Temple of Artemis Agrotera

Temple of Artemis Agrotera (440 BCE)

 

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Outside the walls of Athens, next to the river Ilisos, stood a small ionic temple which is thought to have been dedicated to the goddess Artemis in the form of Artemis Agrotera (protector of the hunt). The temple was probably built in around 440 B.C.E. and belonged to a group of similar small ionic temples that were located around Athens. The only surviving temple of this group is the Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis, which was smaller in the long sides.

The frieze was decorated with sculptures, very few fragments of which survive, making the identification of the topic difficult.

The location where the temple was built is described by the ancient sources as idyllic and calm, with many trees near the river.

 

At some point during the medieval times, the temple was converted into a christian church dedicated to the Mother of God, known as “Panagia stin Petra” (Mary on the rock). The temple still stood in a relatively good state (along with christian alterations) until 1778, when the Turkish governor of Athens dismantled the temple and many other monuments in order to use the material on a new city wall he built. Today almost nothing remains of the temple and the excavated field is on dispute between the owners and the Ministry of Culture.​

Northwestern view of the Temple of Artemis Agrotera. The east façade of the Temple with its entrance. Eastern view of the temple. On the background the huge Temple of the Olympian Zeus (right) and the Acropolis with the Parthenon.

 

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