AddressCorfu 491 00, GreeceFunctionAncient Greek temple
SimilarArchaeological Museum the Corfu, byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa, Mon Repos - Corfu, palace of St Michael and also St G, Museum of eastern Art that Corfu

The temple of Artemis is an archaic Greek temple in Corfu, Greece, developed in roughly 580 BC in the old city that Korkyra (or Corcyra), in what is recognized today as the suburb of Garitsa. The temple was devoted to Artemis. That is well-known as the first Doric temple exclusively constructed with stone. That is additionally considered the first building to have actually incorporated every one of the elements of the Doric architecture style. Very few Greek temple reliefs from the Archaic duration have survived, and the large fragments that the group from the pediment room the earliest far-reaching survivals.

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The holy place was a peripteral–styled building with a pseudodipteral configuration. Its perimeter was rectangular, v width the 23.46m (77.0ft) and also length 49m (161ft) v an eastward orientation so that light can enter the internal of the temple at sunrise. It was one of the largest temples of its time.

The metope the the holy place was probably decorated, due to the fact that remnants that reliefs featuring Achilles and Memnon were discovered in the old ruins. The temple has been described as a milestone of old Greek architecture and one the 150 masterpieces of western architecture. The Corfu temple style may have influenced the style of an archaic sanctuary structure found at St. Omobono in Italy, near Tiber in old Rome, at the moment of the Etruscans, i m sorry incorporates comparable design elements. Kaiser Wilhelm II, if vacationing at his summer royal residence of Achilleion in Corfu and while Europe was preparing for war, was connected in excavations in ~ the site of the old temple.


The ruins were discovered during the Napoleonic wars by soldiers of French general François-Xavier Donzelot together they were digging, preparing because that trench warfare.

Kaiser Wilhelm II had a "lifelong obsession" through the Gorgon sculpture, i m sorry is attributed come his attendance at seminars top top Greek Archaeology while in ~ the college of Bonn. The seminars were given by excavator Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz, who later ended up being the Kaiser"s advisor. Kaiser himself, if residing in ~ his summer royal residence of Achilleion in Corfu and while Europe to be preparing because that war, was connected in excavations in ~ the site of the old temple.

In 1911 the Kaiser, along with Greek archaeologist Federiko Versakis on instead of of the Greek Archaeological society and the well known German archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld on behalf of the German archaeological Institute, started excavations at the Artemis temple of Corfu. The Kaiser"s activities in Corfu at the time involved both political and also archaeological matters. The excavations involved political manoeuvering as result of the antagonism the had emerged between the two principal archaeologists at the Corfu holy place site.

Little stays today top top the site, with only the foundation of the temple and other fragments still existing there. However, the existing damages have noted sufficient information for a complete reconstruction that the architectural details that the temple.

Temple architecture

The structure was supported around its perimeter by colonnades consists of two rows the eight columns each because that the former and back of the building, while the political parties were supported by 2 rows the seventeen columns each.

At the center of the temple, there to be a rectangle-shaped inner chamber or cella 9.4m (31ft) vast and 34.4m (113ft) long, which was subdivided in 3 spaces by 2 colonnades consisting of ten columns each. The temple of Artemis in Corfu and also the Parthenon are the only Greek holy places with eight columns between antae.

The outer colonnade that eight through seventeen columns, additionally called the peristyle, had enough separation indigenous the within chamber that a second colonnade can be included in the interior. The Corfu Temple, however, walk not have actually this inner colonnade, for economic climate reasons. This construction of a solitary colonnade, in a space allowing because that a second, is called pseudodipteral. The Artemis temple in Corfu is the more quickly known example of this architecture style.

The former and back of the temple featured 2 pediments, of which just the west one survives in great condition, when the eastern pediment lies in fragments. The pediments were decorated with mythical figures, sculpted in high relief. This is the first known instance of a decorated pediment in Greece. Both pediments appear to be decorated in an similar manner and also they attribute a large relief that the Gorgon Medusa, an ext than 9ft. High. The pediment actions 9ft. 4 inches high at the centre. The sculptures included in these pediments are considered the very first substantial specimens of Greek sculpture indigenous a Doric building. The west pediment in addition to other architectural fragments are showed at the archaeological Museum that Corfu. The pediment has been explained by the brand-new York Times together the "finest example of antiquated temple sculpture extant".

Pediment details

The pediment depicts Medusa in a formulaic, stylised fashion; she feet room arranged in a configuration suggesting rotation, which consequently indicates motion or trip when used to the characteristics of Medusa, particularly Medusa"s wings. The Medusa is wearing a mini–skirt which permits her legs freedom of activity while she is fleeing from Perseus. Her movement is more indicated by the formulaic placing of her legs in the so–called Knielauf place which stylistically resembles a swastika.

The Gorgon is displayed with a girdle of intertwined serpents; the girdle is a fertility symbol traditionally linked with female reproduction and sexuality. The existence of the snakes, however, to add a demonic quality and an facet of danger. Two an ext snakes radiate external from she neck. The Medusa figure very closely resembles "Mistress that Animals" divine beings found in the Near east and additionally resembles Mesopotamian demoness Lamashtu that was the identical of the Greek deity Lamia.

Her children, Pegasus and Khrysaor, space at each side the her, regardless of the fact that they were born after she death. The challenge of Medusa is repulsive and shows an evil "archaic smile". The panthers, flanking Medusa on each side, serve as temple guardians and they gaze outward as if to visually examine their domain. The smaller size of the guardian leopards relative to the pediment enclosure and their high relief suggests that the archaic sculptor desired to disengage the animals from your environment.

The head that the Medusa figure clashes through the pediment outline and also evokes a frightening effect. The has likewise been said that because it is unusual for Artemis no to be illustrated on the pediment that her very own Temple, Medusa might represent the chthonic or demonic next of Artemis, since both entities to be patrons that animals. The function of the Medusa and also panther numbers is thought to it is in apotropaic, the is, their duty was come ward-off evil and also prevent that from entering the temple.

Behind the leopard ~ above the left lies a sit figure. The figure was shown to be assaulted by a spear-wielding figure, which has actually disappeared from the pediment.

Behind the seated figure, top top its left, lies a bearded number of a dead warrior, facing outward indigenous the pediment. Behind the leopard to the right, two figures are shown. The standing number closest to the leopard is thought to be Zeus that is portrayed in partial file wielding a thunderbolt versus another figure, which faces outward native the pediment. The figure is presented with a beard and is kneeling. Come the right of this figures, another relief of a dead warrior is believed to have existed.

There are reasons to expect that the seated number is Rhea, or Cronus, in which instance the scenes shown to the right and also left the the leopards can depict a solitary subject, the Titanomachy, the fight between the gods and also the Titans, i beg your pardon would better fit v a beardless (i.e. Younger) Zeus, that is rarely shown without a beard. There are also arguments the the seated number illustrates King Priam of trojan being slain by the Greek hero Neoptolemos and also that the step on the left is motivated from the Trojan War. If this is the case, then there room two themes present in the pediment: the sack of Troy and the Gigantomachy, the battle between the gods and also Giants.

Since these numbers are not linked to the legend of Medusa, it is believed that the apotropaic function of temple symbols such as the Medusa and the panthers, together guardian icons of the Temple, is beginning to be replaced by the idea of using figures and themes indigenous mythical story as temple decoration. The decorative function, in time, dominated over the apotropaic one.

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The stare of the Gorgon is a film-poem developed by Tony Harrison, i m sorry examines the politics of problem in the 20th century utilizing the Gorgon as a metaphor. The narration of the film is done with the mouth the a statue of the Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, i beg your pardon Kaiser had removed indigenous the Achilleion after he took over ownership of the palace from Empress Elizabeth the Austria. The film defines the connection between Heine, the Corfu Gorgon, and also Kaiser Wilhelm II who had actually an obsession through the Gorgon. In the film, Harrison"s voice narrates:

...what was Kaiser increase to? Excavating on Corfu, the scholar Kaiser ~ above the odor of lengthy lost temple pediment no filling trenches, excavating the trenches whereby the Gorgon"s waiting there in the trenches to supervise the unearthing of the Gorgon"s eyes.