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The Heraion at the mouth of the river Sele

Due to a flood, the site with the Narrative Museum is currently closed. We apologise for the inconvenience.

To get there: follow the signs from the Salerno-Paestum coastal road (after the bridge over the river Sele) or from the Battipaglia-Paestum road (SS 18).

The temple of Hera (“Heraion”) stands about 9 km to the north of the city of Poseidonia and, according to tradition, was founded by the Greek Jason, the hero of the ship Argo, so that the goddess was known as the Argive Hera.
The Heraion was discovered in the 1930s by the archaeologists Paola Zancani Montuoro and Umberto Zanotti Bianco.

The temple marks the boundary between the territory of the Greeks and the Etruscans to the right of the river Sele. The religious buildings date from a period stretching back to the foundation of Poseidonia (c. 600 BC) to the foundation of the Roman colony (273 BC).

The first series of exceptional sculpted panels (“metopes”) dates to about 570-560 BC and portrays numerous episodes taken from myth (the capture of Troy, the twelve tasks of Hercules, the myth of Orestes and the feats accomplished by Jason and the Argonauts).
Another cycle of metopes can be dated to the late sixth century BC and portrays pairs of dancers with the sinuous, sophisticated features associated with the Ionic style, which belong to a building known as the “Great Temple” (“Tempio Maggiore”).

Danzatrici Sele_3

The last building dates to the early fourth century BC. It had a square plan and a marble statue of Hera seated on a throne was found inside it. The goddess wears a high headdress (“polos”) and holds a cup (“phiale”) in her right hand and a pomegranate in her left.

All the finds are kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Paestum.