Sunday, December 25, 2011

Archaeological site of Sounio, Attica

At the end of the Sounion peninsula, the southern point of Attica, the Athenians built sanctuaries in honour of two of their important deities, i.e. Athena and Poseidon. The sanctuary of Poseidon lies within a fort that protected the coast of Attica. 

 The temple, of white marble from Agrileza, was erected in the middle of the 5th century B.C., on the sheer, south-eastern side of the peninsula, above a previous temple, built in the late 6th century B.C. which was destroyed before it was completed, during the Persian invasion of 480 century B.C. 

Before the construction of the temples, marble kouros statues stood on this site, which were unfortunately destroyed by the Persians. The peripheral Doric temple had 6 x 13 columns. Above the epistyle of the pronaos was a frieze with a relief decoration, work of Cycladic craftsmen, which continued around all four sides. The subjects depicted were drawn from the legends of the Battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths, in the Battle of the Giants and Gods, and the Labours of Theseus.

The sanctuary of Athena was built on the lower hill to the north of the sanctuary of Poseidon, near an earlier precinct of roughly circular shape that was dedicated to a male deity. Two temples were dedicated to Athena, a small rectangular Doric temple of the early 6th. century B.C., which was destroyed by the Persians, and a later, larger Ionic temple with an altar on the south side. 

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