Sanctuary of Athena

The sanctuary and the temple of Athena Sounias

Almost 500 metres northeast of Poseidon’s Sanctuary there was the Sanctuary of Athena Sounias. This Sanctuary was consisted of an enclosure, surrounding Athena’s temple, and another smaller temple. One small circular enclosure was incorporated in the bigger one. The Sanctuary was accessible from the north, through a monumental Propylon (entrance).

Temple of Athena Sounias (middle 5th century BCE)

The Temple of Athena Sounias was a very unusual and peculiar structure. It was an Ionic temple with a rectangular cella, surrounded by a colonnade covering only on the south and east of the building. The reason for this is not clear. Probably the plan of the temple was so from the beginning. If not, the colonnade was added shortly after construction and had this format for practical and aesthetic reasons.

The temple is generally characterized by simplicity. There was no sculptural decoration and colors were probably limited to the cornices and the clay sima. Inside there was a colossal statue whose base survives today. The dimensions of the temple were 16.4 × 11.6 m and in the middle of the cella there were the four columns which supported the roof.

In Roman times the temple had been abandoned and thus, the outer colonnade was transferred and used anew in a building in the Agora of Athens.

 

Doric Temple (6th century BCE)

Next to the Temple of Athena, there was a smaller temple which was built around the 6th century BCE, and then rebuilt again after its destruction by the Persians. It was small (5 x 6.8 m) and was a Doric distyle. The columns in the east were probably a later addition and stood directly on the ground. It was poorly constructed and the superstructure was probably made of mudbricks. The altar in the east identifies it as a temple, but the deity to which it was dedicated is unknown. It was probably dedicated to Athena or the hero Frontis who was thought to be buried there. The circular enclosure is also probably related to some Frontis cult.

 

Ο δωρικός ναός με τον βωμό του βόρεια του ναού της Αθηνάς. Δεξιά του είναι το μνημειακό πρόπυλο, η κεντρική είσοδος του χώρου.

The doric temple with its altar, north of Athena’s temple. On the right lies the Propylon, the main gate of the sanctuary.

See more on Sounion:

SOUNION HISTORY SANCTUARY OF POSEIDON FORTIFICATIONS