Temple of Apollo

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Figure 1

Ancient Corinth in the area of the Temple of Apollo, 1831 Figure 1 Ancient Corinth in the area of the Temple of Apollo, 1831; Digitized by the Corinth Computer Project

The map (figure 1) above shows the location of the images that will be shown and analyzed below. Each image is located on the map with a date in red. This map is a close-up of superimposed 1963 and 1831-33 digitized maps. Click on the dates in the map in order to instantly scroll down to the discussion of that image below.

Figure 2

Stuart and Revett, 1751; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 2 Stuart and Revett, 1751; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

In the first image from 1751 is a view from the southwest that shows 12 columns standing, eleven from the outer colonnade and one, at a higher level, from the inner. The temple is clearly part of a building complex, as shown by the low wall between the columns, the building behind the temple and the small outbuilding to its left. On the righthand side of the picture mosque with a minaret and some other buildings can be seen. The mosque is the central mosque. Mount Geraneian is in the background, across the Istmus. These details suggest a high degree of verismilitude in this view, and the other careful work done by Stuart and Revett not shown here supports a high degree of trust in the accuracy of the picture.

Figure 3

LeRoy c. 1755; Courtesy of the Corinth Excavations, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 3 LeRoy c. 1755; Courtesy of the Corinth Excavations, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The next image, drawn by LeRoy in 1755, should be compared to that of Stuart and Revett. It is assumed that this view was romanticized, if not completely made up, as it shows 14 columns, when all of the travellers to date suggest that there were only 12 present at the time. The lack of a Turkish building within the temple, but the presence of one somewhat in the distance and behind it suggest he had heard or read about the temple, or even seen it, but that he did not draw it from life. A comparison with that of Stuart and Revett suggest that he may have seen it (or their drawing) and made his own version as there are many details in common, not the least of which is the view from the southwest but also the small building with the tiny tower to the left of the temple, the number of west columns with a complete architrave, the low wall between the south columns, etc. It has been assumed that he “deluded himself” into seeing 14 columns (Stillwell).

Figure 4

Luigi Mayer, 1776; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 4 Luigi Mayer, 1776; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

This view from the southeast corner of the temple presents a different picture than that of Stuart and Revett or LeRoy. The two-story building within the temple still exists, but the wall in between the columns is higher (now taller than a man) and incomplete, as if in ruins. One stone at the corner of the architrave is tilted, all of which suggests neglect. There are still 12 columns standing, though the one in the center and the second from the end of the west flank are obscured by other columns in this view and can just be made out. Again, a portion of the village can be seen; the righthandmost minaret is that of the central mosque, and the lefthandmost is of the lower mosque. Judging from this view, Stuart and Revett’s and Leroy’s, there were few buildings around the temple, but the village was much more densely populated nearer to the central mosque.

Figure 5

Dodwell, 1801; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 5 Dodwell, 1801; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The next image is one that raises the question of the fate of 5 columns. Although there is little landscape in the background to help place the orientation of the view, it is clearly from the west. Obviously something has happened to five of the columns (four from the south flank and the one from the inner colonnade) sometime in the last 25 years. The travellers give explanations for it that relate to the building or extension of a house, which is most likely the one in the background in this image which looks quite similar to the one shown in Mayer and Stuart and Revett’s pictures, except that it is significantly larger in width. Similar to Mayer’s view, the wall between the columns is taller than a man, and now even more ruinous. The small outbuilding shown in several of the other images is seen at the extreme left of the picture. In the background, a mountain, presumably Mt. Gerania can be seen, but the village is not in view.

Figure 6

Williams, 1816; Courtesy of the Corinth Excavations, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 6 Williams, 1816; Courtesy of the Corinth Excavations, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The view of the temple given by Williams in 1816, taken from the southwest shows the temple built into the house complex. The building program seems to be complete at this time: the walls between the columns are at their height and are in good repair.

The next series of views are of the temple after the War of Independence.

Figure 7

Blouet, 1829; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 7 Blouet, 1829; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

This figure, taken from the south, shows the damage to the village from the War of Independence (1821-1828). The village is gone, not only the building which was so recently built between and around the columns of the temple is completely disappeared, but all the buildings that might have been in the background are gone. The area is filled with rubble, shown clearly in the foreground. Even the traces of the road that in many pictures followed along the south flank of columns is nowhere in this view.

Figure 8

Bartlett, 1842 Figure 8 Bartlett, 1842

This next romantic view of the temple from the northeast with Acrocorinth in the background, offers little that is new to the discussion of the temple except that there have been few changes since 1800—the second from the end of the west flank is missing its capital, and the architrave is continuous across five of the columns. The one new piece of information this view offers is the suggestion of a small village to the south, between Acrocorinth and the temple, as well as a lack of buildings around the temple itself. The building near the temple is gone, as are the walls in between the columns.

Figure 9

Smith, 1883; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Figure 9 Smith, 1883; Courtesy of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

The final view of the temple in the 19th century, sketched in 1883, from the west shows that the temple had not changed much since 1842, compared to Bartlett’s view. A few new buildings are in place, including the one at the lefthand side of the picture that is in a state of ruin, lacking a roof. This is most likely the “Capodistrian School” mentioned by Robinson in his article about Corinth in 1829-33. There are a few other buildings nearby but the picture has been drawn from an angle looking up at the columns and so any remaining part of the village cannot be seen. The artist has also chosen to ignore the Geranian mountains which ought to be in the background on the left and the Oneian Mountains which ought to be in view on the extreme right. Corinth at this time may have been largely deserted as it appears here, as the 1858 earthquake and the establishment of New Corinth probably drained Ancient Corinth of the majority of its inhabitants. The village will begin to grow again after 1896 when excavations are established by the American School of Classical Studies. This brought work for the local inhabitants (early excavations had enormous crews) and visitors who required lodging and food, which offered more economic opportunities for the local population.

Figure 10

Temple, 1927; Corinth Volume I, p. 134 Figure 10 Temple, 1927; Corinth Volume I, p. 134

The final view shows the temple in 1927, after it had been excavated. The view is from the east.

Travelers’ Texts

Nearly every traveller who visited Corinth mentions the temple, and the majority of the illustrations that survive are also of the temple. Three issues come up in the different descriptions: the identification of the temple, the reason for the destruction of four colums between 1776 and 1800, and the rediscovery of the columns after the War of Independence. The question of the temple’s identification is the most popular one for comment: 16 of the travellers either suggest a deity or discuss the variety of suggestions of others. Up to 1848, the suggestions vary wildly. Three suggest Octavia (one of which also suggests Juno), three Neptune (one of which also suggests Venus), two Juno (one of which also suggests Octavia) and three discuss the multiplicity of suggestions. After 1848, 5 of the seven travellers suggest Minerva Chalinitis. Interestingly, only one traveller, Keppel, suggested an identification with the Temple of Apollo, which is the current candidate and has been since its excavation at the turn of the century.

Three travellers comment on the destruction of the 4 columns. Clarke (1800) and Fuller (1818) both suggest that the owner destroyed the columns because he wanted to use the material for his building project, and Clarke names the owner as the Governor. Turner (1813) believes that the Turk wanted merely to make room for his addition. It is hard to know which explanation was the truth, and in fact, it might have been both.

The travellers who visit Corinth as it is being rebuilt after the War of Independence (1821-1829) describe the temple as if it had been buried with debris. In 1829, Keppel writes that five were found when the debris was cleared from that area. However, Trant, who also travelled in 1829, describes all seven. Fitzmaurice, who travelled in 1832, describes only three columns found. Estourmel, also travelling in 1832, notes that seven columns were found by soldiers. While everyone but Trant described the columns as having been “found” that seems possible, but as there is not complete accord between the four of them, and the number of columns found varies in a way that doesn’t make sense, it is hard to know exactly what was to be seen at this time. However, as this is the only abberation in terms of number of columns reported other than Leroy, it seems clear that something was making the counting of the columns difficult.

Dreux 1665-1669

“Mais les Romains brulerent tellement cette belle ville quand ils las prirent qu’il n’y reste plus que quelques colonnes, qui sont les restes d’un ancien palais, et une ancienne porte de la ville…” (158)

Spon 1675-1676

“Nous sumes saluer Panagioti Cavallarie marchand Athenien, qui fait presque toujours la sa residence. Son frere demeure aussi au bazar et nous vimes chez luy une inscription Latine de Faustine femme de l’Empereur Antonin. Nous allames voir une douzaine de colonnes, qui paroissent de loin sur une eminence, un peu plus haute que le Bazar, a la maison du Vayvode. C’est le reste de quelque Temple des Payens. Ces colonnes me parurent le plus antiques qu’aucunes qu j’eusse jamais vues a cause de leur extraordinaire proportion. Car bien qu’elles soient d’Ordre Dorique, elles n’ont point la meme proportion que les autres qui se trouvent a Athenes, et ailleurs…(discusses measurements) Du reste elles sont semblables a celles d’Athenes etant canelees et sans base. Les architraves qui restent encore dessus sont de grandes pierres de 12 pieds de long.” (296-7)

Wheler 1676

“Some distance Westwards of this, (the house in which he found some inscriptions), and upon a Ground somewhat higher than the Bazar, we went to see eleven Pillars standing upright. They were of a Dorick Order, channeled like those about the Temple of Minerva, and Theseus at Athens: the matter of which Pillars we found to be ordinary hard Stone, not Marble: But their Proportion extraordinary; for they are eighteen foot about, which makes six foot Diameter, and not above twenty foot and an half high; the cylinder being twenty, an the Capitals two and an half…There is a Pillar standing within these, which has the same Diameter: but is much taller than the others, although it hath part broken off, and neither Capital nor Architrave, remaining near it: so that of what Order it was, is yet uncertain. The others are placed so with their architraves, that they shew, they made a Portico about the Cella of the Temple: And the single Pillar is placed so towards the Western-end within, as shews it supported the Roof of the Pronaos.” (440)

Pococke 1736-1740

“At the southwest corner of the town are 12 fluted doric pillars about five feet in diameter and very short in proportion…” (describes and compares with Parthenon, 7 pillars are to the west and 5 to the south, one pillar without a cap is near them) (174)

Chandler 1765

“The chief remains are at the southwest corner of the town and above the bazaar or market, 11 columns supporting their architraves, of the doric order, fluted, and wanting in height near half the common proportion to the diamter. Within them, toward the western end, is one taller, though not entire, which it is likely, contributed to sustain the roof.” (240)

Dodwell 1801-1806 (figure 5)

“...But at present seven only are standing, which rest on one step.” (191)

Clarke 1800-1803

“In going from the area of this building towards the magnificent remains of a Temple now standing above the bazar whence perhaps the doric pillar already mentioned may have been removed, we found the ruins of antient buildings; particularly of one partly hewn in the rock opposite to the said temple. The outside of this exhibits the marks of clamps for sustaining slabs of marble once used in covering the walls, a manner of building perhaps, not of earlier date than the time of the Romans…” “In this building were several chambers all hewn in the rock, and one of them has still an oblong window remaining. We then visited the temple.” (remarks that Wheler found 11 but now there are only 7) (550-551)

“We found only seven remaining upright: but the fluted shaft before mentioned may originally have belonged to this building, the stone being alike in both; that is to say, common limestone, not marble, and the dimensions are, perhaps, exactly the same in both instances, if each column should be measured at its base.” (552)

“The destruction that has taken place, of four columns out of the eleven seen by Wheler and Chandler, has been accomplished by the governor, who used them in building a house; first smashing them into fragments with gunpowder.” (552)

He identifies the temple as that of Octavia. “...This temple occupied the same situation with respect to the agora that the present ruin does with regard to the Bazar; and it is well-known that however the prosperity of cities may rise or fall, the position of the public mart for buying and selling usually remains the same.” (555)

Hughes 1813

We “strolled through the town which contains little to remind the traveller of Corinthian splendour, except a few columns of some temple, which antiquarians find very difficult to identify: their antiquity is attested by their massive structure…” (241)

Turner 1813

“Corinth contains within its walls no remains of antiquity, but some small masses of ruined walls, and seven columns, with part of the frieze, of a Temple, of which some columns were pulled down to make room for a miserable Turkish house, to which it joins. These columns are about 60 feet high and 10 in circumference. They are supposed by some travellers (among whom, Dr. Leake) to be the ruins of the temple of Juno.” (292)

Bramsen 1813-1814

“...the antiquities of the place, which include, among many other objects worthy of attention, the remains of the temple of Juno, those of the temple of Octavia and the singular dripping fountain of the nymph Pirene…” (55)

Williams 1816 (figure 6)

Identification of temple unknown: Juno, Venus, Neptune? Chandler says Sisypheum mentioned by Strabo. Proportions are like the Neptune temple at Paestum. (393-394)

Woods 1816-1818

The temple “...figured in Stuart, the first building we saw of Grecian times. In his days eleven columns were still standing. Now there are only six, but is yet a magnificent ruin…” (228)

Fuller 1818-1820

“They [the columns] are of porous stone and were originally encrusted with a red cement, some traces of which still remain. When Chandler visited Corinth, and even down to a much later period, eleven of them were still standing, but the Turkish proprietor took down four the employ the materials in the rebuilding of his house.” (33)

Keppel 1829-1830

“A Cephaloniote has been commissioned by the government to erect some public buildings and the governors’ house is in progress. Near the site of this building, the workmen employed in clearing away the rubbish have discovered five Doric columns, belonging, I believe, to a temple dedicated to Apollo.” (11)

Trant 1829-1830

“In the town are seven columns of a Doric temple supposed to have been dedicated either to Venus or Neptune; they bear the marks of great antiquity and are singular, as the shafts are formed of but one piece.” (313)

Fitzmaurice 1832

“Of the ancient remains of Corinth there is nothing but the front of a Temple with three columns; certainly a poor specimin of its former architecture.” (69)

Estourmel 1832

“...Quelques soldats errent au milieu de ses debris, en cherchant a piller, et dans cette solitude, qui semble maudite, sept colonnes (Chandler eu trouver douze) d’ordre dorique, demeurees debout et qu’on croit avoir apartenu au Temple de Neptune, temoignent seules que, dans un autre temps, il fut des Dieux pour Corinthe…” (86)

Burgess 1834

“There exist but seven columns of a Temple or portico…the entablature resting upon five of them, one (marked 6) [he gives a schematic drawing of the locations] wants a capital, there are vestiges of tryglyphs.” (166)

Author chooses to identify temple as the Portico of Octavia and therefore the temple is Augustan in his view. (166)

Quin 1834

“The celebrated ancient columns, each formed of one block of stone, which every traveller has noticed, are in Corinth, with the exception of the Acrocorinthus, the only objects worth attention in the way of 'lionizing.’” (213)

Temple 1834

“Opposite the governor’s house are the remains of a Doric Temple…” (60)

Addison 1835

“Over these [shattered remains of Turkish mosques], in front, were seen the seven majestic Doric columns of the ancient temple and behind the lofty acropolis…” (16)

Stephens 1835

“...Seven columns of the old temple are still standing, fluted and of the Doric order…” (49)

Giffard 1836

“A Temple situated in the upper part of the town has given rise to much discussion as to the date of its erection and the deity to which it was dedicated.” (102)

Blouet 1839 (figure 7)

“...Sur le point le plus eleve de ville, se retrouvent les ruines d’un temple: cinq colonnes de la facade posterieure resent encore debout, ainsi que deux de la partie laterale; presque toutes sont surmontees de l’architrave; elles sont en pierre calcaire et etaient couvertes d’un stuc qui les revet encore en plusiers endroits…Stuart, qui a donne une description desrestes de ce temple avait trouve quatorze colonnes debout lors de son voyage.” (36)

Cusani 1840

“Unici avanzi sono alcune colonne isolate nella parte piu alta della citta; (discussion of temple identification) e molti frammenti di cornici, capitelii e fregi adoperati invece di mattoni nelle nuove case, o dispersi fra i campi adjacenti.” (184)

Denison 1848

“We then mounted our horses and passed the seven celebrated columns supposed to have belonged to the temple of Minerva Chalamatis.” (141)

Hettner 1852

“They [the columns] show, moreover, evident traces of having been coated with stucco and colored red.” (134) Identifies it as Athena Chalinitis. (134)

Olin 1852

“A single temple of all the splendid structures which adorned ancient Corinth, the most opulent and luxurious town of Greece, now remains, or rather seven columns remain to show where a magnificent temple of Neptune once stood.” (143)

Howe 1853

Identifies it as the temple of Minerva Chalamatis. (35) “Of these [seven columns] three on the side and two adjoining on the front, still support their entablature; the architrave of both others is gone. They are limestone monoliths, near six feet in diameter at the base, heavy and ill-proportioned. This temple is supposed to have been erected in bc. 700, which may well account for its architectural defects. It stands in close proximity to the present village.” (35-36)

Baird 1855

“On our return to Corinth, we spent a short time in the examination of the only objects of interest that remain in thesite of a city which once exceeded Athens for commerce and population—a temple in the very midst of the modern village, and an amphitheater about three quarters of a mile east of it. The former is a hexastyle doric temple, of which only five columns belonging to the front and two on one of the sides are yet standing…” (158)

Burnouf 1856

“Le temple est a l’occident de la ville moderne, un peu vers le sud, au pied de l’Acrocorinthe, dans une position assez elevee pour qu’on poisse le voir de loin. Il est etabli sur la roche tertiaire dont l’escarpement forme le premier gradin de la plaine.” (42)

7 columns, five with architrave, gives measurements. (42)

“...On y voit encore de grands morceaux du stuc jaune dont elles etaient revetues.” (42)

Taylor 1857

“We passed awhile before the seven ancient Doric columns of the temple of Neptune, of the Corinthian Jove or of Minerva Chalcidis or whatever else they may be.” (157)

“One of them [columns] has been violently split by the earthquake and a very slight impulse would throw it against its nearest fellow, probably to precipitate that in turn…” (158)

Wyse 1858

Identification of Athena Chalinits.

Pressense 1864

“De vieille Corinthe il ne reste que cinq colones dorique d’un style tres lourd et un amphitheatre romain. Un tremblement de terre, survenu il y a dix ans a jonche le sol de ruines plus moderne.” (316)

Jerningham 1870

Identifies temple as Athena Chalinitis. (86)

Belle 1875-1878

“Elles sont criblees de trous carres creuses par les Turcs pour y placer les poutres des masures qu’ils avaient appuyees contre les ruines…Cette colonnade, rongee a la base, briser, jetee hors d’aplomb par les tremblements de terre.”

Mahaffy 1876

“In the middle of the wretched straggling modern village there stand up seven enormous stone pillars of the Doric order…” (364)

Freeman 1877

“The columns stand over the modern village, over a site almost as desolate as that over which they must have stood in the hundred years between Mummius and Caesar. The other fragments, Greek and Roman, hardly come into view. But the lower city is not the true Corinth. It is the mountain citadel round which the great associations of the city gather.” (189)

Miller 1894-1898

“A few columns are all that is left.”