The Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens during the Archaic period (520 BCE)

During this period the first monumental temples were built. The first was constructed at around 560 BCE in the place were the Parthenon stands today. This temple was dedicated to godess Athena, protector of the city and the pediments were decorated with statues depicting lions and other mythical creatures.

The second big temple was built around 520 BCE and is also known as “the ancient temple” (Archaios Neos – αρχαίος νεώς) and was dedicated to Athena Poliás. The pediments were decorated with marble statues depicting the Gigantomachy.

Γενική της Ακρόπολης περί το 520 π.Χ. με τους δύο ναούς της Αθηνάς. Ο ναός στα δεξιά είναι ο πρώτος μεγάλος που χτίστηκε στα 560 π.Χ. Δίπλα του, με μαρμάρινη στέγη, βρίσκεται ο "Αρχαίος Νεώς".

The Acropolis at around 520 BCE with the two temples of Athena from the northwest. The temple on the right is the oldest monumental one, built in 560 BCE. The other one with the marble roof is the Archaios Neos (520 BCE)

The Acropolis during the Persian Wars (480 BCE)

After the foundation of Democracy and the battle of Marathon in 490 BCE, the construction of the first marble temple was begun. This temple is known as Proparthenon or “Hekatompedon” and was constructed in the spot of the earliest temple, which was torn down for unknown reasons. This temple was never completed as the second phase of the Greco-Persian Wars begun. On its place (on the same foundations and with many of its parts) was later built the Parthenon. At the same time, the first archaic Propylaea were partially built with the first temple of Athena Nike, the foundations of which still exist under today‘s classical temple. Also the Pelasgian wall was repaired. All these buildings, along with the city, were burned to the ground by the Persian general Mardonius in 480 BCE.

Γενική άποψη των μνημείων της Ακρόπολης το 480 π.Χ. λίγο πριν από την εισβολή των Περσών.

General view of the Acropolis’ monuments in 480 BCE slightly before the Persian invasion.

For other monuments of Archaic Athens click below: