Online Encyclopedia

PAESTUM (Gr.Iloveu3wvia; mod. Pesto)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 448 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
PAESTUM (Gr.Iloveu3wvia; mod. Pesto), an ancient Greek city in Lucania, near the sea, with a railway station 24 M. S.E. of Salerno, 5 M. S. of the river Silarus (Salso). It is said by Strabo (v. 251) to have been founded by Troezenian and Achaean colonists from the still older colony of Sybaris, on the Gulf of Tarentum; this probably happened not later than about 600 B.C. Herodotus (i. 167) speaks of it as being already a flourishing city in about 540 B.C., when the neighbouring city of Velia was founded. For many years the city maintained its independence, though surrounded by the hostile native inhabitants of Lucania. Autonomous coins were struck, of which many specimens now exist (see NUMISMATICS). After long struggles the city fell into the hands of the Lucanians (who nevertheless did not expel the Greek colonists) and in 273 B.C. it became a Latin colony under the Roman rule, the name being changed to the Latin form Paestum. It successfully resisted the attacks of Hannibal; and it is noteworthy that it continued to strike copper coins even under Augustus and Tiberius. The neighbourhood was then healthy, highly cultivated, and celebrated for its flowers; the " twice blooming roses of Paestum " are mentioned by Virgil (Geor. iv. 118), Ovid (Met. xv. 708), Martial (iv. 41, 10; vi. 8o, 6), and other Latin poets. Its present deserted and malarious state is probably owing to the silting up of the mouth of the Silarus, which has overflowed its bed, and converted the plain into unproductive marshy ground. Herds of buffaloes, and the few peasants who watch them, are now the only occupants of this once thickly populated and garden-like region. In 871 Paestum was sacked and partly destroyed by Saracen invaders; in the 11th century it was further dismantled by Robert Guiscard, and in the 16th century was finally deserted. The ruins of Posidonia are among the most interesting of the Hellenic world. The earliest temple in Paestum, the so-called Basilica, must in . point of style be associated with the temples D and F at Selinus, and i* therefore to be dated about 570-554 B.C.' It is a building of unique plan, with Dine columns in the front and eighteen at the sides, 44 ft. in diameter. A line of columns runs down the centre of the cella. The columns have marked entasis, and the flutings end in a semicircle, above which is generally a torus (always present in the so-called temple of Ceres). The capitals are remarkable, inasmuch as the necking immediately below the echinus is decorated with a band of leaves, the arrangement of which varies in different cases. The columns and the architraves upon them are well preserved, but there is nothing above the frieze existing, and the cella wall has entirely disappeared. Next in point of date comes the so-called temple of Ceres, a hexastyle peripteros, which may be dated after 540 B.C. The columns are all standing, and the west and part of the east pediment are still in situ; but of the cella, again, nothing is 1 The dating adopted in the present article, which is in absolute contradiction to that given in the previous edition of this work, is that given by R. Koldewey and O. Puchstein, Die griechischen Tempel in Unteritalien and Sicilien (Berlin, 1899), 11-35. ,
End of Article: PAESTUM (Gr.Iloveu3wvia; mod. Pesto)
[back]
FERDINANDO PAER (1771-1839)
[next]
JOSE ANTONIO PAEZ (1790-1873)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.