The Heroon at Kalydon: An investigation of the function of the Hellenistic building

University essay from Lunds universitet/Antikens kultur och samhällsliv

Author: Rikke Randeris Thomsen; [2017]

Keywords: History and Archaeology;

Abstract: The heroon in Kalydon has been under investigation several times with different intentions: to date the building, to find the relative chronology between peristyle and tomb, and to study the sculptural programme. The building was interpreted by the excavators to suit the functions of cultic feasting and celebration related to the hero, but the actual function of the various rooms has been questioned and debated later. The objective of this paper is to study the function of the rooms, with a background in newer comparative material, and by looking at different archaeological aspects in the structure with a holistic approach. The comparative material consists of peristyle structures from the late Classical to late Hellenistic period, and the aspects investigated include the entrance, exedrae and “Kultraum”, stone clad floors, installations, and the tomb. This analysis showed that the heroon had most structural similarities with gymnasia, and the most resembling example was the gymnasium in Amphipolis. The function of the rooms was however different from the normal functions in a gymnasium; the form of the rooms adapted to activities related to the hero cult. The form of the building, as a gymnasium, was intentional and in connection with the deceased hero and athlete Leon, as this would have been his arena of success, while the use of the building was more related with the cult activities.

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