Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Temple of Apollo Doric columns.

Central among the number of imposing ruins that are interspersed on the Southern slopes of Parnassos mountain is the temple of Apollo. It is an imposing temple of the Doric order whose existence was woven through the turbulent history of the site, and endured numerous incarnations before it settled to the ruinous state we find it today, and which dates back to the 4th c. B.C. The temple of Apollo was first built around the 7th c. B.C. by the two legendary architects Trophonios and Agamedes. It was rebuilt after a fire in the 6th c. B.C.. and was named the "Temple of Alcmeonidae" in tribute to the noble Athenian family that oversaw its construction with funds form all over Greece and foreign emperors. This temple was also of the Doric order and had 6 columns at the front, and 15 columns at the flanks.

This temple was destroyed in 373 B.C. by an earthquake and was rebuilt for the third time in 330 B.C. Spintharos, Xenodoros, and Agathon, architects from Corinth. The sculptures that adorned its pediment were the creation of Athenian sculptors Praxias and Androsthenes. It was built to similar proportions and size as the Alcmeonidae version of the temple, with a peristasis of 6 and 15 columns along the short and long edges respectively.

The temple's foundations survive today along with several Doric columns made of porous stone and limestone which is fairly soft material, and have allowed for the temple's advanced decaying. Very little is known about the temple's interior arrangement.

Photo Gallery

  • The beautifully rendered mural and a well crafted maquette in the Delphi museum, show how the temple of Apollo was the most important building among many.
  • The temple of Apollo in the 6th century BCE, and its plan as they are shown in the Archaeological Museum of Delphi.
  • The west pediment of the archaic temple of Apollo. It depicts a Gigantomachy. On the far left is a Giant (probably Enceladus), and on his right the standing figure is Athena. Behind Athena another standing figure is next to the horses of Zeus' chariot. Stuccoed poros stone; 510-500 BCE.
  • What remains from the east pediment of the Archaic Temple of Apollo. Apollo's four horses are in the center, flanked by three korai and three kouroi. In the corners lions hunt pray. Parian marble. 510-500 BCE.
  • The west pediment of the classical temple of Apollo. It depicts Dionysus (center) among the Thyiads. Work of the Athenian sculptors Praxias and Androsthenes. Marble, Circa 330 BCE.
  • Fragments of statues from the east pediment of the classical temple of Apollo. It depicts Apollo (far left - seated on a tripod, and holding a branch of laurel and a phiale, symbols of his oracle), Leto, and Artemis among the Muses. Made by the Athenian sculptors Praxias and Androsthenes. Circa 330 BCE.
  • Acroterium from the temple of Apollo depicting Winged Victory (Nike). 510 BCE.

Next: Delphi Theatre

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