Anta (architecture)

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An anta (pl. antæ) (Latin, possibly from ante, 'before' or 'in front of') is an architectural term describing the posts or pillars on either side of a doorway or entrance of a Greek temple - the slightly projecting piers which terminate the walls of the naos.[1]

In contrast to pillars, they are directly connected with the walls of a temple. They owe their origin to the vertical posts of timber employed in the early, more primitive palaces or temples of Greece, as at Tiryns and in the Temple of Hera at Olympia. They were used as load-bearing structures to carry the roof timbers, as no reliance could be placed on walls built with unburnt brick or in rubble masonry with clay mortar. Later, they became more decorative as the materials used for wall construction became sufficient to support the structure.[2]

When there are columns between antae, as in a porch facade, rather than a solid wall, the columns are said to be in antis. (See temple.)[2]


  1. ^ Roth 1993, p. [page needed].
  2. ^ a b Chisholm 1911, p. 88.


  • Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning (First ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 0-06-430158-3. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antae". Encyclopædia Britannica 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 88.