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Model of the greek city of Priene


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The grandest, the last, and best preserved of temples at Paestum is the so called Temple of Neptune, though it was almost certainly dedicated, like the Basilica, to Hera.

This was recognised from the first as being the grandest of all the temples and it was therefore assumed in the eighteenth century that it must have been dedicated to the patron god of the city who was Poseidon, the god of the sea. The original Greek name for Paestum was Poseidonia, and the early coins have the image of Poseidon: Paestum is in fact the Roman name of the site.  Poseidonia is the city of Poseidon whose Latin equivalent is Neptune and therefore it was named the Temple of Neptune. The dedication is almost certainly wrong as the terracotta votive figurines found in the sanctuary show female types normally identified as Hera. There is also an inscribed silver dish which declares ‘I am sacred to Hera: strengthen our bows’.

This plan of the temple (from John Pedley’s book) differs from the Temple of Athena in its internal layout. At the front there is a comparatively small porch with only two columns, but there is an equal sized porch at the rear, the opisthodomus. However the great glory of the temple is the huge cella, with the double row of double columns, presumably to cater for a very large cult statue.



Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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