The Sanctuary at the mouth of the River Sele
Once inside the museum one is immediately confronted by a reconstruction of the ‘treasury’ found at the mouth of the River Sele.
The earliest building at the Foce del Sele is not a temple in the classical sense but a so-called ‘Treasury’ and here it is reconstructed. At the top is the very fine frieze, but you will have to climb up to the first floor of the museum to see it properly.
And here you can see the frieze properly from the first floor viewing platform. The sculptures are a little battered but something of the raw, primitive strengths of sculpture in the early 6th century can be enjoyed.
And here is the most famous of the metopes showing Hercules and the Kerkopes.
The Kerkopes were naughty scalliwags who crept up on Hercules while he was sleeping and tried to steal his weapons. However Hercules caught them, bound them head and foot and carried them off on a pole like this. It is a favourite pose in Greek art. However the Kerkopes from their vantage position were able to take good look at Hercules’ backside and saw how hairy it was and burst out laughing. Hercules asked them why they were laughing and they explained and Hercules burst out laughing too and thereupon freed the boys. It is a favourite story of Greek myth.
Plan of the site at the mouth of the Sele from Professor Pedley’s splendid book. We have been looking so far at the reconstruction of the building marked ‘treasury’. We next look at remains from the rather grander temple, and end up by looking at a sculpture from the late 4th century square building marked as the Edificio Quadrato.
These are the finds from the Temple at the River Sele which were later than the treasury and so the carvings were rather more sophisticated. Being in limestone rather than in marble they are not particularly fine by Greek standards. Nevertheless the Sele temple did have sculptured decoration unlike the three temples at Paestum itself. The metopes are placed at the end with the sculptured architectural details to the right.
Finally this sculpture is 4th century and comes from the square building. It shows a seated goddess, presumably Hera with a patera in her right hand and a pomegranate in the left. She is a Bona Dea, providing nurture for mankind.
On to the Classical material, and the Tomb of the Diver