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The “Lesche”(club”) of the Knidians

The “Lesche” (club”) of the Knidians is a building known more for the paintings that decorated it and less for its architectural style. The monument was an offering to Apollo, by the people of Knidos, an important city-state in Asia Minor. Knidos enjoyed a high level of civilization and was famous for the progress in Medicine; the city had also numerous colonies in Sicily and in Naucratis at Egypt. When the Persians attacked the cities of Asia Minor, the Knidians decided to construct a defensive moat to protect the city from inland attacks. But, as several accidents took place during the construction, they decided to ask the oracle at Delphi if they should continue; the oracle advised them to stop constructing the moat and promised that Apollo would help them to repel the enemy.

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Following the oracle the Knidians lined up with the Athenian general Kimon and contributed a lot to the victory at river Eurymedon in 468 b.C., a victory that stopped the Persian domination in Asia Minor. Thus, the Knidians thought that Apollo had kept his promise and after the end of the war they constructed at Delphi the votive monument that took the name “Lesche” (“club”) of the Knidians.

The building was used for various meetings, relax and training of athletes. It is a rectangular building some twenty meters long and ten meters wide with two series of wooden columns inside, standing on stone bases. There was also a supporting wall with an inscription indicating the use of the building. Later on, the ground in front of the monument was evened in order to facilitate access to the monument. The building was richly decorated with paintings which, according the ancient traveler Pausanias, were made by the famous ancient painter Polygnotos from Thasos. Pausanias gives a detailed description of the paintings which presented scenes from the fall of Troia and the descent of Ulysses to Hades.

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