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Temple of Apollo, Syracuse

Archaeological Development

It is thought that the Temple of Apollo is the earliest Doric temple in Sicily; it dates from the early 6th century BC.

The Temple has been likened to the Olympieion in Athens and it follows the Doric peripteral form, with 6 columns in the front and 17 on the sides. The columns are 7.9 metres high and the gap between them was very small - less than the arm span of a person. The reason for the spacing has been attributed to concern for structural weaknesses and effectively carrying the weight of the structure; the walls of the cella were made entirely out of stone.

The roof of the temple was protected with terracotta tiles and it's function changed throughout the ages; it has served as both a church and a mosque.


Temple of Apollo east elevation (after Holloway, The Archaeology of Early Sicily )

Gods/Heroes and Dedications

An inscription to Apollo has been found on the stylobate, attributed to Kleiomenes, a possible tyrant of Syracuse; we are not sure exactly who he is.

It reads 'Kleiomenes, the son of Knidieidies, built it for Apollo. And he put his hand to the columns; beautiful accomplishments they are.' A more recent translation by Margheritta Guarducci reads 'Kleomenes the son of Knidieides made it for Apollo. And he included columns. They are fine works.'

Kleiomenes is stating that he built the temple and columns and by recording this on an inscription he is reminding future generations of his good actions.


Ritual Activity

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Rules and Regulations

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Other Activities

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Historical Significance

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Who used the site, and where did they come from? 

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Select Site Bibliography

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The Temple of Apollo is located on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse, very close to the Piazza Pancali and the bridge leading to the mainland.

Site Plan