Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/519

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
481
ARGOS

before setting out for Troy. In the period of Dorian supremacy, in spite of the new cults which were introduced by these people, the Heraeum maintained its supreme importance: it was here that the tablets recording the succession of priestesses were kept which served as a chronological standard for the Argive people, and even far beyond their borders; and it was here that Pheidon deposited the ὀβελίσκοι when he introduced coinage into Greece.

We learn from Strabo that the Heraeum was the joint sanctuary for Mycenae and Argos. But in the 5th century the city of Argos vanquished the Mycenaeans, and from that time onwards the city of Argos becomes the political centre of the district, while the Heraeum remains the religious centre. And when in the year 423 B.C., through the negligence of the priestess Chryseis, the old temple was burnt down, the Argives erected a splendid new temple, built by Eupolemos, in which was placed the great gold and ivory statue of Hera, by the sculptor Polyclitus, the contemporary and rival of Pheidias, which was one of the most perfect works of sculpture in antiquity. Pausanias describes the temple and its contents (ii. 17), and in his time he still saw the ruins of the older burnt temple above the temple of Eupolemos.


1911 Britannica-Argos-Heraeum.png
Plan of the Heraeum (surveyed and drawn by Edward L. Tilton).
I. Old Temple.           IV. East Building. VII. West Building. X. Lower Stoa.
II. Stoa. V. 5th-Century Temple.           VIII. North-West Building.           XI. Phylakeion.
III. Stoa. VI. South Stoa. IX. Roman Building. A, B, C, D, E, F, Cisterns.


All these facts have been verified and illustrated by the excavations of the American Archaeological Institute and School of Athens, which were carried on from 1892 to 1895. In 1854 A. R. Rhangabé made tentative excavations on this site, digging a trench along the north and east sides of the second temple. Of these excavations no trace was to be seen when those of 1892 were begun. The excavations have shown that the sanctuary, instead of consisting of but one temple with the ruins of the older one above it, contained at least eleven separate buildings, occupying an area of about 975 ft. by 325.

On the uppermost terrace, defined by the great Cyclopean supporting wall, exactly as described by Pausanias, the excavations revealed a layer of ashes and charred wood, below which were found numerous objects of earliest date, together with some remains of the walls resting on a polygonal platform—all forming part of the earliest temple. Immediately adjoining the Cyclopean wall and below it were found traces of small houses of the rudest, earliest masonry which are pre-Mycenaean, if not pre-Cyclopean.

We then descend to the second terrace, in the centre of which the substructure of the great second temple was revealed, together with so much of the walls, as well as the several architectural members forming the superstructure, that it has been possible for E. L. Tilton to design a complete restoration of the temple. On the northern side of this terrace, between the second temple and the Cyclopean supporting wall, a long stoa or colonnade runs from east to west abutting at the west end in structures which evidently contained a well-house and waterworks; while at the eastern end of this stoa a number of chambers were erected against the hill, in front of which were placed statues and inscriptions, the bases for which are still extant. At the eastern-most end of this second terrace a large hall with three rows of columns in the interior, with a porch and entrance at the west end facing the temple, is built upon elaborate supporting walls of good masonry.

Below the second terrace at the south-west end a large and complicated building, with an open courtyard surrounded on three sides by a colonnade and with chambers opening out towards the north, may have served as a gymnasium or a sanatorium. It is of good early Greek architecture, earlier than the second temple. A curious, ruder building to the north of this and to the west of the second terrace is probably of much earlier date, perhaps of the Mycenaean period, and may have served as propylaea.

Immediately below the second temple at the foot of the elevation on which this temple stands, towards the south, and thus facing the city of Argos, a splendid stoa or colonnade, to which large flights of steps lead, was erected about the time of the building of the second temple. It is a part of the great plan to give worthy access to the temple from the city of Argos. To the east of this large flights of steps lead up to the temple proper.

At the western extremity of the whole site, immediately beside the river-bed, we again have a huge stoa running round two sides of a square, which was no doubt connected with the functions of this sanctuary as a health resort, especially for women, the goddess