The Athena Temple at Paestum and Pythagorean Theory Nabers, Ned;Ford Wiltshire, Susan Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies

Ned Nabers, Susan Wiltshire
1980 Fall   unpublished
HE LACK of contemporary evidence for Pythagorean activity in southern Italy during Pythagoras' own time there, roughly 53211 to 49413 B.C.,l causes us to examine with special interest the case for Pythagorean qualities in the design of the temple of Athena at Paestum, which is commonly dated to around 510 B.C. In a study published in 1958 H. Kayser attempted to demonstrate that the number theories of Pythagorean philosophy influenced the design of the temple. 2 Although the results of his study
more » ... were questionable at best,3 the idea that this temple incorporated tenets of Pythagoreanism was taken up again by R. Ross Holloway in 1966. 4 Basing his arguments on the precise measurements of the temple published by F. Krauss,s Holloway clearly demonstrated that the number four, the creative principle in Pythagorean thought, and the numbers ten and twenty-four permeate the fundamental design of the temple. We wish to offer here further evidence corroborating this thesis. The crucial importance of the numbers four, ten, and twentyfour to Pythagorean philosophy derives from the discovery by Pythagoras that intervals in the musical scale could be expressed by mathematical ratios involving the first four integers. 6 Here was empirical evidence, it was felt, for an inherent order in the uni-I G. S. Kirk and J. E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers (Cambridge 1957) 217ff, review the biographical evidence, most of which is late and obscure. The tradition was that Pythagoras left his native Samos and settled in Croton in 532/1.