Archaic

Some 7th-century Cretan buildings are decorated with friezes in an oriental manner. Many 6th-century buildings fill their pediments with figures of fighting animals, and there is often a Gorgon at the centre. These are primeval statements of power but may be accompanied, in a subsidiary position, by small narrative groups. Such were the pediments on the Artemis temple at Corfu and on the buildings of Athens Acropolis, culminating in one with marble pediments, showing both the animal fights and the fight of Gods and Giants, which had been given an Athenian message.

Photo of Pediment scupture
  • West pediment of the temple of Artemis at Corfu. c. 600-575 BC

At Assos, near Troy, the Doric temple has much in common with mainland rather than east Greek work, yet has friezes with myth subjects.

Of the later Archaic temples, that of Apollo at Eretria has subjects that seem to relate more to Athens (politically and geographically close) with Amazon fights and Theseus.

At Aigina the assimilation of the goddess Aphaia to Athena allows Trojan scenes where Athena dominates but some heroes have Aiginetan associations.

Model of pediment
  • Model of west pediment of the temple of Aphaia on Aigina c. 490 BC

The Treasuries at Delphi, one Doric for Sikyon, one Ionic for Siphnos, have a rich variety of myth scenes of which only the unusual pediment for the Siphnian has a clear Delphic association (the rape of Apollo's tripod). The Siphnian has statues of women (Caryatids) for its front columns - see previous page.

Photo of Cast of pediment
  • Cast slab of east pediment of the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi. c. 525 BC.
    Cast No. A012
Photo of Doric metopes
  • Metopes from temple C at Selinus. c. 550 BC

The Greek colonies in the west have Doric buildings with rich mythical subjects in metope series, as that from Selinus in Sicily and the sanctuaries at the mouth of the River Sele near Paestum.

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