Temple of Hera (Juno)

 

The temple’s traditional name is incorrect because of the old mistake made with the temple of Hera in Lacinio promontory of Crotone, Calabria. In order to counteract the uneven ground, which slopes significantly from north to south and from east to west, it was necessary to build a substantial base (visible in the currently exposed portion), upon which the building was erected. The temple is Doric, peripteral, hexastyle (the dimensions in the stylobate are 38.15 m × 16.90 m) with 6 × 13 columns of 20 flutes. The columns (6.36 m high) sit directly on a crepidoma of 4 steps. These are preserved in their entirety in the northern side and partially in the eastern side. The double-pilaster cell (in antis) (28.68 m × 9.93 m), is completely ruined and divided according to the canonical model in pronaos, the cell itself (naòs) and the independent opisthodomos. Between the pronaos and cell there is a door flanked by two hollow pylons typical of the Agrigento temples, inside which are vestiges of stairs to access the ceilings and the upper parts of the cell.
The characteristics of the techniques and style date the temple to 460-440 B.C. Chronologically, it is the third of the Agrigento temples, after those dedicated to Heracles and Zeus. Severely damaged in 406 B.C. (the redness seen at various points in the structures maybe evidence of a serious fire: perhaps the fire in which the generous Gellia heroically died), it was restored in Roman times, when clay tiles were added in place of the old marble tiles, together with the sloping plane at the front entrance to the east. Not far away, on the same side, there are significant remains of the structures pertaining to the altar, recently rebuilt and restored and obvious traces of the steps leading to the sacrificial altar. With regard to the location and functions of the altar in the Greek temple, it must be said that it was located outside the temple, in front of the east pediment. This allowed for sacrifices, often bloody, in which animals were inmolated in the presence of a heaving throng. This is notably different Christian rites, which were celebrated during spiritual functions in the church. The church, ekklesìa in Greek, ecclesia in Latin, which means assembly, is the place where the faithful gather for worship. Greek temples were only entered in order to honour the gods, present in the guise of a statue, and to bring offerings, which could be in kind or by means of ex-votos, usually of clay.