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Lion's Head Waterspout

This lion’s head was a waterspout for throwing rainwater from the roof clear of the temple’s walls and columns. Along with many others it was located at the end of the sloping sima, high above the sculptured frieze of the temple.

Lions were a common motif in ancient Greek art, such as in the Lion Gate at Mycenae and the Terrace of Lions on Delos, and featured often in myths; one of the Labours of Herakles was to kill a giant lion that terrorised the region of Nemea. The historian Herodotus wrote the lions were still common in Greece in the fifth century BCE, but it is thought that they died out around 100 CE

Location of Original: 

London, British Museum (or in situ?)


Acquired in May 1993


Cockerell: The Temples of Jupiter Panhellenius at Aegina and of Apollo Epicurus at Bassae near Phigaleia in Arcadia, pls. 6 & 7 (following 52)

c.420 BCE

Taken from the Temple at Bassae (?)

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