Sanctuary of Athena Sounias, Sounio

Sounio is famous for the temple of Poseidon, but the Athenians constructed also a temple dedicated to Athena.

Remain of Athena Sounias Temple

Remain of Athena Sounias Temple

As the Greek myth goes, these two deities competed each other to become of the patron of Athens; Athena won for her gift of olives to Attica.

Remains of Athena Sounias Temple

Remains of Athena Sounias Temple

The temple is contemporary of the Poseidon’s temple, constructed at the middle of the fifth century BCE. Regrettably the foundation is the only remain.

The first photo was shot from the entrance of the sanctuary toward the temple of Athena. The second photo is the temple of Athena; right being the façade of the temple (to the East). The cella is 5.9m by 3.8m, and the four angles were supported by four columns arranged in a square.

Vitruvius recorded its unusual plan; the external columns were arranged only on the eastern (façade) and southern sides.

There are the Doric capitals I found at the rear of the temple.

Capital of the Temple

Capital of the Temple

In the first century CE, the temple was demolished and some of the parts were reused to construct the South-East Temple in the Athenian Agora. One of its Ionic columns is exhibited in the Stoa of Attalos (= Agora Museum) in Athens.

In the sanctuary of Athena, there is also a smaller Doric (distyle prostyle) temple (in the photos below).

Temple of Phrontis (?), Sounio

Temple of Phrontis (?), Sounio

It is considered to be dedicated to the hero Phrontis, who is a character in Odyssey of Homer, and was believed to have been buried here after his death on the ship of Menelaos. According to another theory, the temple is of Artemis, and the circular mound behind (you can somehow recognize in the photo above) is the tomb of Phrontis.
In these photos , the gray stone at the middle is the base of the cult statue.

Temple of Phrontis (?), Sounio

Temple of Phrontis (?), Sounio

Bibliography

  • Robin Barber, Greece (Blue Guide), London- N.Y. 2001 (Revised reprint of the 6th edition of 1995), p. 143.
  • Christopher Mee and Antony Spawfort, Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide Oxford/ Oxford University Press 2001, p.100.

INDEX of SOUNIO SECTION

Sounio
Temple of Poseidon
Stoa, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Fortification, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Propylon, Sanctuary of Poseidon
Sanctuary of Athena Sounias
Beaches

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