Temple of Demeter

Agrigento, Italy

The so-called Temple of Demeter (the remains of which are located below of the church of San Biagio) can be dated between 480 and 470 BCE. This temple offers an interesting example of distylous building in antis, i.e.without an outer colonnade. It has a simple cella preceded by a pronaos (ante-room) with two columns.

Still preserved from the original structure are the base (30 by 13 m approx and partly visible), the outer cella walls and the wall between the cella and the pronaos. These remaing parts have been incorporated in the medieval church dedicated to St. Biagio. The beautiful water spouts in the shape of lion’s heads from this building can still be seen in the Regional Archaeological Museum of Agrigento in the room dedicated to architectural sculptures.

The Temple of Demeter in the classical period was part of a temenos, a sacred enclosure that included other adjacent structures, such as two small round altars with a central bothros or holy well. Inside, archaeologists found kernoi (ritual vessels linked to the cult of Persephone) and the remains of busts that must have represented Demeter.

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Founded: 480 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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