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Notes on the Geography of Greece: Sounion

An hour's drive south of Athens--half that from the airport--Poseidon's Temple at Sounion rises 200 feet above the sea on a dramatic bluff.

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Greece: Sounion picture 1

Looking south to the temple from across a bay; on the other side of the hill is the open Mediterranean.

Greece: Sounion picture 2

Another angle.

Greece: Sounion picture 3

Work began about 500 B.C. but the Persians in 480 destroyed what they found. The temple was rebuilt under Pericles around 440, apparently under the direction of the same architect who had designed the Temple of Hephaestus in the Athenian agora. The temple here, which measures 44 by 103 feet and is wrapped by a colonnade (6 by 13, as per the 2n+1 formula), is oriented to the east so sun could shine on the god's statue.

Greece: Sounion picture 4

The unusally slender columns have only 16 flutes instead of the usual 20. They are not reassemblies, however: they're standing now as ever, though the solid wall behind them is a partial reconstruction of the sanctuary.

Greece: Sounion picture 5

What would happen if you rolled a column downhill? It's not an idle question.

Greece: Sounion picture 6

See?


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