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Tholos at Epidauros

Date

360-320 BC

Size

Stylobate diameter 21.3m.

Labyrinth diameter 13.36m.

Materials

Limestone covered in stucco for main structure.

Marble decoration.

Function

Part of cult of healing god Asclepius, perhaps to house sacred snakes in underground labyrinth, perhaps representing his cenotaph.

Traditional elements

Limestone covered with stucco for main structure and marble for any sculptural decoration.

Adapts conventions of rectangular structure to circular one with peristyle on 3 step stylobate surrounding circular naos.

Layout and proportion

See above.

Combining the orders

Exterior 26 Doric columns.

Interior 14 Corinthian columns.

A development from those at Bassae, inside.

Interior and exterior decoration

Highly decorated inside and out.

Metopes carved with large rosette rather than story.

Conical roof culminates in marble acroterion consisting of palmettes and twisted scrolls emerging from basket of acanthus providing link with Corinthian capitals inside.

Peristyle ceiling with acanthus leaves and flower.

Intricately carved doorway.

Naos perhaps illuminated with windows.

Wall painted with frescoes.

Floor paved with lozenges of dark and lighter stone leading eye to central pit giving access to labyrinth.

Ceiling decorated even more elaborately than peristyle.


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