Theseion by elven21, 2007. The temple of Hephaistos in Athens, Autumn 2007.

Some archaeological comments:

The site of the ancient Agora in Athens is dominated by the “Theseion” ( Θησείον ). This lovely marble temple, built atop the hill of Agoraios Kolonos, is the best-preserved temple of Hellenic antiquity and though smaller than the Parthenon rivals it in beauty and architectural perfection. The name Theseion had been given long ago to the temple (because of the “Exploits of Theseus” that are depicted on the metopes of the long north and south sides), although it is now known to be a misnomer, since the temple was in fact dedicated to the gods Hephaistos and Athena. Traces of foundries and workshops have been found on the slopes of the hill and Hephaistos was patron god of smiths and metalworkers, while Athena was patron of craftsmen and particularly potters (in Greek, kerameis), after whom the surrounding area was named Kerameikos ( “ Potters’ Quarter ” ).

Building of the “Hephaisteion” ( Ηφαιστείον ) began in the mid-fifth century BC and was completed around 420 BC. The temple is in the Doric order, peripteral, with six columns front and back and 13 on the long side, 13,80 x 31,80 metres. The columns display a slight entasis and incline towards the centre, as happens on the Parthenon. The cella housed statues of Hephaistos and Athena, works of the sculptor Alkamenes. In Christian times the temple was converted into a church of St. Georgios, which was used for worship until 1833, when it was declared a national monument.


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