The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Temple Building at Segesta

Alison Burforda1

a1 Newnham College, Cambridge

The hollow peristasis at Segesta presents two interrelated problems. The question of how Greek temples were constructed, and whether the method generally used was applied to the structure at Segesta, depends to some extent for its answer upon the Segestans' motives for building. And the problem of motive is affected by considerations of architectural method. Neither problem appears to have been fully discussed in the light of the other. The result is that at the moment the prevailing views of either problem stand quite unconnected. Thus while many scholars accept the structure as the sole surviving member of a projected scheme to build a complete temple, the theory is now widely held that it was meant to serve merely as a hellenizing decorative element round an Elymian shrine or open-air altar, and so, that the Segestans' interest in Greek temple-architecture was purely superficial.