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Temple Of Poseidon
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rchaeological finds on the site date from as early as 700 BC. Herodotus tells us that in the sixth century BC, the Athenians celebrated a quadrennial festival at Sounion, which involved Athens' leaders sailing to the cape in a sacred boat.
The original, Archaic Period temple of Poseidon on the site, which was built of tufa, was probably destroyed in 480 BC by Persian troops during shahanshah Xerxes I's invasion of Greece (the second Greco-Persian War). Although there is no direct evidence for Sounion, Xerxes certainly had the temple of Athena, and everything else, on the Acropolis of Athens razed as punishment for the Athenians' defiance. After they defeated Xerxes in the naval Battle of Salamis, the Athenians placed an entire enemy trireme (warship with three banks of oars) at Sounion as a trophy dedicated to Poseidon.
The later temple at Sounion, whose columns still stand today, was probably built in ca. 440 BC. This was during the ascendancy of Athenian statesman Pericles, who also rebuilt the Parthenon in Athens.
In 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War against the Spartans, the Athenians fortified the site with a wall and towers, to prevent it from falling into Spartan hands. This would have threatened Athens' seaborne grain supply route from Euboea. Athens' supply situation had become critical, since the city's land supply - lines had been cut by the Spartan fortification of Deceleia, in north Attica. However, not long after, the Sounion fortress was seized from the Athenians by a force of rebel slaves from the nearby silver mines of Laurium.
July 11th, 2012
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