Three Greek temples


The great glory of Paestum are its three temples, all built at the height of early Greek temple building in the Doric style.  All three of them were mis-dedicated in the eighteenth century so they have a traditional name, and also what is probably the real original name.

Aerial view, from the local guidebook ‘Paestum’ by A C Carpicci and L Pennino. The temple of Athena (Ceres) is top right.

At the northern end of the site and the first one to be seen on entering the site today is the temple known traditionally as the Temple of Ceres, the goddess of corn, although it was almost certainly dedicated to Athena.

The central part of the site is then occupied by the public buildings; a fine Heroon, or Hero’s grave; the Greek market place or agora, and the Roman market place or forum.

One then comes to the grandest temple of all traditionally known as the Temple of Neptune, although almost certainly dedicated to Hera.

The third temple at the southern end of the site is the so called basilica, which is the oldest temple and again is almost certainly dedicated to Hera.

Finally coming out of the site there is the museum which displays many of the finds from what was originally yet another temple standing five miles to the north, at the mouth of the river Sele,  which we describe here. The great glories of the museum however are the paintings from some of the tombs, notably the Tomb of the Diver, a magnificent tomb of the 5th century BC. showing a diver, diving from a high diving board into the sea of eternity.

There is a lot to be seen at Paestum.

On to the Temple of Athena