Temples of Paestum

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Paestum is home to three magnificent Doric temples, thought to be dedicated to the city of the same name Poseidon (known to the Romans as Neptune), Hera and Ceres. The temples of Neptune and Hera are located next to each other in the southern part of the site, while the smaller, the temple of Ceres is at the northern end.

The Temple of Era is the oldest of the three temples, built around 550 BC. It is sometimes called the Basilica, based on an error by previous archaeologists who thought it was a Roman public building, in the sense that the Roman term indicates: a place used as a court and for the assemblies that held citizens.

The Temple of Neptune is regarded as the most perfect example of Templar Doric architecture in Italy and Greece. The attribution to Neptune is due to the scholars of the '700 who believed that the building was built in honor of the god Poseidon-Neptune who gives the city its name. Recent studies instead attribute it to Apollo, in his capacity as a doctor.

The Temple of Ceres (or Athena) built about fifty years before the Temple of Neptune and 50 years after that of Hera has particularities that distinguish it from the other two temples and make it one of the most interesting in Greek architecture. The high pediment and the Doric frieze composed of large limestone blocks make this temple unique.

The central part of the site consists of the Roman Forum, with extensive foundations of various public and private buildings. In the north-west of the forum there is a small Roman amphitheater, of which only the southern half is visible.

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