Temples of Paestum
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Location Paestum, near Naples, Italy   map
Date -530 to -460   timeline
Building Type temple
 Construction System cut stone, originally with stucco finish
Climate mediterranean
Context originally urban
Style Ancient Greek - Archaic Doric
Notes the Basilica, the Temple of Poseidon, the Temple of Ceres. influential in late 1700's.


Photo, exterior overview

Photo, end elevation with columns and pediment



Section Drawing




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Discussion Temples of Paestum Commentary

When the ruins of Paestum were 'rediscovered' by 'antiquaries'—chiefly Johann Joachim Winckelmann—in the 1750s, "the ruins [were] then made widely known, and an enthusiastic appreciation of Greek art and architecture was also sparked...Because of Paestum, the Classic Revival was born with Greece, not Rome, ascendant."

— Deborah Fritz from G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p16.

The three Paestum temples are all in the Archaic Doric style of heavy columns with capitals that are squat, or as Goethe termed them, 'oppressive.' By the time the Parthenon was finished (438 B.C.), columns were elegantly slender, capitals had an alert, load-bearing profile, and refinement attended every detail. Moreover, they were carved from Parian marble; Paestum's now crudely exposed shellstone shafts, it is only fair to say, were originally covered with lime stucco. As in Greece proper, the temples at Paestum face easterly so that the rising sun will awaken the statue within."

— G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p16.


"The southernmost of the temples, the Basilica, was built about 530 B.C., with the Temple of Poseidon dating from about 460 B.C. The third, farther north...is the Temple of Ceres, from about 510 B.C. The Basilica is unusual in that it has nine columns across the ends and a row of columns down the middle of the interior."

— G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p16.

Sources on Temples of Paestum

Helmut Berve and Gottfried Gruben. Greek Temple Theatres and Shrines. photos by Max Hirmer. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1963. photo of east front of Hera I from the east-north-east, plate 108. photo of Hera II (Temple of Poseidon) from the south-east, plate 116.

Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Drawings of Great Buildings. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. plan and section drawings, Temple of Poseidon, p22. — Available at Amazon.com

Donald Corner and Jenny Young. Slides from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1841.090. PCD.2260.1012.1841.070

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. New York: Random House, 1975. exterior color photo of Temple of Hera Argiva, p59. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at Amazon.com

G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. details and discussion, p16. photo, p17.

Russell Sturgis. The Architecture Sourcebook. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984. ISBN 0-442-20831-9. LC 84-7275. NA2840.S78. section drawing, p341.

Doreen Yarwood. The Architecture of Europe. New York: Hastings House, 1974. ISBN 0-8038-0364-8. LC 73-11105. NA950.Y37. perspective drawing of Temple of Hera interior, f47, p23. perspective drawing of Temple of Athena Demeter, f45, p23. perspective drawing of Temple of Hera, f44, p23.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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