The Archaic Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

by Jessica Paga and Margaret M. Miles

Hesperia, Volume 85, Issue 4
Page(s): 657-710
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.85.4.0657
Year: 2016


The Late Archaic Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, known since Wilhelm Dörpfeld's notes published in 1884 and examined by William B. Dinsmoor Jr. in the 1960s, was the first monumental peripteral temple in Attica. Based on our fieldwork, we argue construction began as part of the Athenian response to the Battle of Marathon. The temple is notable for its early use of the 6 × 13 plan that would become so distinctive in Attic architecture. The location of Sounion as the outer gateway to the harbors of Athens and the access point for communication with the broader Aegean meant that the deme (and its cult of Poseidon) became ever more significant when the Athenian navy was expanded as part of the defense of Attica.