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Apollo Circular Altar
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The altar was composed of rubble set in mud and was roughly circular in shape. The area within and all around the altar was filled with an enormous quantity of ash and the charred bones of sacrificed sheep and goats. Numerous small terracota votive offerings were found in and around the altar, including fragments of bulls with snakes twisting around their legs, a small silver bull as well as mare figurines wearing bull masks.
There was an abundance of Cypro-Archaic pottery datable to about 600 B.C., but one fragmentary vessel of Red Polished I ware (2300-2200 B.C.) indicates the earliest possible use of the site.
Hylates was a god worshipped on the island of Cyprus who was later likened to the Greek God Apollo. His name probably derives from ὑλακτέω [ʰylakt�ō] �barking� or ὕλη [ʰ�lē] �forest�, which is why Lebek calls him Apollo of the woods. He was worshipped from the 3rd century BC until the 3rd century AD.
The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates
The sanctuary is located about 2,5 kilometres west of the ancient town of Kourion along the road which leads to Pafos. It was one of the main religious centres of ancient Cyprus, where Apollo was worshipped as god of the woodlands. It seems that the worship of Apollo on this site began as early as the 8th century B.C. the Roman period were buried in the Votive Pit. A long street running from south to north leads to the Temple of Apollo Hylates, which was built in the Late Classical or Early Hellenistic period on the ruins of the Archaic temple. In the 1st century A.D. the temple was rebuilt with a different architectural style. A small building south of the Precinct may have been a priest�s house. Along the external east side of the walls are the Palaestra where athletes once exercised and played games, and the Baths.
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December 27th, 2012
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