World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cella

Article Id: WHEBN0000848535
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cella  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dougga, Niha Bekaa, Glossary of architecture, Parthenon, Ancient Greek temple
Collection: Ancient Greek Architecture, Ancient Roman Architecture, Architectural Elements, Greek Temples
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Cella

Temple layout with cella highlighted.

A cella (from Latin for small chamber) or naos (from the Greek ναός, "temple"), is the inner chamber of a temple in classical architecture, or a shop facing the street in domestic Roman architecture (see domus). Its enclosure within walls has given rise to extended meanings, of a hermit's or monk's cell, and since the 17th century, of a biological cell in plants or animals.

Contents

  • Greek and Roman temples 1
  • Etruscan temples 2
  • Egyptian temples 3
  • Christian churches 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Greek and Roman temples

Greek Temple of Apollo at Paestum with centrally located cella.
The Maison Carrée at Nîmes with its cella offset behind the hexastyle portico.

In Ancient Greek and Roman temples the cella is a room at the centre of the building, usually containing a cult image or statue representing the particular deity venerated in the temple. In addition the cella may contain a table or plinth to receive votive offerings such as votive statues, precious and semi-precious stones, helmets, spear and arrow heads, swords, and war trophies. The accumulated offerings made Greek and Roman temples virtual treasuries, and many of them were indeed used as treasuries during antiquity.

The cella is typically a simple, windowless, rectangular room with a door or open entrance at the front behind a colonnaded portico facade. In larger temples, the cella was typically divided by two colonnades into a central nave flanked by two aisles. A cella may also contain an adyton, an inner area restricted to access by the priests—in religions that had a consecrated priesthood—or by the temple guard.

With very few exceptions Greek buildings were of a peripteral design that placed the cella in the center of the plan, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Apollo at Paestum. The Romans favoured pseudoperipteral buildings with a portico offsetting the cella to the rear. The pseudoperipteral plan uses engaged columns embedded along the side and rear walls of the cella. The Temple of Venus and Roma built by Hadrian in Rome had two cellae arranged back-to-back enclosed by a single outer peristyle.

Etruscan temples

According to Vitruvius (Book IV.7), the Etruscan type of temples (as, for example, at Portonaccio near Veio) had three cellae, side by side, conjoined by a double row of columns on the facade. This is an entirely new setup with respect to the other types of constructions found in Etruria and the Tyrrhenian side of Italy, which have one cell with or without columns, as seen in Greece and the Orient.

Egyptian temples

In the Hellenistic culture of Ptolemaic Egypt the cella referred to that which is hidden and unknown inside the inner sanctum of a temple, existing in complete darkness, meant to symbolize the state of the universe before the act of creation. The cella, also called the naos, holds many box-like shrines. The Greek word naos has been extended by archaeologists to describe the central room of the pyramids. Towards the end of the Old Kingdom, naos construction went from being subterranean to being built directly into the pyramid, above ground. The naos was surrounded by many different paths and rooms, many used to confuse and divert thieves and grave robbers.

Christian churches

In early Christian and Byzantine architecture, the cella or naos is an area at the centre of the church reserved for performing the liturgy.

In later periods a small chapel or monk's cell was also called a cella.

See also

References

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  • , Book IV. ch 7De architecturaVitruvius, : translation, plans and reconstructions of Tuscan cellae.
  • Trachtenberg and Hyman, Architecture:From Prehistory to Post Modernity (Second edition)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.