Return to Home Page Harrys Greece Guide

Greece Peloponnese Guide: Ancient Vasses in Elis Prefecture Page Two

ELLIA PREFECTURE PELOPONNESE GREECEThe temple was rediscovered in 1765 by the French architect, Joachim Bocher, who was employed by the Venetians, and was visited in 1811 by C R Cockerell and Haller von Hallerstein and, along with Baron Stackelberg made a record of the architecture in 1812.

According to one account, the internal frieze and other fragments were bought up by the British at an auction in Zakynthos, and they ended up in the British Museum, where they remain to this day.

Others maintain that the party of British and German antiquaries who had previously stripped the temple on the island of Aegina, explored the ruins at Vasses and removed the sculptures and goes on to add that the 23 marble slabs of the cella frieze were bought by the British government for the British museum, at a price of 19,000 British pounds.

In 1902-06 the Greek Archaeological society replaced some of the fallen column fragments and restored the cella walls, and more fragments of the frieze were found in 1961. The outline of a preceding structure from the Archaic period are visible, and some of its masonry reused to build the new Temple of Apollo.

The temple is built of grey limestone in the Doric style and is surrounded by a colonnade. Some believe that the temple is not so remarkable except in its appealing proportions and in its harmony with the landscape.

It does, however, have some unusual features, including that of a great length in relation to its width (15 columns by 6), its north south orientation (in contrast to the usual east west), the opening in the long east side to provide light to illumine the statue of Apollo in the 'naos', Ionic half columns in the naos with buttresses joining then to the walls. The first Corinthian column was found in this temple, but with its capital missing and two other flanking columns may also have been of this type.

There is a frieze of the battles of the Greeks with the Amazons and also of the Centaurs and Lapiths-- the earliest example of a sculptured frieze adorning the interior of a Greek building.

Elis is really nice prefecture. Once important, now a minor site in the mddle of nowhere ~ I loved it!

Ancient Vasses Page One | Page Two