Delphi: Polygonal Wall

Polygonal Wall - A retention wall of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece

Polygonal Wall – A retention wall of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece

Polygonal Wall
The Polygonal Wall shown in the image was built as a retaining wall to support the terrace that houses the Temple of Apollo platform. This wall was introduced during the construction of the second version of the temple in 548 BCE. Some of the stones on the Polygonal Wall have detailed inscriptions that were inscribed sometime in the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. These inscriptions mostly mention the emancipation of slaves.

The polygonal walls get their name from the polygonal shapes of the stones in the walls. However, some may contain curved stones besides the polygonal ones as in the case of the Polygonal Wall shown in the image.

The polygonal walls are considered an engineering marvel because of the way they were built. The walls did not make use of mortar or cement because the stones with irregular shapes and sizes fit perfectly.

It looks as though the stones used in the Polygonal Wall were precisely-cut and polished using sophisticated machinery. However, there is no evidence to suggest that such machinery or tools existed in ancient times. In all likelihood, engineers in those days must have devised some ingenious techniques to build such walls using primitive tools.

One of the main advantages of polygonal walls is that they withstand earthquakes very well, as evidenced in Delphi, which suffered numerous earthquakes for the past 2500 years. The polygonal walls in Delphi have some similarities with the polygonal walls in the structures built by the Incas in Cusco and Saksaywaman. These places are also located on the severe earthquake zone, and the Inca structures seem to have withstood earthquakes very well.

Related Pages
Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Meteora, Greece
Greek Islands, Crete
Minoan Civilization, Mycenaean Civilization
Ephesus

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