University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Throughout the ancient Greek world, temples marked the landscape as a sign of Greek civilization. Although Greek temples hare been examined, described, and catalogued scientifically since archaeology came of age in the 18th century, the question of their cultural significance in their original Greek context has vet to be fully answered. Many twentieth-century interpreters tended to yoke the history of Greek temples to narratives of modernism, resulting in anachronistic conclusions. Current trends in architectural history have begun to test other interpretative strategies, such as the interrelationship between architecture and the emergence of Greek philosophy. This essay explores the possibilities of a deeper reading of these architecturally stunning spaces through both current and classical theories of gendered space. Despite thorough Freudian examinations of gendered space as it relates to the body and cultural interactions in modem domestic architecture by sociologists such as Steven Pile, culturally significant buildings such as the Parthenon hare remained unexamined by gender theorists. Furthermore, the recent scholarship in Classical body theory is bringing to light more and more data on the Greeks' own attitudes toward gender as it was inscribed on the body unfiltered by the Freudian lens. My investigation centers on the development of peristyles and cellas of signature temples throughout the Greek realm, demonstrating how culturally inscribed gender ideals influenced, and even shaped the evolution of the temple form from the Archaic through the Classical period of Greece.