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Bassae  Apollo  450-425  BC


The temple at Bassae is a Doric peripteral structure with 6 x 15 columns, with a cella divided into 2 sections and a pronaos and opisthodomos, both distyle in antis. The unusual north-south orientation does not fit with most Doric temple plans, but a door opening east from the adyton at the rear of the cella may have provided the daylight needed to illuminate the sacred image inside. The twenty-three frieze blocks from the interior of the building show the battle between the Greeks and Amazons and the Lapiths and Centaurs. Other than the Athena temple at Tegea, it is the only Greek temple to have incorporated all three ancient orders in its design: Doric for the exterior, Ionic for the cella or naos (5 Ionic semi-columns attached by spurs, the southern most pair were at 45 degree angles), and a single Corinthian column marking the entrance to the adyton or inner sanctum. Currently, the temple is housed under a large tent structure and is going through some restoration and preservation.

Pausanias, a Greek geographer of the 2nd century AD, considered the temple one of the finest in the Peloponnese. He further stated that Iktinos, the Parthenon architect, designed the temple.

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