The Lesche οf The Cnidians


The Lesche of the Cnidians hosted two famous paintings by Polygnotus, namely the Capture of Troy and the Nekyia. It was built in the second quarter of the 5th century B.C. It was a rectangular building with a clerestory along the western side and possibly a tripartite interior arrangement. In the 4th century along its southern side was added a wall for placing ex votos.


The Lesche of the Cnidians is one of the most renowned buildings of Delphi, as it used to host two famous paintings of the Thasian painter Polygnotos, namely the Capture of Troy and the Nekyia (visit of Ulysses to the underworld). The building was excavated in 1894, but it didn’t yield any trace of the paintings. It was a rectangular building, with four wooden pillars inside, along the eastern side, which supported a clerestory, which allowed natural light to come in and illuminate Polygnotus’ paintings. Literary sources inform us that there were several doors, which helped reconstruct the architectural design as that of a building with two rooms, leading to the main room where the paintings were exhibited. The façade cannot be securely reconstructed. The roof was gabled, covered with tiles, whereas the clerestory may have been gabled or four-sided. The building must have been built in the second quarter of the 5th century B.C. According to an attractive hypothesis, the lesche was built after the Battle of Eurymedon (467 B.C.), which marked the liberation of the Greeks of Asia Minor from the Persians. It is also mentioned that the building was possibly used as a club or restaurant.In the course of the 4th century, to the south of the monument and at a distance of 3.2 meters from the southern wall there was built a wall made of local limestone, on which were possibly exhibited votive offerings, following the precept of the Treasury of the Athenians.

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