After my visit to Pompeii, I drove to Paestum along the Amalfi Coast. I had visited Paestum more than half a century ago in 1963. I had made some pencil drawings of a couple of the temples at that time. I tried to take pictures from the same vantage point during my visit in 2016.
Paestum with its Greek temples is another example of the many remnants of Ancient Civilizations that I encountered during my travels.
Most of the description of Paestum is from the Wikipedia entry for Paestum.
Paestum was a major Greek city, with three impressive temples, dating to 600 BCE to 450 BCE. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is very well preserved.
The oldest of the temples was dedicated to Hera, built around 600 BCE. The columns have a very strong entasis or curvature down their length, an indication of an early date. The temple is wider than most Greek temples, probably because there are two doors and a row of seven columns running centrally inside the cella or inner sanctuary, an unusual feature.
The second Temple of Hera was built around 460-450 BCE. It was once thought to be dedicated to Poseidon (Neptune in Roman mythology). The columns do not have the normal 20 flutes on each column but have 24 flutes. The Temple of Hera II also has a wider column size and smaller intervals between columns.
On the highest point of the town, some way from the other temples, is the Temple of Athena. It was built around 500 BCE, and was for some time incorrectly thought to have been dedicated to Ceres.
In the central part of the complex is the Roman Forum, thought to have been built on the site of the preceding Greek agora.
To the north-east of the forum is the amphitheater. This is of normal Roman pattern, though much smaller than later examples.
There is also a small circular council hall (bouleuterion) or assembly space (ekklesiasterion), with seats in tiers.
All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.
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Page last updated on Fri Feb 5 13:10:16 2021 (Mountain Standard Time)
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