Presentation on theme: "The Hephaisteion View of the Hephaisteion from the Southwest Behold,"— Presentation transcript:
The Hephaisteion View of the Hephaisteion from the Southwest Behold,
What is the Hephaisteion? A temple dedicated to both Hephaistos, as god of the forge, and Athena, as goddess of crafts. A Doric temple located to the west of the Agora. The best preserved ancient temple not only in Athens, but in all of Greece!
Construction of the Temple Construction began between 460-450 BCE, during the construction projects of Perikles. However, the Hephaisteion should not be considered part of the Periklean reconstruction, because there was no preceding temple destroyed by the Persians. This was a whole new temple. The temple wasn’t completed until the 420s. The delay in construction is either attributed to resources being rerouted to build the Parthenon or issues involving the Peloponnesian war. The influence of the Parthenon’s design changed the design of the Hephaisteion; an interior colonnade was added to house the cult statues. Cult statues to Hephaistos and Athena were sculpted by Alkamenes (probably), although these statues are lost. These statues were dedicated sometime between 421 and 415.
The Layout A layout of the Hephaisteion. The circles are the columns, the opisthodomos (back porch) in on the left, the cella is in the middle, and the pronaos (front porch) is on the right
Friezes and Metopes The Hephaisteion has uneven sculpture distribution: the eastern friezes and metopes have many more sculptures than the western side. The easternmost side has ten metopes depicting the ten labors of Herakles; the four easternmost metopes on the north and south side depict the labors of Theseus. The eastern frieze, running along the pronoas, depicts the gods watching an epic battle, while the western frieze, along the opisthodomus, depicts Lapiths and Centaurs during a skirmish. The emphasis on the eastern metopes exists because the temple faced the Agora; Athenians would approach and see the eastern side of the temple the most often.
Metopes depicting the labors of Herakles Hard-to-see frieze depicting an epic battle while the gods observe. The warriors depicted on the eastern frieze
Naming Issues The temple was known for quite some time as the Theseion, in reference to the metopes of Theseus along the northern and southern sides of the temple. This is still a popular name in modern Athens Believed to be the Hephaisteion, and not the Theseion, for two reasons – a quote from Harpokration states: “They used to call hired men Kolonetai, since they stood by the Kolonus (hill), which is near the Agora, where the Hephaisteion and the Euryakeion are. This kolonis was called Agoraiois.” Inscriptions found elsewhere show where the Euryakeion is, leaving the modern temple as the likeliest candidate to be the Hephaisteion – excavation around the Hephaistaion have revealed that many metalworking establishments and smithies were located nearby. This suggests that the workers, or Kolonetai, worked near the temple of both forge and craft.
Later History Like many other Greek temples, the Hephaisteion was converted to a Christian church, sometime during the 7 th century CE. Popular church conventions differed from that of Greek temple convention. As such, the temple was modified so that it could be approached from the west by adding doorways in the cella. Pagan images were often removed from the temple, usually by knocking off the heads of characters depicted in metopes and friezes. Many metopes of Theseus have Theseus’ head, but not the Minotaur’s head, removed.
The New Layout Doors were added to the western and southern cella walls, the pronoas was effectively removed, and an arch was added to the eastern end to close off the temple.
Why so well preserved? Athens is far from any fault lines, which means that earthquakes weren’t an issue, unlike in other parts of Greece. Its status as a Church would insure that while much imagery would be defaced, the temple itself would remain intact.
Excavation Excavation is relatively modern for the Hephaisteion, because so much of it remains intact. Sporadic investigations into the Hephaisteion during the 18 th and 19 th centuries remain largely unpublished or incomplete. Some of the most important recent excavations have been done by Dorothy B. Thompson, Homer A. Thompson and A.K. Orlandos. Dorothy B. Thompson worked in 1936 to discover the gardening pits around the Hephaisteion. This shows that while today much of the temple land is arid, in ancient times temples would have been surrounded by gardens and greenery. Homer A. Thompson did work in the 1930s to discover many metallurgy locations. Twenty foundries and smithies have been uncovered in Athens, and nine of them are in close proximity to the Hephaisteion. A. K. Orlandos worked in the 30s as well to discover much about the transition from pagan temple to church.
Bibliography Dinsmoor, W.B. Observations on the Hephaisteion. – Hesperia Suppl. 5 (1941) Travlos, J. Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens. London, 1971, 261- 173 Camp, J.M. The Athenian Agora. London 1986, 82-87 Camp, J.M. The Archaeology of Athens. New Haven 2001, 102-104 Dorig, Jose. La Frise Est De L’Hephaisteion. Philipp von Zbern, Mayence: 1985. Fletcher, Banister. A History of Architecture on the Comparitive Method. Sixth edition, rewritten and enlarged. New York 1921 Lübke, Wilhelm. Outlines of the History of Art. A new translation from the seventh German edition, edited by Clarence Cook. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1881. Volume I.