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Temple of Heracles

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Freya Schlaefer, Asta Rossi Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Sep 16, 2023 08:55 AM History
The Temple of Heracles is one of the oldest temples in the Valley of the Temples in ancient Akragas, Sicily, dating from around the late 6th century BCE.

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The Temple of Heracles was constructed sometime in the late sixth or early fifth centuries BCE, in the Valley of the Temples, to the east of the primary city gate of ancient Akragas, sometimes known as Agrigentum. It is the second-largest temple at Akragas, sitting at 67 by 25.34 meters. The temple is peripteral, with six columns in front and fifteen on each side, and the opisthodomos open in the back. While there is no consensus on who built it, it was almost certainly one of the early fifth century rulers of Akragas. Scholars such as Ross Holloway suggest Theron as the sponsor of the temple’s construction, but others such as Antony Spawforth indicate that the beginning of construction predates Theron’s rule. The temple is the earliest example of what would become a standard Sicilian temple. It contains the oldest known example of stairs, cut into the cella, leading to the roof. It is also the first example of angle contraction in temple corners. The temple at one point was said to have contained a painting by Zeuxis and a bronze statue of Heracles by Myron. The temple is referenced in Cicero’s In Verrem, where the orator claims Verres stole the statue of Heracles from the temple (2.4.94). There is evidence of a fire at the temple sometime in antiquity, and it had three small rooms added to it under Roman rule, one containing a statue of Asklepios.

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Freya Schlaefer, Asta Rossi, Jeffrey Becker, and Thomas Landvatter, 'Temple of Heracles: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2023 <> [accessed: 04 March 2024]

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