The temple stands on the Cape Sounio, about 70 km from Athens.
The photo below is not really good as it was taken from the bus, but it shows well the particular position of the temple.
The temple was surrounded by the fortification wall and the site functioned also as the fortification guarding the Saronic Gulf.
The dedication of the temple to Poseidon is known thanks to an inscription.
The temple is Doric, and the material is gray-veined local marble from Agriléza, about 5 km from here. It was constructed at the middle of the fifth century BCE, and there are some important similarities with the Hephaisteion in Athens and the temple of Nemesis in Rhamnous.
The sculpted friezes and metopes are not extant on site. Some parts of the friezes are housed in the museum of Lavrio. They are badly eroded, but seem to depict the battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, the Gigantomachia, and exploits of Theseus, just as in the Hephaisteion.
The construction work itself, however, started earlier; the lower foundation of the temple, made of poros stone, dates back to the beginning of the fifth century BCE. In the photo above, the lowest part with not-smooth surface belong to this period. The work was interrupted probably by the Persian War.
According to another theory, however, there was an earlier temple of poros stone constructed at the late sixth century, but, as it was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BCE, a new one was built on the old foundation.
The photo below shows the same part as in the photo above but from the different angle.
The number of the columns was originally 34 (6 by 13). The stylobate is 31.1m. by 13.4m. The flutes of the column are 16, and not 20 as normaly are.
As you see in the photo below and in the first photo, the ground where the temple stands is not flat.
- 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, 96-100.
INDEX of SOUNIO SECTION