METOPE, or .METOPA, (from pera, inter, between, and (rill, an aperture), in architecture, the square piece or interval between the triglyphs, in the Doric frieze. In the original Greek the word signifies the distance between one aperture, or hole, and another, or between one triglyph and another ; the triglyphs being supposed to be solives, or joists, that fill the apertures.
Vitruvius having shown that the Doric order took its rise from the disposition of the timberwork in the construction of the original hut, proceeds as follows : " From this imitation, therefore, arose the use of triglyphs and mutules in Doric work : for it cannot be, as some erro neously assert, that the triglyphs represent windows ; because triglyphs are disposed in the angles, and over the quarters of the columns, in which places windows are not permitted; for if windows were there left, the union of the angles of build ings would be dissolved ; also, if the triglyphs are supposed to he situated in the place of the windows, by the same rea son the derails in Ionic work may be thought to occupy the places of the windows ; for the intervals between the den tils, as well as between the triglyphs, are called metope; the Greeks calling the bed of the joists and assers opus, (as we call it cam, eolumburia ;) so because the inter-joist is between two ore, it is by them called metope." As some difficulty arises in disposing the triglyphs and metopes in that just symmetry which the Doric order requires, many architects use. this order only in temples.
In the Doric order, it is not the space between the mu tules, but the space between the triglyphs, that forms the metope.
From the authority of Stewart, in his Ruins of Athens, the following proportions are taken ; where observe, that feet are distinguished by the mark (') being placed over them, and inches thus (") ; the numbers following the latter are decimals.
In the Doric portico at Athens, the breadth of the metope, or space between the triglyphs, is 3' 3" and 3' 3".G, (see Chap. I. Plate IV.) ; the height is 3' 0".7, including the band or capital over it, (see Plate V.) : or without the band, 2' 9".05, (see Plate VI).
In the temple of Minerva, at Athens, (Vol. ii. Chap. I.) the height of the metope, without its capital, or band, is 3' 1 I ".15, (see Plate VI.) ; and the breadth of the metope is 4' 8".35.
In the Propylma, (Vol. It Chap. V. Plate VI.) the breadth of the metope is 3' S".25, and the height 3' 9".S5, including the band and the bead over it ; and in the entablature of the ante (Plate IX.) the breadth of the metope is 2' S".734, and the height 2' 5", without the band.
In the temple of Theseus, (Vol. III. Chap. I. Plate VI.) the breadth of the metope is 2' 6".475, and its height 2' S".55, including a very broad band. So that the height of the tvmpan, or panel, is universally less than the breadth.