The Bassai Sculptures, the Phigaleian Frieze, Classical Greek

Room 16

Greece: Bassai sculptures

420–400 BC

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Marvel at the frieze, which was created to decorate the interior of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai, in Room 16.

The Temple of Apollo Epikourios ('Apollo the Helper') was built high on a rocky ridge of Mount Kotylion at Bassai in south-west Arcadia, a region of the Greek Peloponnese. In the 2nd century AD, the Greek historian Pausanias wrote that the name 'Helper' was given to Apollo by citizens of nearby Phigaleia. It was in thanks for their deliverance from the plague of 429–427 BC. He also wrote that the temple was designed by Iktinos, one of the architects of the Parthenon.

The Bassai Frieze is the high relief marble sculpture in 23 panels, 31m long by 63cm high (102ft x 2ft). The 23 blocks of the frieze that ran around the interior of the temple show the battle between the Greeks and Amazons and the Lapiths and Centaurs.

This frieze is displayed on the upper level of Room 16. The remains of some of the 12 sculptured metopes that decorated the Doric frieze of the north and south porches can be seen on the lower level.

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Inspects fragments of a temple frieze dating all the way back to 420–400 BC in Room 16.

Sculptures on display in the gallery. ©2020 Google.


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