Dr. Wheeler's Last Lecture.
He said that he would reserve until the close of the lecture the translation of Pausanias' description of the temple, which, though written in the author's usual rambling style, constitutes an important contribution to our knowledge of the temple. It is not satisfactorily known what the name Erechtheum' does signify, but the temple was devoted to the worship of Athena. The ancient wooden statue of the godess was preserved there, and the temple was often called that of Athena Polias. The temple may have lost some of its importance when the Parthenon was built. and the great chryselephantine statue of Athena set up.
The original Erechtheum was burnt by the Persians; but the new temple was erected on the ancient site. It is a later structure than the Parthenon. The ground plan of the temple was unique, differing from every other known example of a Greek temple. Instead of the usual oblong figure with a portico at each end, the Erechtheum had projecting porticoes on the north and south sides, and a portico at only one end, the eastern one. On the southern side is the Porch of the Maidens, one of the best known specimens of Greek architecture. The skill displayed here in the use of human figures in the architicture is unsurpassed. The northern portico was most elaborate structure. The architecture of the whole temple is of the Ionic order, which in this portico is seen in its most adorned type.
The sculptures of the frieze of the Erechtheum were worked from separate blocks of marble, which were afterwards fastened upon the frieze. This frieze was of blue-black Elusinian marble, and must have thrown the sculptures into remarkable relief. Very few of the figures of the frieze have been preserved; not enough to enable us to determine the subject of the sculptor, so Dr. Wheeler did not discuss them.
Of the interior arrangement of the temple we know almost nothing. It was divided into three apartments, of which the one at the eastern end was sacred to Athna Polias. Dr. Wheeler now took up Pausanias' description, commenting upon it and interpreting it wherever possible.
The lecture was closed with a few remarks about the later history of the Erechtheum, and the Acropolis as we see it today.