Abstract: The Temple of Athena at Sounion

The Temple of Athena at Sounion, in the district of Attica some 44 miles from Athens, is one of the more unusual examples of Greek architecture.  It was constructed with columns on two adjacent sides, rather than at front and back or entirely surrounding the building.  Instead of the Doric order typical of Mainland Greece, it employed the Ionic order characteristic of the Aegean Islands, and at an earlier date than the better-known temples on the Athenian Acropolis.  It thus stands as a harbinger of things to come.  Yet because of its fragmentary state and lack of thorough publication, it is not well known.  This lecture presents evidence for the building, including its remains, its reconstructed appearance, and the artistic context in which it developed.

 The temple is also important for its afterlife.  During the Roman period, it was dismantled and parts were transported to Athens, to be re-used in a new temple constructed in the Agora.  Other Attic buildings experienced the same fate.  Several were placed, as was this temple, in a prominent location along the Panathenaic Way.  This lecture will explore the possible reasons for the reuse of fifth-century architecture in the Roman period and of the Temple of Athena in particular.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

W.B. Dinsmoor, Jr.  Sounion, 2nd ed.  Athens: Lycabettus Press, 1974.

W.B. Dinsmoor, Jr.  “Anchoring Two Floating Temples,” Hesperia 51 (1982) 410-52. 

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