Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The temple stands on the Cape Sounio, about 70 km from Athens.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

The photo below is not really good as it was taken from the bus, but it shows well the particular position of the temple.

Temple on the Cliff

Temple on the Cliff

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.

Columns of the Temple, Sounio

Columns of the Temple, Sounio

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.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

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.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

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.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

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.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

As you see in the photo below and in the first photo, the ground where the temple stands is not flat.

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio

Temple of Poseidon, 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, 96-100.

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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