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Temple of Athena at Paestum

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Robert B Camp, Jeffrey Becker, Tom Elliott
Contributors: Adam Rabinowitz
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Jul 18, 2023 06:34 PM History
A Late Archaic Doric Temple of Athena (ca. 500 B.C.) at Paestum.

40.42457, 15.0052578



The Temple of Athena at Poseidonia/Paestum, constructed between 510 and 500 BC, was the second of the three Doric temples built in the city. The temple includes elements of both Ionic and Doric architecture, and is the earliest example of what would become the canonical system of proportions for Doric temples: a 6 x 13 (n x 2n+1) external colonnade and the use of Doric feet throughout the entire structure. The interior porch/entrance area, however, featured six Ionic columns. This created an interesting juxtaposition of styles between the broader Doric columns with entasis and the thinner, straight-sided Ionic columns. The temple also shows some other idiosyncrasies, including a lack of pedimental sculpture, a projecting cornice with soffits, and the use of string-courses of a reddish sandstone in the entablature.

The Temple of Athena was repaired numerous times throughout its use by the Lucanians and the Romans, but the original style was always preserved. The building was eventually turned into a Christian Church in the 5th c. AD and then abandoned, along with the rest of Paestum, sometime after the 8th c. AD when the springs in the area silted up and created swamps in the area. It was rediscovered in the 18th century, when Paestum and its temples became a stop on the European Grand Tour.

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Robert B Camp, Jeffrey Becker, Tom Elliott, and Adam Rabinowitz, 'Temple of Athena at Paestum: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2023 <> [accessed: 23 September 2023]

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