The Temple of Poseidon


The Temple of Poseidon was built around 440 BC and is located at the southern most tip of Attica, Cape Sounion. 


This site has been of significance to natives since the Bronze age. The temple itself was originally built in the archaic style around 480 BC but was destroyed during the Greco-Persian War. The Athenian general Pericles had the temple rebuilt (by the architect Ictinus) as part of a building project which also included the Parthenon and the Hephaisteion. It was dedicated to Poseidon (God of the Sea) around 440 BC in order to protect those who traveled by sea, as the cape acted as a gateway to Attica. Here people could leave offerings or make animal sacrifice.

The design of the temple was Hexastyle, which meant it had a six columned portico. Thirteen of the original thirty-four Doric columns of this temple remain standing, which are evident in the adjacent photograph including a few later reconstructions. Within the temple stood a statue of Poseidon and the outer frieze of the temple depicted the tales of Theseus.  

Did you known?

According to Greek myth, Aegeus (The King of Athens) sent his son Theseus to the island of Crete to kill the Minotaur, to which several Athenian children were sacrificed annually.  Theseus was to return from his quest under a white sail indicating the defeat of the Minotaur. However, Theseus returned under a black sail, which his awaiting father mistook for a symbol of his sons death. In his despair Aegeus fell into the sea, hence giving the Aegean sea its name. It is the site of the Temple of Poseidon where this event is said to have taken place. 

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