Greece: Bassai sculptures (Room 16)

420  400 BC

Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 10.00–11.00 and 15.00-17.30

Access to the gallery outside of these hours may be arranged by prior appointment with the Department of Greece and Rome. Please email Please note that this service is only available from Monday – Friday as the department is not staffed on the weekend.

The Temple of Apollo Epikourios ('Apollo the Helper') was built high on a rocky ridge of Mount Kotylion at Bassae in south-west Arcadia, a region of the Greek Peloponnese. The Greek historian Pausanias wrote, in the second century AD, that the name 'Helper' was given to Apollo by citizens of nearby Phigaleia, as thanks for their deliverance from the plague of 429-427 BC. He also wrote that the temple was designed by Iktinos, one of the architects of the Parthenon.

The twenty three blocks of the frieze that ran around the interior of the building show the battle between the Greeks and Amazons and the Lapiths and Centaurs.

This frieze is displayed on the upper level of Room 16. The remains of some of the twelve sculptured metopes that decorated the Doric frieze of the north and south porches can be seen on the lower level.