyle and cella of the Rhoikos temple, these structures were considered labyrinthine. When discussing the Samian Labyrinth, Pliny further supports the significance of the columns and discusses no other features that may have been cause for its labyrinthine quality.
One must wonder then what it is about a vast expanse of columns that makes a structure seem labyrinthine, or maze-like. Within an Egyptian hypostyle hall, it is somewhat easy to perceive the labyrinthine effect in that one's vision is entirely obscured beyond the horizontal and vertical axes by the densely compacted grid of towering columns (fig. 1). One's narrow line of sight is further terminated by a pylon or wall stretching from floor to ceiling. In effect, the visitor is completely surrounded by a network of towering walls, whether physical or virtually created by the columnar effect. The labyrinthine effect induced through the columns of the Rhoikos temple may have been quite similar. As with the Egyptian hypostyle hall, the visitor's field of vision is tightly constrained when standing within the cella building of the Ionic temple or even alongside the cella's external wall. The surrounding, densely populated, grid-like forest of columns in the peristyle similarly restricts the field of vision to the horizontal and vertical axes of the temple with occasional opportunity to glimpse along a tangential path (figs. 6, 7, and 9).
The Labyrinths are not the sole source of architectural features indicative of an Egyptian influence in the Archaic Ionic temple. Many formal, stylistic, and experiential elements in traditional Egyptian temple design strongly resemble characteristics of the Ionic temple.
Egyptian Elements in Ionic Colossal Temples
The peristyle of the Rhoikos temple and other colossal Ionic temples of the Archaic period is likely to have developed as a result of an Egyptian influence on Greek temple architectural design. As mentioned above, the colossal Ionic temple was given a peristyle of unprecedented size and innovative form in its dipteral colonnade, which Dinsmoor clearly describes in his treatment of the dipteral peristyle as having been inspired by Egyptian temple design. Colossal architecture and the dipteral colonnade were certainly anything but unprecedented in Egypt during the Greek Archaic period (late 7th through 6th centuries BCE). Colossal temple architecture can be seen as far back as the early Old Kingdom of Egypt with the splendid valley and mortuary temples of the Pyramid Age (2551-2472 BCE). Furthermore, the dipteral colonnade becomes a common addition to the traditional Egyptian temple certainly by the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BCE, figs. 2 and 3).
In addition to the strong precedent and a chronological context permitting an Egyptian influence on the development of the dipteral Ionic peristyle, many stylistic similarities can also be drawn between the Egyptian colonnade and the colossal Ionic peristyle. One similarity is observed in the widened central intercolumniation of both the Ionic peristyle and the Egyptian colonnade and hypostyle hall, the difference being that the central columns of the Egyptian hypostyle hall are far more massive than the columns on either side (compare figs. 3 and 8). On the possible Egyptian origin for the widened central intercolumniation of colossal Ionic temples, A. W. Lawrence writes in his Greek Architecture:
At the front of each temple stood two rows of eight columns--an unprecedented number, though soon to be surpassed. Their spacing was graduated to emphasize the entrance by a wider intercolumniation; the Egyptians habitually designed the halls of temples in that manner, and the idea of massing great numbers of columns may also have been inspired by knowledge of Egypt.
The experiential effect of this widened central intercolumniation of both the Egyptian and Ionic temple is one of strong emphasis on the entrance or entranceway of the structure along the central vertical axis.
The continuation of columns no less significant in scale than those of the peristyle into the pronaos of the Ionic temple could also be seen as mimicking of the Egyptian hypostyle hall and processional colonnade (see figs. 2 and 3). Dinsmoor observes that the Rhoikos temple had one hundred two columns in the exterior peristyle, "besides two rows of five each in the deep pronaos, which seems to have been inspired by the central aisles of the Egyptian hypostyle hall" (figs. 7 and 8). In addition to the preservation of column scale, continuity between the Ionic peristyle and temple interior is established by preserving the widened central intercolumniation of the peristyle among the interior columns. This continuity designates a clear path or channel, down which the visitor is encouraged to advance into the temple interior, not unlike the strong processional aspect of the Egyptian temple. The processional quality of the Egyptian temple is clearly seen throughout its many parts, from the long avenue of sphinxes or roadway lined with trees during the temple approach, to the series of massive pylons with proportionally narrow, yet towering, entranceways, and to the series of courts, hallways, and chambers of progressively increasing elevation and smaller dimensions. During this long and elaborate procession, however, the pathway is never unclear, for, from the very first outer pylon to the doorway of the deepest, smallest, holiest naos, the processional aisle running down the central vertical axis of the temple remains perfectly straight and its width constant. In the temple's conceptual design, this permits the observer to peer from the very front of the temple or even the approaching causeway into the far-off most sacred naos and upon the icon of the god (fig. 4).
The Egyptian and colossal Ionic temples exhibit further similarity in the conceptual continuity between the structure and the landscape. As expressed above, the dense collection of numerous columns in the Ionic temple peristyle and cella building produce a sort of "forest of columns" effect. In addition to the labyrinthine experiential effect, the "forest of columns" could have also served to associate the temple structure with the surrounding landscape as a metaphorical or sometimes literal reflection of a surrounding sacred grove. The forest of columns in the Egyptian temple similarly reflects the landscape, not necessarily of the immediate surroundings, but of the mythical "marshland vegetation, which sprang up around the primeval mound of creation--symbolized by the temple's inner shrine." The great variety of column types representing different domestic plant life at different stages of development in the Egyptian temple further emphasizes the diversity of the natural environment on the banks of the Nile. The continuity between landscape and structure in the Ionic temple could be further reflective of the processional quality of the temple complex. During the processional approach to the temple along the "sacred way" (much like the Egyptian "avenue of sphinxes"), the distinction between the temple and landscape is blurred to the point that a clear boundary between exterior and interior cannot be drawn. Similarly, the open-air courtyards and clerestory lighting give the interior of the Egyptian temple a somewhat exterior feel. As the visitor or priest processes through the Egyptian temple along the central aisle into the progressively smaller darker chambers, the point at which one is within the structural interior and no longer out in the open air is substantially blurred.
Through a close examination of the colossal Ionic temple of the early Archaic period, we have discovered many experiential, formal, and stylistic elements strongly evocative of traditional Egyptian temple design. From an analysis of contemporary Greek sculpture with its Egyptian influence, we have also discovered strong precedent for the Greek importation of Egyptian artistic ideas. Our examination of the Greco-Egyptian cultural and economic relations of this period, further, exposed a social climate perfectly suitable to Greek accessibility to Egyptian architecture, and a climate, in which the transference of artistic and architectural ideas, along with cultural wares and further items of trade, was even encouraged by the highest social, political, and religious leaders of the Egyptian and Ionian nations. The purpose of this discussion was not to defeat theories on the origins and development of Ionic architecture, but to help us further understand one of the many possible influences contributing to the Ionic Order. These discoveries may also help give us a greater understanding of cultural relations in the Archaic Period and an understanding of what the Ionians had hoped to express through their innovative temple architecture in light of their Egyptian allies.
With the exception of a brief comment on the multiple possible origins for the Ionic volute, this paper does not address some of the likely Near Eastern or Aegean Bronze Age sources for the seemingly innovative features of the colossal Archaic Ionic temples. As for Near Eastern influences on Ionic architecture, it may be said that further Oriental elements in Greek art often found emerged after having undergone "sundry modifications" on their way from Egypt through the Near East and into Ionia or the Greek mainland, along the same pathways that many Egyptian art objects and cultural goods found their way to Greece during the Archaic period. Similarly, one could say of possible Aegean traces in Greek architecture that they too might have had their origins in the works of Ancient Egypt. A further significant possible Egyptian influence on Greek architecture not addressed in this paper is the introduction of the peristyle to the Greek temple. While evidence above has demonstrated that the many architectural elements of the colossal Archaic Ionic temple, including the innovative dipteral peristyle, likely emerged as a result of an Egyptian influence, the idea of the Greek temple peristyle, itself, may have similarly made way to Greece along a similar path. To address these issues sufficiently, however, would be to exceed the scope of this paper, yet may also likely be the next course of action demanded by this research topic.
Origin and Function of the Egyptian Labyrinth
Classical authors are less certain of the origin or purpose of the Egyptian Labyrinth than they are of its influence on Greek architecture. Located at Hawara, the royal necropolis in the southeastern Fayum region, the Labyrinth is now known to be the site of the mortuary temple of the pyramid complex of the 12th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhet III (1855-1808 BCE). Herodotus claims that the Labyrinth was supposedly built as a common memorial for the reigns of twelve regional monarchs to strengthen the bond between them. Diodorus gives us several different accounts of the Labyrinth's origin and purpose, beginning with King Mendes, "whom some call Marrus. This king performed no martial deeds whatever, but he did build himself a palace of burial known as the Labyrinth." He later describes the Labyrinth as a tomb to the twelve kings mentioned in Herodotus' account. Diodorus then tells the story of how King Menas crossed Lake Moeris with the aid of a crocodile. As a gesture of thanks and homage to the crocodile god Sobek, he founded the city named after the crocodiles and instructed the inhabitants to worship the crocodiles as gods. He also built his tomb here, "raising a four sided pyramid nearby, and he constructed the Labyrinth, which many admire."
Despite the many accounts of the origin of the Egyptian Labyrinth, most Classical authors recognize a religious function to this structure. Diodorus' account of the Labyrinth in the context of the story of King Menas' pyramid tomb and the institution of a crocodile cult agrees with the modern assertion that the Labyrinth originally functioned in part as a mortuary installation for the king's pyramid and in part to serve the cults of various gods, likely those of Fayum area, "whose worship was carried on in association with that of the dead king." A more pronounced mixture of Pharaonic mortuary cult with local religion is found in Herodotus' observation of the Labyrinth's present function: "I was taken through the rooms in the upper storey, so what I shall say of them is from my own observation, but the underground ones I can speak of only from report, because the Egyptians in charge refused to let me see them, as they contain the tombs of the kings who built the labyrinth, and also the tombs of the sacred crocodiles."