Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — 6.1890-1897 (1897)

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EXCAVATIONS AT SPAETA.

221

for the chief's house (Prytaneum) in the new village was
taken from that of the chief's house in the old village."

The fire (focus,foculus, the hearth, ecrria, effx<*Pa, fff^apz?:
Vesta) thus becomes the centre of importance in these build-
ings and the worship and rites connected with them, as it was
the centre of importance in the house and household. In
the Homeric house it stood in the corner of the avXrf." The
same relation obtains in all early civilizations and has led to
the round building,7 be it a barrow, or a dolmen, or a Sar-
dinian nuraghe, or an East Indian tope, or the hut of the
American Indian. There can be but little doubt that the
later Roman temple of Vesta was once part of the king's
house, and thus points to the earliest form of house. The
tradition of this early form of the temple of Vesta, with walls
of wattled osiers and thatched roof, is directly referred to by
Ovid.8

As regards the whole history of these round buildings, to
use Mr. Frazer's words, " we descry in the past the chiefs
of the old G-ra3co-Italian clans dwelling in round huts of
wattled osiers with peaked roofs of thatch."

The Spartan building thus brings us in relation with the
remotest prehistoric times of Hellas and with the earliest
stages of civilization in all parts of the world. This building
has evidently xindergone many changes during the Roman
and Christian periods of its history. The statues of Zeus
and Aphrodite, mentioned by Pausanias as standing in the
building in his time, were of subsequent date. The linger of
the colossal statue found last year, in the immediate vicinity
of the statue-pedestal on the central height of the building,
manifestly belongs to a period not earlier than the close of
the fourth century B. c, and may be Roman. There are
other fragments and heads of distinctly Roman workman-
ship found on the site ; while some traces of repairs in the
early building itself, as well as most of the additions to it,
are of the Roman times. So, too, the inscriptions are of the
Roman period. On the other hand the boustrophedon in-

6 Od. xxii. 466 (Schol. ibid.) makes it the storehouse. It may thus have
resembled the di/aavpog^ and hence the bee-hive tomb.
'Fergusson, Rude Stone Monuments in all Countries, London, 1872.
8 Fasti vi. 261 seg.
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