Chapter

The Temple of the Dioscuri and the Mythic Origins of Neapolis

Rabun Taylor

in Remembering Parthenope

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780199673933
Published online April 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191797613 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673933.003.0003

Series: Classical Presences

The Temple of the Dioscuri and the Mythic Origins of Neapolis

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As a haven of Hellenism in an increasingly Romanized land, Neapolis in early imperial times remained acutely aware of its Greek origins. The construction in the time of the emperor Tiberius of a marble temple of the Dioscuri, upon which was later built the church of S. Paolo Maggiore, looked inwards and backwards to the city’s mythic foundations. The cluster of five central figures on the pediment, of which two are lost, probably marks a moment in mythic time, perhaps the birth of the city; a female allegory of Neapolis almost certainly occupied the central and highest part. Two pairs of corner figures anchor the action geographically, again through allegories: the rocky promontory of Parthenope, the Sebethos river, and two Tritons of the sea. Their inclusion marks an effort at cultural memory rendered in a manner familiar to Romans, but with a specificity of meaning best understood by local Neapolitans.

Keywords: Neapolis; temple of the Dioscuri; Parthenope; Sebethos; Tritons; allegory

Chapter.  8179 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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