Sounion

Cape Sounion, with its famous temple dedicated to the god Poseidon, is one of the most beautiful natural areas of Attica and one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Greece. In ancient times it was called Sounias Akra and was connected with the legends of Athens and the Aegean. Cape Sounion is the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens, allegedly jumped off the cliff, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea. It is also referred to as a sacred place in the Homeric epics. The site was chosen for its direct relationship with the sea since this was the last piece of land seen by ships departing from Athens and the first on returning from their voyage.

Coordinates: 37° 39′ 2.06″ N, 24° 1′ 28.51″ E

The site of Sounion was inhabited since prehistoric times. From the 8th century BC, however, the cult of Poseidon and Athena started to develop, but the sanctuaries were destroyed in 480 BC by Persian troops during Xerxes I’s invasion of Greece. In the mid-5th century BC, by order of Pericles, the Temple of Poseidon was rebuilt, the ruins of which now dominate the cape’s summit with its 16 standing columns partly restored.

The sacred precinct (temenos) of Poseidon was entered through a monumental gateway of poros and marble, to the north of the temple, the propylaea. Beyond, along the north side of the temenos, runs a stoa, some 40m long by 9m wide, divided into two aisles by an internal colonnade of six columns. A second smaller stoa occupied the west side of the precinct. The stoas served as accommodation for visitors to the sanctuary.

The temple of Poseidon is a Doric peripteral temple with six columns on the narrow sides and thirteen on the long ones, made of locally quarried white marble. At the centre of the temple would have been the hall of worship (naos), a windowless rectangular room, similar to the partly intact hall at the Temple of Hephaistos in Athens (which is considered to be the work by the same architect). It would have housed a colossal bronze statue of Poseidon.

In the 19th century, Sounion was a popular destination for tourists, many of whom have engraved their names on the ruins of the temple of Poseidon. The most famous signature is that of the Romantic poet George Lord Byron.

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Temple of Poseidon, built around 444 – 440 BC, Cape Sounion
View of the Temple of Poseidon from the south.
The propylaea, a monumental gateway of poros and marble, to the north of the temple, through which the sacred precinct of Poseidon was entered, Cape Sounion, Greece
The propylaea, a monumental gateway of poros and marble, to the north of the temple, through which the sacred precinct of Poseidon was entered.
The temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion from the northeast, (built circa 440 BC), Cape Sounion, Greece
The temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion from the northeast.
The north stoa, 40 m. long by 9 m. wide, divided into two aisles by an internal colonnade of six smooth columns, Cape Sounion, Greece
The north stoa, 40m long by 9m wide, divided into two aisles by an internal colonnade of six smooth columns.
The temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, north side colonnade, (built circa 440 BC), Cape Sounion, Greece
The temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, north side colonnade.

Temple of Poseidon, 19th century Graffiti on the left pillar, Cape Sounion, Greece
Temple of Poseidon, 19th century Graffiti on the left pillar.

“Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep,
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
There, swanlike, let me sing and die:
A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine–
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!”

The Isles of Greece by Lord Byron (1788-1824)

The temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion from the north, (built circa 440 BC), Cape Sounion, Greece
View of the temple of Poseidon from the north.

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Euromos

Euromos was an ancient city located near in the province of Caria. It is first mentioned in the 5th century BC when it was known as Kyromos. The city was subdued by nearby Mylasa during the reign of King Mausolus of Halicarnassus in the 4th century BC but regained some autonomy during the Roman rule. Its ruins are located approximately 4 km southeast of Selimiye and 12 km northwest of Milas in the Muğla Province of Turkey.

Coordinates: 37° 22′ 27″ N, 27° 40′ 31″ E

Euromos

Euromos stood on flat ground which did not provide a natural defence so the city was protected by thick walls of ashlar masonry with towers at intervals. On the western slope of the hill, are the remains of a small theatre facing west. Only a few rows of seats and some fragments of the stage building have been preserved. But the most striking monument is the Temple of Zeus Lepsinos just outside the city wall, one of the best-preserved temples in Asia Minor.

The temple was built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD on the site of an earlier Carian temple (the temenos itself dates back to as early as the 6th century BC). However, the temple was never entirely completed (some of the standing columns were never fluted), probably due to the economic crisis that hit the ancient city 1,800 years ago. Wealthy citizens stepped forward with financial support and had their names engraved on plaques on some of the columns, but this support was insufficient. An inscription says that a physician named Menecrates donated five of the 32 columns of this temple while another inscription mentions that a magistrate named Leo Quintus donated another seven.

Recent excavations have brought to light the remains of an altar and a decree of Hellenistic date revealing that the temple was dedicated to Zeus Lepsynos and was not the first temple erected to him at Euromos.

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Temple of Zeus Lepsynus, built on the site of an earlier Carian temple, 2nd century AD (probably during the reign of the emperor Hadrian), Euromos, Turkey
The Temple of Zeus Lepsynos had a peristyle of 11 by 6 columns in the Corinthian order, 16 of which are standing complete with architrave.
Not all the columns were fluted so the construction of the temple was probably never completed.
Twelve columns have inscriptions indicating the donor who paid for their execution.
Inscription on a flutted columns of the Temple of Zeus Lepsynus.
Carving of a labrys (double-bitted axe), Zeus’ symbol, flanked by two ears.

The Temple of Zeus Lepsynus.

The Theatre of Euromos.

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