(Metaponto) Lucania, Italy.
On the Gulf of Taranto between the mouths of the
Bradanus and Casuentus rivers (modern Bradano and
Basento). Famed for the fertility of its farm land, Metapontion was settled by Achaean Greeks in 773-772 B.C. according to Eusebius, but in the late 8th or 7th c. according to modern scholars. It was the last home and
burial place of the philosopher Pythagoras. It supported
the Athenian expedition to Sicily (415 B.C.). The city
was abandoned during the second Punic war in 207 B.C.
The rectangular city plan has been reconstructed on
the basis of air photographs. It is connected to a vast
subdivision system of the countryside where Greek farmsteads, the earliest belonging to the 6th c. B.C., have been excavated. The original urban nucleus was augmented in the 5th c. to create a new agora in the area of the Temple
of Apollo Lykeios, which previously had been outside
the walls. This area of the city, its NE section, is currently the scene of study and excavation. The foundations of the Temple of Apollo Lykeios belong to an early archaic building with an exterior colonnade
(9 x 18 columns). It is comparable in plan to the basilica (Temple
of Hera I) at Paestum. The order was Doric. The temple
was modified on various occasions, notably with the addition of pedimental sculpture in the late 6th c. B.C. but was
already in a state of dilapidation in the 4th c. To the W
of the Temple of Apollo are the foundations of a still
earlier temple dating to the end of the 7th c. and to the
E are the foundations of a third temple. North of the city
near the Bradanus river and beside the modern Taranto-Reggio Calabria highway is the Doric temple long known
as the Knights' Tables (Tavole Paladine) but probably
dedicated to Hera. It was erected in the late 6th c. B.C.
Of the colonnade (6 x 12 columns), 15 columns are still
standing. West of the temple is the extensive necropolis.
Nearby is the antiquarium where material from the new
excavations is displayed. Material from early excavations, including architectural terracottas from the Temple of Hera and the marble kouros from the Temple of Apollo Lykeios, is in the museum at Potenza.
M. Lacava, Topografia e storia di Metaponto
(1891); T. J. Dunbabin, The Western Greeks
(1948); W. B. Dinsmoor, The Architecture of Ancient
(1950) 97 (“Knights' Tables”); G. Schmiedt &
R. Chevalier, Caulonia e Metaponto
(1959; also in
39, 1959); D. Adamesteanu, “Metaponto
(Matera) Appunti fotointerpretativi,” NSc
; id., “Metaponto,” BdA
52 (1967) 46-47MPI
; M. Napoli, Civiltà della Magna Grecia
(1969) 238-44; A. D. Trendall, “Archaeology in South Italy and Sicily,
1967-69,” Arch. Reports for 1969-70
R. R. HOLLOWAY