The Treasury of the Massaliots


The treasury of the Massaliots was situated in the sanctuary of Athena Pronaιa. It looked like a small temple in antis with two columns on the facade; it was constructed of Paros marble. It measured 6,14 Χ 8,50 with a height of 7,80 meters. From the treasury of the Massaliots are preserved remains of a frieze in relief: rich decoration with lotus rosettes and scenes of Gigantomachy and Amazonomachy. The “aeolian” capitals of the treasury of the Massaliots were probably the models for the evolution of the Corinthian capital.


To the West of the temple of Athena Pronaea, next to the Doric treasury, are situated the remains of a treasury with a vestibule and cella. It bears two columns on the facade, decorated with aeolian capitals, which are generally considered as the precursors to the Corinthian capitals. The building measures 6.14 x 8.63 meters, it is dated in ca 510 B.C. and it is made of Paros marble. It is estimated that its height was 7.8 meters. One at least of its pediments bore sculpted decoration of a four-horses chariot. The sima was decorated with lion head, whereas it was flanked by acroteria in the form of Victories. The Ionian frieze spread along at least three sides of the building and it comprised at least 140 figure. An Amazonomachy, a Cenauromachy and other battle scenes have been identified. 

The Treasury was built by the Massaliots in order to enhance the increasing commercial power of this colony of the Phocaeans. However, it is possible that it constituted also an ex voto for their victory against the Ligurians.  Its identification is verified also by a fragmentary inscription on a marble architectural member, found in the region.

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