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Temple of Artemis at Corfu

Page history last edited by amalik@... 13 years, 8 months ago


Temple of Artemis at Corfu


          By: Mac Burrell and Amil Malik




The Temple of Artemis is a doric temple found at Corfu, an island off the cost of Greece (present day Kerkyra). The framework of this building was the first of its kind. Features such as the pediment (triangular portion on the top of the temple) became stock charecteristics of Greek Architecture during later years. This design was a template or example for future doric temples in the Archaic Period. When the sactuary was built it was a novel achievement for architecture because of it's substatialy larger size to preceding temples. Although the actual size of the structure is unknown (since only pieces of the pediment remain today), archeologists know it was bigger than preceding buildings. Because of its magnitude and grand simplicity, the Temple of Artemis became a model for future Greek designs.














{Reconstruction of the west facade of the Temple of Artemis, 600-580 BCE, limestone, Korkyra (Corfu) Photo Credit:http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Arts/CorfuArtemis/CorfuTemplePlan.jpg}


The Temple of Artemis is a limestone structure created in the 6th Century BCE (600-580 BCE) during the Archaic Period. The Archiac Period was a time of great achievement during which there was great emphasis on narration as shown through the story of Medusa being slayed by Perseus on the pediment of the temple.  (Stockstad 97-99)


  • It is a simple Doric Temple (Stockstad 97 charecterized by its simplicity in the columns and capitols. (Doric) The platform or base of the building is called the stulobate and the main area is called the cella. (Stockstad 97)





 {Gorgon Medusa, detail of the sculptures from the Pediment of the Temple of Artemis, limestone, height of pediment 2.79 m, Archaic Period, 580 BC, Photo Credit: http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/greeks/architecture/pictures/corfu.jpg}



  • The pediment is the triangular part on the top of the temple. Figures were often carved on slabs and then attached to the pediment. (Stokstad 98) The central figure is Medusa, a gorgon with snake hair and the wings of a bird. She has the ability to turn humans to stone when they look at her. (Carratelli 61)


  • Medusa is situated in the traditional Archaic pose: bent leg, bent arm, and pinwheel posture to show running or flying. (Carrtelli 61) One of Medusa's children is on either side of her, Pegasus is on the left, Chrysaor is on the right. (Stockstad 98) This might be because in the Archaic period, one distinguished the central figure of a story in art by displaying their offspring. (Tansey 132)


  • Perseus is shown looking at Medusa through his shield and aiming at her. In the myth, Perseus slays Medusa. (Stockstad 98) Two Felines are next to Medusa. They are the guardians of the temple. Thier presence is significant because they are stock features in Egyptian art as well, showing a close relation to Egypt. (Boardman 48)







{Zeus, detail of the sculptures from the Pediment of the Temple of Artemis, limestone, height of pediment 2.79 m, Archaic Period, 580 BC, Photo Credit: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/classics/jhamilton/mythology/zeus/h181.jpg}


  •  Zeus is found on one corner of the pediment slaying a giant with his thunderbolt. On the opposite side, one can see the dead giant. (Boardman 48) Other experts believe that the figures on the opposite side are crouching human warriors. (Stockstad 99)








{Map of Corfu, Island of Ionian Sea now called Kerkyra. Photo Credit: http://www.seaside-apartments.net/images/corfu-map.jpg}


  • Corfu is an island off the west coast of Greece. The Temple of Artemis was build here, today only few artifacts remain. Corfu was part of the trade route between mainland Greece and Italy. It was an affluent island, hense the presence of the temple. (Tansey 131)
  • The Temple of Artemis was the first doric temple of its kind. Pediments became a conventional part of Greek temples as time passed. This temple was an example for the rest. It also was significantly bigger than any preceding temples of its kind.
    • Artemis was the Greek Goddess of the hunt and wild animals. (Encyclopedia Britannica)






Works Cited


Boardman, John. The Oxford History of Classical Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.


Carratelli, Giovanni Pugliese. The Greek World: Art and Civilization in Magna Graecia and Sicily. Milan, Italy: Rizozoli International           Publications, Inc., 1996.


Encyclopedia Britannica. “Artemis.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online School Edition. 2008. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 4 Dec. 2008           <http://school.eb.com/>.


- - -. “Doric Order.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online School Edition. 2008. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 8 Dec. 2008 <http://school.eb.com/>.


Stokstad, Marilyn. Art A Brief History: Third Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearso Education Inc., 2007.


Tansey, Richard G, and Fred S Kleiner. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Dallas Ft. Worth, Texas: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1996.



Comments (1)

Jenna Filardi said

at 9:35 pm on Dec 11, 2008

Amil and Mac, This looks really great! Good job!

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