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Form: Erechtheion
The original sanctuary of the tutelary deities of Athens, Athene Pollas, (the goddess of the city) Poseidon, and Erechtheus. It was situated on the Acropolis. The old temple, said to have been built by Erechtheus, was burnt by the Persians in 480 B.C. The restoration was perhaps begun as far back as the time of Pericles, but, according to the testimony of an inscription in the British Museum (no. XXXXV), was not quite finished in 409. The new temple was, even in antiquity, admired as one of the most beautiful and perfect works of the Attic-Ionic style. It was 65 feet long and nearly 36 broad; and was divided into two main parts. Entering through the eastern portico of six Ionic pillars, one came into the cella of Athene Pollias, with an image of the goddess, and a lamp that was always kept burning. To the solid wall at the back was attached the Erechtheum proper. Here were three altars, one common to Poseidon and Erechtheus, the other to Hephaestus and the hero Butes. Connected with this, by three doors, was a small front-chamber, with seven half columns adorning the western wall, and three windows between them. This chamber was approached through a hall attached to the north side of the temple, adorned with seven Ionic columns in front, and one on each side. Under this was a cleft in the rock, said to have been made by the stroke of Poseidon's trident during his contest with Athene for the possession of the Acropolis. Corresponding to this on the south side was a small hall, supported not by pillars, but by caryatides. This was called the Hall of Core, and it probably contained the tomb of Cecrops. From it a step led down to a court, once walled round, in which were the Pandroseum (see PANDROSOS), the sacred olive tree of Athene, and the altar of Zeus Herkeios. On the east side, in front of the temple of Athene Polias, stood the altar on which the great hecatomb was offered at the Panathenaea. (See plan of ACROPLIS.)
Type: Standard
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