Erectheion, Athens

Erectheion, Athens


Erechtheum
421BC to 405BC

” The most exceptional Ionic building on the Acropolis is the enigmatic Erechtheum, to the north of the Parthenon. Built about 420 BC, the temple was regarded with special veneration. Its site was particularly sacred, for it included the tomb of Cecrops, the legendary founder of Athens, the rock that preserved the mark of Poseidon ‘s trident, and the spring that arose from it. In a walled area just to the west of the temple stood the sacred olive tree of Athena. The building ‘s complexity of plans and levels can be partly understood from this complicated archaeology, as well as from its having housed not only a shrine to Athena Polias, but also altars to Poseidon, god of the sea; Hephaestus, god of fire; Erechtheus, a mythical king of Athens, who had battled unsuccessfully with the sea god; and Butes, brother of Erechtheus and priest to Athena and Poseidon. Moreover, spoils from the Persians were kept in the temple, as well as the famous golden lamp of Callimachus, which burnt for a year without refilling and had a chimney in the form of a palm tree.”

� Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p 94

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