Temple of Hera Lacinia (Juno)

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The Temple of Juno in Agrigento, also known as the Temple of Hera Lacinia, is the one that opens a visit to the Valley of the Temples. Built around the fifth century BC in the Doric style, it is peripteral and hexastyle. Contrary to popular belief, we do not know to which deity it was dedicated. The name Temple of Hera Lacinia is in fact the result of a misinterpretation of a text by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder.

The Temple of Hera in Agrigento: the origins of the name

It is known to all as the Temple of Hera Lacinia, but we do not know to whom this temple was actually dedicated. As with most of the temples in the archaeological area, it is not possible to determine which deity was the object of worship. Often the attribution is very late or even the result of historical misinterpretation, as in this case. In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and the deity of family and marriage. In Roman mythology, however, she was known as Juno. The attribution of this temple to Hera Lacinia is the result of a misinterpretation of a passage by Pliny the Elder. In fact, the Roman writer was referring to the temple of Hera Lacinia, which still stands today in Crotone, in a place called Capo Lacinio.

Architecture of the Temple of Hera Lacinia (or Temple of Juno)

The Temple of Juno in Agrigento was built in the Doric style in the 5th century BC using local limestone. The temple was peripteral, with a colonnade around the perimeter, and hexastyle, with six columns on the short side. The building stands on a basement formed by four steps and had 6×13 columns with a total height of 6.36 meters. Inside there were: an entrance hall (pronaos), the cella (naos), i.e. the room where the statue of the deity stood, and a back room (opisthodomos). Between the pronaos and the cella there was a doorway flanked by two pillars with a service staircase leading to the roof. In front of the eastern façade of the temple are the remains of a monumental altar with ten steps, where sacrifices were probably made. The Temple of Juno has undergone several restorations over the centuries. In the 18th century, the columns on the north side were raised by anastylosis.

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