Aigina Goddess Aphaia

413 Words2 Pages

ne of the most delightful Doric temples of Greece, the temple of Aphaia is located atop the pine-clad Mesagro hill on the northeast end of the island, and it is encircled by excellent views of the Saronic Gulf and the surrounding area. Excavations on the site denote the use of the hill as a place of worship since the Bronze Age while the first architectural elements were erected on site in the 7th century BCE. During the initial excavations it was believed that the temple was dedicated to Zeus or to Athena. In 1901, after more extensive research Furtwangler revealed that the temple was dedicated to Aphaia a local Agenetan goddess that was similar to the Minoan deity Britomartis that was later passed to the Mycenaeans. According to Pausanias, “In Aigina as you approach the …show more content…

Running away from Minos, who fell in love with her, she flung herself into a net let down for fishing. Artemis made her into a goddess and not only the Cretans worship her, but also the Aiginetans, who say Britomartis appears to them on their island. Her title in Aigina is Aphaia and in Crete Diktynna.” (Pausanias, Guide to Greece 1: Central Greece, Translated by Peter Levi, Penguin Classics, London, 1979) Goddess Aphaia was assimilated into worship of “Athena Aphaia” in later years and the later goddess is featured prominently in the sculptures of the pediments. The focal point of the sanctuary is the temple of Aphaia and the altar opposite its east façade that is connected to the temple with an inclining ramp. A terrace masonry wall encloses the sanctuary and provides the level ground upon which the temple was built. Visitors gain entrance by the way of a modest propylaeum. Just beyond the entrance a tall column was crowned by a sphinx, which is now housed at the Aegina museum. to the right of the entrance and outside the wall of the sanctuary stood a large building, which is believed to be the residence of the priests and served administrative

Open Document