PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe sanctuary of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai has many unusual aspects, including the north-south orientation and the inclusion of a side door in both the Archaic and Classical temples, as well as the lack of evidence for the presence of an altar at the site. The anomalies of the Classical temple have been investigated by many scholars, but few have taken into account its Archaic predecessor. Because it is clear that the architect of the Classical temple intentionally replicated the plan of the Archaic temple, any attempt at understanding these anomalies must begin with an investigation of the earlier temple. These anomalies must also be examined within the context of the ongoing Messenian Wars in which the Arkadians, and the Phigaleians specifically, acted as allies to the Messenians in the face of Spartan aggression. Because the city of Phigaleia maintained the sanctuary at Bassai, this participation in the Messenian Wars as mercenaries impacted the development of the sanctuary. The Messenian Wars encouraged the development of a mercenary identity for the Phigaleians and for all Arkadians. This mercenary Arkadian identity is highlighted at the sanctuary and seems to have prompted the architects of the Archaic temple at Bassai to create a connection between Bassai, located at the extreme border of ancient Arkadia, and the religious heart of Arkadia, the sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion to the east. This connection with the east provides a clear explanation for the architectural anomalies at the site, as these anomalies allow for the best view to the east. Additionally, the close connection between Bassai and Mt. Lykaion may provide an explanation for the lack of an altar at Bassai, as the ash altar to Zeus can easily be seen from the sanctuary of Apollo. Therefore, the importance of Arkadian identity that was developed during the Messenian Wars influenced the architects of the Archaic and Classical temples to place emphasis on the view to the east, explaining the many anomalies at the sanctuary.
Degree ProgramGraduate College