Reconstructing Building Height : The Early Hellenistic Hestiatorion Propylon at Epidauros

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The extensive building at the southern part of the sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidauros is often referred to as a Gymnasium, but it is more likely a Banqueting Hall (hestiatorion); partial restoration of its monumental Propylon was finished in 2009. In the restoration proposal the estimate of the building height was based on three factors: the average height of the column drums, the height of the wall blocks and a proposed foot-unit of 0.3018 m. This paper demonstrates that the suggested height of the Doric column of 7.1677 m can be questioned. Using computer-intensive statistical methods for determining the 95% confidence intervals for the column drum and wall block height plus analysing the column shaft profile, it is possible to show that the more likely range for the column height is 7.84–7.92 m and that the shafts were constructed with a slight entasis. It can also be demonstrated that the foot-standard of 0.3018 m identified as the basis of the structure’s overall dimensions is statistically insupportable. The proportional height of the column becomes 6.5–6.6, rather than 5.9, lower column diameters, which is more in keeping with other Doric buildings from the Early Hellenistic period.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationListening to the Stones
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on Architecture and Function in Ancient Greek Sanctuaries in Honour of Richard Alan Tomlinson
EditorsElena C. Partida, Barbara Schmidt-Dounas
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78969-088-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-78969-087-3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Hellenistic Doric; foot-unit; proportions; shaft profile; digital technologies

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