Hera sanctuary (Pergamon)

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Hera temple and sanctuary from the west

The Hera Shrine of Pergamon is a cult facility of Hera Basileia from the 2nd century BC. On the southern slope of the acropolis of Pergamon . The associated temple was discovered in 1906 during the excavations of the high school in Pergamon and excavated from 1911.


The sanctuary of Hera Basileia was north of the upper gymnasium terrace and although it was an independent complex, its southern retaining wall was constructively connected to the upper wall of the gymnasium. The narrow, east-west-facing strip that had arisen between the gymnasium and the mountainside was used as temenos . The orientation was slightly different from that of the grammar school in an easterly direction to the north. In the east the area was bounded by part of the “Philetarian” city wall, in the west the so-called building Z closed off the area. The northern retaining wall of the high school complex stood as a boundary in the south.

The sanctuary consisted of two parallel, longitudinal terraces , the southern 107.40 meters, the northern 109.80 meters above sea ​​level . The upper one carried the temple of Hera, which opened to the south, in the middle, with a 6 meter wide exedra in the west and a large building whose function could not be determined in the east. The two terraces were connected to each other by a 7.46 meter wide staircase made up of eleven steps in front of the temple front. Next to Building Z there was another narrow side staircase. From there it was also possible to access the Ionic temple on the upper gymnasium terrace. The retaining wall of the higher north terrace was made of fine ashlar masonry on sight and formed the stair stringers in the area of ​​the outside staircase in front of the temple.


The approximately 7 × 12 meter large temple rose on a three-step substructure , which extended the staircase in front of it with slightly raised steps, and was formed as a four-column prostyle . The steps of the substructure on the long sides of the temple were only made as far as the north-facing rock of the upper terrace would allow. If all the other buildings of the sanctuary were made of andesite , the parts of the temple visible from the outside were made of marble or at least covered with marble. Despite the use of the material, which is rather rare in Pergamon, the construction work was negligent, without it being possible to assume that there was intentional incompletion. Many structural members were not finally smoothed. If this is still understandable for invisible architectural elements in the rear part of the building and can be traced back to cost avoidance, reasons for this cannot be found in the area of ​​the area for the dedicatory inscription on the architrave . The same applies to the fluctuations in the dimensions of the individual structural elements, in profile heights and distances that can be observed everywhere. The standard of execution to be determined will therefore have to be sought in the commissioning of only moderately talented architects and workshops.

Exterior construction

The four front pillars of the temple had a center distance of 2.13 meters and were only faceted, so the fluting was not executed, but only had a 1 centimeter thick smooth hem on their edges. Faceting of the columns is more common in Pergamon, but usually only extends to the lower third of the column shaft. Due to the design of the shaft with its twenty facets and the lack of ionic bases, it can be assumed that the pillars had Doric capitals or Pergamene capitals with a wreath of leaves. Remnants of the capitals were not found.

The following, only 34 centimeters high architrave had a special feature Regulae that do not cranked to the Eckbildungen but were blended. The architrave bore the dedicatory inscription to Hera in the center, its epithet Basileia was derived from other inscriptions and based on the distribution of letters on the architrave blocks. Attalus II is named as the founder - Attalus, son of Attalus.

The 47 centimeter high frieze of the temple showed, with almost square metopes, a rhythm of the triglyphone of three triglyphs and three metopes per yoke, which was typical for the time and particularly common in Pergamon .

The geison , mediated by a lesbian kyma as an ionizing element, has the usual hanging plates, mutuli , for the Doric cornice , but their distribution takes no account of the rhythm of the frieze zone. In contrast to forms of the Greek classical period , the inclined geison of the gable front also had mutulus plates, which shows it as a purely decorative element in the temple construction of the Hellenistic period.

The gargoyles on the ledges of the long sides were also purely decorative , as they were not pierced and thus could not perform their function. Of the acroteria are only fragments Base with leaf cups from which free worked stalks were obtained. The antefixes of the roofing were decorated with palmettes between small tendrils.

inner space

The pronaos was about half as deep as the cella and was covered with marble slabs. Passing the strongly tapering ante , one entered the cella through the 2.20 meter wide doorway . The interior walls of the 5.80 meter wide and 6.80 meter deep room, the floor of which was 18 centimeters above the level of the pronaos, had painted plaster and at least the inside of the door wall was only made of andesite. The cella floor was decorated with a fine, multicolored mosaic , the middle part of which was replaced by marble slabs in Roman times. The bedding of the mosaic was tinted according to the colors of the respective mosaic motif.

The entire back wall of the cella took up the cult image base. Its core was made of tuff, the visible surfaces faced with marble. The base protruded in the middle area and was apparently only provided with a final foot and crown profile in this area. Judging by the footprints on its upper side, it was used to set up three cult images. It cannot be determined whether the central statue was designed as a seated statue on its larger base or, in contrast to the outer statues, was only larger.

Directly next to the cult image base, there was another large base on the west side of the cella, which could only have been set up after the mosaic had been laid. According to an inscription on one of her orthostats, she bore the image of a Galatian woman named Adobogiona. Two other small bases were on the east and west walls, both of which were later set up.

More buildings

To the east of the temple and directly adjacent to it was a large structure, which was divided into a large eastern hall and a small western room. In Roman times, the hall was given a podium interpreted as a kline on its east side , which could be reached via a small staircase. Hence the room could be associated with cultic feeding. The small annex on the east side of the temple, which was also originally Roman, opened to its pronaos through a door and was therefore in direct contact, but its function and its structural connection to the eastern hall remain unclear.

In the west of the temple there was an exedra 6 meters wide, opening to the south, of which nothing has been preserved except the foundations. From the few it can be concluded that their foreheads ended in antenna pillars, since their foundations exist.

The fronts of both buildings were reconstructed by Wilhelm Dörpfeld with columns, but there is no evidence of this.

A burnt offering altar was found on the lower terrace in the axis of the temple. Also on the lower terrace was a larger foundation in front of the eastern stringer that spanned the lowest steps of the stairs in this area. It is unclear whether it was used to set up a gift .


Individual evidence

  1. Schazmann p. 102 panels IV – VII.
  2. Schazmann p. 102 Plate VIII.
  3. Schazmann p. 104, supplement 6, panel X, XI, XVIII.
  4. Schazmann pp. 102-104 panels IV-VII, XXXII.
  5. Schazmann p. 104 Plate XXXII.
  6. Thanassis Kalpaxes: Hemiteles. Accidental incomplete and “boss style” in Greek architecture . Zabern, Mainz 1986.
  7. Schazmann p. 110.
  8. Burkhardt Wesenberg : The meaning of the modulus in Vitruvian temple architecture . In: École française de Rome u. a. (Ed.): Le Projet de Vitruve. Object, destinataires et reception du De architectura . Rome, p. 104 and plate 1 ( Collection de l'École française de Rome . Vol. 192).
  9. Schazmann pp. 104-105 Plate XXXIV 22.
  10. Burkhardt Wesenberg: The meaning of the modulus in Vitruvian temple architecture . In: École française de Rome u. a. (Ed.): Le Projet de Vitruve. Object, destinataires et reception du De architectura . Rome, p. 102 and plate 1 ( Collection de l'École française de Rome . Vol. 192); Burkhardt Wesenberg: Contributions to the reconstruction of Greek architecture from literary sources . 9. Supplement to the Athenian Communications. Berlin, 1983, p. 148 with note 673.
  11. Schazmann p. 105 panel XXXIII, XXXIV 11, 24.
  12. Schazmann pp. 105-106 Plate XXXIV 10, 12, 24.
  13. Schazmann p. 110.
  14. Schazmann p. 106 Plate XXXIV 6, 7, 9, 24.
  15. Schazmann p. 106 panel XXXIV 15.
  16. Schazmann pp. 106-107, Beiblatt 7, Plate XXXII.
  17. Schazmann pp. 107-108 Plate XXXII, XXXIV 14, 18, 19.
  18. Schazmann p. 108 panel XXXII.
  19. Schazmann p. 108 panel XXXII; Wolfgang Radt: Pergamon: History and Buildings of an Ancient Metropolis . Darmstadt 1999, p. 186.
  20. Schazmann pp. 108-109 panel XXXII.
  21. Schazmann p. 108.
  22. Schazmann p. 109 panel XXXII.