The treasury of the Massaliots

The treasury of the Massaliots or Aeolian treasury was built within the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia between the years 530-510 B.C. It looked like a small temple in antis with two columns on the façade; it was constructed of Paros marble. From the treasury of the Massaliots is extant a frieze with rich decoration in relief with lotus rosettes and scenes of Gigantomachy and Amazonomachy. The “aeolian” capitals of the treasury of the Massaliots were probably the starting point for the evolution of the Corinthian capital.

To the west of the temple of Athena Pronaia, next to the Doric treasury, stand the remains of a treasury with a vestibule and cella. Its two columns on the façade are decorated with Αeolian capitals, which are generally considered as the precursors to the Corinthian capitals. The building measures 6.14 x 8.63 meters and it is made of Parian marble. It is estimated that its total height was 7.8 meters. At least one of its pediments bore sculpted decoration with the image of a four-horse chariot. The sima was decorated with lion heads and was flanked by acroteria in the form of Victories. The Ionian frieze, comprising at least 140 figures in scenes of Amazonomachy, Gigantomachy and other battle scenes, spread along at least three sides of the building.
The Treasury was built by the Massaliots in order to enhance the increasing commercial power of this colony of the Phocaeans. However, it is also possible that it constituted an ex-voto for their victory against the Ligurians. Its identification is verified by a fragmentary inscription (ΣΣΑΛ) on a marble architectural member, found in the region.
Text - Translation: Dr. Aphrodite Kamara, Historian