Origins of Classical Architecture Temples, Orders, and Gifts to the Gods in Ancient Greece Mark Wilson Jones

Publication date:
15 May 2014
Yale University Press
304 pages: 260 x 210mm
65 color + 170 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

The Greek architectural orders—Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—lie at the heart of the classical traditions of building, and yet satisfying accounts for their origins have proved elusive. In contrast with conventional theories that would see the orders originating over the course of a long evolution, this book stresses the suddenness of the phenomenon and its dependence on historical context, human agency, and artistic inspiration. Casting new light on a subject that has preoccupied architects since the Renaissance, Mark Wilson Jones shows how construction, influence, appearance, and meaning found expression in complex and multifaceted designs.  New emphasis is placed on the relationship between the orders and the temples of worship that they were created to adorn. Temples were exquisitely made offerings to the divinity, and they also contained valuable offerings. In revealing affinities between certain offerings and the orders, the author explains how these gave architectural expression to sensibilities of intense social and religious significance. 

Mark Wilson Jones is an architect, architectural historian, and scholar of archeology in the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath.

“In this lucidly argued and beautifully produced book Mark Wilson Jones attempts the hugely ambitious task of explaining the genesis of classical architecture”—Peter di Figeiredo, Context

"This book contains many new observations and arguments, and is superbly illustrated. . . . The book is a major contribution to the study of Greek architecture and can be recommended for everyone interested in classics, history of art, archaeology or ancient history.—András Patay-Horváth, Bryn Mawr Classical Review