Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — 1.1882-1883

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As to the first, it is probable from various indications that the
ground-plan was the same as that of the finished temple. In the
passage of Aristotle just quoted he cites the Olympieion as the char-
acteristic work of the tyranny of the Peisistratidae, dwarfing all its
other architectural undertakings. Now, at the time of Peisistratos,
foremost among the centres of culture were Samos, then under Poly-
krates, and Ephesos. In each of them was a colossal temple, — that
of PIcra in the former, and that of Artemis in the latter. These
temples, the glories of their respective cities, were Avidely known at
that time, and attracted visitors from all sides. It has been noticed
as a remarkable fact (cf. Antiquities of Ionia, IV. p. 15) that the largest
temples of Greece were almost exactly of the same size ; viz., about
360 by 170 ft. The temples at Samos and Ephesos measured re-
spectively, as nearly as can now be determined, 362 by 167 ft., and
342 by 163 ft. ; while the dimensions of the Olympieion were 354 by
171 ft. Such a close agreement can hardly have been accidental;
and it seems more than probable that Peisistratos had in mind these
great buildings, and intended to equal or outdo them by his temple of
the Olympian Zeus at Athens.

I approach with greater diffidence an architectural question bearing
on this point; that is, the much-discussed question of horizontal cur-
vature as a principle of Greek architecture.* If we accept the con-
clusions first reached by Penrose as the result of his measurements,
we must admit the existence of this curvature in the Olympieion.
In measuring the Olympieion, he found that the centre of the line
along the upper step of the crepidoma is three inches above a right
line from end to end.t On the front of the temple there are but
three columns left; but there too the inner one is appreciably higher
than the one at the corner. This small amount of curvature in so
large a temple would naturally refer it to an early date. Now, there
is little reason to suppose that the principle of horizontal curvature
continued in use, even at Athens, as late as the time of Antiochos
Epiphanes. Certainly there is no corresponding finesse in the plumb-
ing of the columns. No inward inclination is observable in them, nor
does it appear from the measurements attainable that there was any

* See on this subject, beside the work of Penrose, the exhaustive discussions
of Eotticher and Ziller, and also Reber's Geschichte der Baukunst.
f Pri?iciples of Athenian Architecture, p. 26.
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