The Erechtheion or Erechtheum (/ɪˈrɛkθiəm, ˌɛrɪkˈθiːəm/; Ancient Greek: Ἐρέχθειον, Greek: Ερέχθειο) is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

Ἐρέχθειον ‹See Tfd›(in Greek)
Erechtheum Acropolis Athens
General information
Architectural styleIonic
LocationAthens, Greece
Current tenantsMuseum
Construction started421 BC[1]
Completed406 BC[1]
OwnerGreek government
Design and construction
ArchitectMay have been Mnesicles


Floor plan of the Erectheion temple complex on the Acropolis

The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. The sculptor and mason of the structure was Phidias, who was employed by Pericles to build both the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer's Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period, and Erechtheus and the hero Erichthonius were often syncretized. It is believed to have been a replacement for the Peisistratid temple of Athena Polias destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC.[2]

The need to preserve multiple adjacent sacred precincts likely explains the complex design. The main structure consists of up to four compartments, the largest being the east cella, with an Ionic portico on its east end. Other current thinking[3] would have the entire interior at the lower level and the East porch used for access to the great altar of Athena Polias via a balcony and stair and also as a public viewing platform.

The entire temple is on a slope, so the west and north sides are about 3 m (9 ft) lower than the south and east sides. It was built entirely of marble from Mount Pentelikon, with friezes of black limestone from Eleusis which bore sculptures executed in relief in white marble.[4] It had elaborately carved doorways and windows, and its columns were ornately decorated (far more so than is visible today); they were painted, gilded and highlighted with gilt bronze and multi-colored inset glass beads. The building is known for early examples of egg-and-dart, and guilloche ornamental moldings.[5] The Theory of Mouldings, p22, J.H. Janson 1926, has detailed drawings of some of the decorations.

Athènes Acropole Caryatides
Porch of the Caryatids

Porch of the Caryatids

On the north side, there is another large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns. The porch was built to conceal the giant 15-ft beam needed to support the southwest corner over the Kekropion, after the building was drastically reduced in size and budget following the onset of the Peloponnesian war.

Religious functions

The Erectheum was associated with some of the most ancient and holy relics of the Athenians: the Palladion, which was a xoanon (defined as a wooden effigy fallen from heaven - not man-made) of Athena Polias (Protectress of the City); the marks of Poseidon's trident and the salt water well (the "salt sea") that resulted from Poseidon's strike; the sacred olive tree that sprouted when Athena struck the rock with her spear in her successful rivalry with Poseidon for the city; the supposed burial places of the mythical kings Kekrops and Erechtheus; the sacred precincts of Kekrops' three daughters, Herse, Pandrosus and Aglaurus; and those of the tribal heroes Pandion and Boutes. An olive tree remains on the Western side of the Erechtheus, though it was planted there in modern times by Sophia of Prussia, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, in honour of the Athenians.[6] In front of the main statue, a golden lamp called "asbestos lychnia" made by the sculptor Callimachus burned continuously with its asbestos wick and was refuelled once a year.[7]

The eastern part of the building was dedicated to Athena Polias, while the western part served the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheus and held the altars of Hephaistus and Voutos, brother of Erechtheus.[8][9] According to the myth, Athena's sacred snake lived there.[9] The snake was fed honey-cakes by Canephorae, the priestesses of Athena Polias, by custom the women of the ancient family of Eteoboutadae, the supposed descendants of the hero Boutes. The snake's occasional refusal to eat the cakes was thought a disastrous omen.

Late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Erechtheion underwent extensive repairs and reformation for the first time during the 1st century B.C., after its catastrophic burning by the Roman general Sulla.[10] The intact Erechtheum was extensively described by the Roman geographer Pausanias (1.26.5 - 27.3), writing a century after it had been restored in the 1st century AD.[11] If still in use by the 4th-century, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans. The building was altered decisively during the early Byzantine period, when it was transformed into a church dedicated to the Theometor. With this alteration many architectural features of the ancient construction were lost, so that our knowledge of the interior arrangement of the building is limited.[10][12] It became a palace under Frankish rule and the residence of the Turkish commander's harem in the Ottoman period.[9][13]

Modern times

2675 - Athens - Erechtheum - Southern flank - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Nov 11 2009
South-East view of the Erechtheum

In 1800 one of the caryatids and the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature were removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and were later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon).[1][14][15] Athenian legend had it that at night the remaining five Caryatids could be heard wailing for their lost sister. Elgin attempted to remove a second Caryatid; when technical difficulties arose, he tried to have it sawn to pieces. The statue was smashed, and its fragments were left behind. It was later reconstructed haphazardly with cement and iron rods. During the Greek War of Independence the building was bombarded by the Ottomans and severely damaged,[9] the ceiling of the north porch was blown up and a large section of the lateral walls of the cella was dismantled.[16]

The Erechtheum went through a period of restoration from 1977 to 1988.[17]

Previous attempted restorations by Greece damaged the roof of the Caryatids' porch with concrete patches, along with major damage caused by pollution in Athens.[18] In 1979, the five original Caryatids were moved to the Old Acropolis Museum and replaced in situ by exact replicas. Scientists were working in 2005 to repair the damage using laser cleaning.[18]

The restoration of Erechtheion received the Europa Nostra award.[19]

Recent events

Original figures in the Acropolis Museum

One of those original six figures, removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, is now in the British Museum in London. The Acropolis Museum holds the other five figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas. The five originals that are in Athens are now being exhibited in the new Acropolis Museum, on a special balcony that allows visitors to view them from all sides. The pedestal for the Caryatid removed to London remains empty. As of 2011, they are being cleaned by a specially constructed laser beam, which removes accumulated soot and grime without harming the marble's patina.[20]

Each Caryatid is cleaned in place, with a television circuit relaying the spectacle live to museum visitors. Although of the same height and build, and similarly attired and coiffed, the six Caryatids are not the same: their faces, stance, draping, and hair are carved separately; the three on the left stand on their right knee, while the three on the right stand on their left knee. Their bulky, intricately arranged hairstyles serve the crucial purpose of providing static support to their necks, which would otherwise be the thinnest and structurally weakest part.

The Caryatids have been transferred from the Old Acropolis Museum to the New Acropolis Museum.[21] The first was carried over safely on December 9, 2007, via an elaborate system of aerial cranes.[22][23] Within the new museum, the statue was reunited with its long-missing sandalled left foot, which was identified among rubble in the 1980s. The reassembled Caryatid, along with the four others remaining in Athens, are having their decayed patina thoroughly restored by laser, and are on display in the new museum.[24] Visitors today can see this process being carried out via camera in the gallery where the Caryatids are displayed in the museum. The Acropolis Museum was awarded for its innovative program of the conservation and the restoration of the Caryatids by the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) in Vienna, with the Keck Award 2012.[25][26]


2678 - Athens - Erechtheum - Southern flank - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Nov 11 2009

Athens Erechtheum Southern flank, 2009

Erechtheion - panoramio

Erechtheion, 2014

Erechtheum Acropolis Athens evening moon

Erechtheum Acropolis Athens with evening moon, 2015

Athens D81 3736 (37922864824)

Erechtheion, 2017

Erechtheion in Spring

Erechtheion in 2017

See also


  1. ^ a b c Donald Langmead; Christine Garnaut (1 December 2001). Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats. ABC-CLIO. pp. 110–112. ISBN 978-1-57607-112-0. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  2. ^ Robert Garland (1992). Introducing New Gods: The Politics of Athenian Religion. Cornell University Press. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-8014-2766-4. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  3. ^ Lesk (2004) A Diachronic Examination of the Erechtheion and Its Reception Archived 2007-07-02 at the Wayback Machine -
  4. ^ David Watkin (July 2005). A History of Western Architecture. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-1-85669-459-9. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  5. ^ Lewis, Philippa & Gillian Darley (1986) Dictionary of Ornament, NY: Pantheon
  6. ^ Emily Mieras and Alexandra M. Tyler (1990). Let's Go: The Budget Guide to Greece. New York : St. Martin's Press. p. 50. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  7. ^ Eleftheratou, S. (2016). Acropolis museum guide. Acropolis Museum Editions. p. 258.
  8. ^ Jeffrey M. Hurwit (1999). The Athenian Acropolis: History, Mythology, and Archaeology from the Neolithic Era to the Present. CUP Archive. pp. 200–. ISBN 978-0-521-41786-0. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  10. ^ a b orbitlab. "ACROPOLIS RESTORATION SERVICE".
  11. ^ Ian Jenkins (2006). Greek Architecture And Its Sculpture. Harvard University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-674-02388-8. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  12. ^ Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism "In the Early Christian period it was converted into a church dedicated to the Theotokos (Mother of God)"
  13. ^ Acropolis Restoration Service "Among the significant points in the historical course of the Erechtheion are also its transformation into the palace of the bishopric during the Frankish domination and subsequently, during the Ottoman occupation, into a dwelling for the harem of the Turkish commander of the garrison."
  14. ^ Arthur Hamilton Smith (1892). A catalogue of archaic Greek sculpture in the British Museum. Printed by Order of the Trustees. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  15. ^ Acropolis Restoration Service "The serious crisis suffered by the monument include its plundering by Lord Elgin, whose cohorts made off with the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature and one of the Caryatids."
  16. ^ Acropolis Restoration Service "The monument suffered severe damage also during the War of Independence, when the ceiling of the north porch was blown up and a large section of the lateral walls of the cella was dismantled."
  17. ^ Hans Rupprecht Goette (13 April 2001). Athens, Attica and the Megarid. Psychology Press. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-415-24370-4. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Laser treatment used to protect Acropolis from pollution". London: Daily Mail. October 17, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  19. ^ Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism "Its restoration received the Europa Nostra award."
  20. ^ Paphitis, Nicholas (May 9, 2014). "Acropolis' famed Caryatids get "cosmetic surgery"". Yahoo!. Associated Press.
  21. ^ Robert Emmet Meagher; Elizabeth Parker Neave (22 October 2007). Ancient Greece: An Explorer's Guide. Interlink Books. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-1-56656-682-7. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Safely transferred... - News -".
  23. ^ Pegasus Interactive. "Δίπλα στην... κλεμμένη αδελφή της".
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2009-06-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ Acropolis Museum "The Acropolis Museum was awarded for this innovative program by the International Institute for Conservation (IIC) in Vienna, with the Keck Award 2012"
  26. ^ press release keck award 2012 acropolis museum


  • Charles Weller (1913) Athens and Its Monuments, Macmillan.
  • G. P. Stevens and J. M. Paton (1927) The Erechtheum.
  • I. T. Hill (1953) The Ancient City of Athens.
  • Pausanias.
  • J. J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-09662-6

External links

Coordinates: 37°58′20″N 23°43′35″E / 37.9721°N 23.7265°E

Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.

While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.

Ancient Greek architecture

The architecture of ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people (Hellenic people) whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Anatolia and Italy for a period from about 900 BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around 600 BC.Ancient Greek architecture is best known from its temples, many of which are found throughout the region, and the parthenon is a prime example of this, mostly as ruins but many substantially intact. The second important type of building that survives all over the Hellenic world is the open-air theatre, with the earliest dating from around 525-480 BC. Other architectural forms that are still in evidence are the processional gateway (propylon), the public square (agora) surrounded by storied colonnade (stoa), the town council building (bouleuterion), the public monument, the monumental tomb (mausoleum) and the stadium.

Ancient Greek architecture is distinguished by its highly formalised characteristics, both of structure and decoration. This is particularly so in the case of temples where each building appears to have been conceived as a sculptural entity within the landscape, most often raised on high ground so that the elegance of its proportions and the effects of light on its surfaces might be viewed from all angles. Nikolaus Pevsner refers to "the plastic shape of the [Greek] temple ... placed before us with a physical presence more intense, more alive than that of any later building".The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the division of architectural style into three defined orders: the Doric Order, the Ionic Order and the Corinthian Order, was to have profound effect on Western architecture of later periods. The architecture of ancient Rome grew out of that of Greece and maintained its influence in Italy unbroken until the present day. From the Renaissance, revivals of Classicism have kept alive not only the precise forms and ordered details of Greek architecture, but also its concept of architectural beauty based on balance and proportion. The successive styles of Neoclassical architecture and Greek Revival architecture followed and adapted Ancient Greek styles closely.


Arrhephoria was a feast among the Athenians, instituted in honor of Athena. The word is derived from the Greek term Ἀρρηφόρια, which is composed of ἀρρητον, "mystery", and φέρω, "I carry". This feast was also called Hersiphoria, from Herse, the daughter of Cecrops, on whose account it was established.

On the Athenian Acropolis two girls aged between seven and eleven were elected to live for a year at a time as arrhephoroi, tending the sacred olive tree and weaving, with the help of other women, the new robe for Athena. Proud parents commemorated their daughters' service by making dedications on the Acropolis. At the annual festival of the Arrhephoria the girls (according to Pausanias) placed on their heads what the priestess of Athena gives them to carry. Neither the priestess knows what it is she is giving them, nor do the girls. In the city there is a sacred precinct not far from that of Aphrodite in the Garden and through it runs a natural underground passage. Here the virgins descend. Down below they leave behind what they have brought and take something else and carry it, veiled as it is. These two virgins are discharged forthwith and others are taken up to the Acropolis in their place.Interpretation of the festival is difficult because of the lack of sources, but it is clear that the virginal arrhephoroi are chosen from the noblest families of the city and are deployed in a context of impregnation (dew), sexual power (Aphrodite and Eros), and birth (Erichthonios). The word "arrhephoros" etymologically probably means "dew carrier", which at first sight does not help. The arrhephoroi were charged with weaving the peplos (garments) for Athena. The aletrides ground the grain for Athena. The arkios were the priestesses who celebrated a rite intended to forgive an offense against Artemis. The kanephorai were the girls who carried the baskets with all of the offerings to the festival.Archaeological evidence reveals that from near the Erechtheion a secret stairway led off the Acropolis past a small rock-cut shrine of Eros and Aphrodite, near which was the precinct to which they were going. The mythical associations of the arrhephoroi are with their starting-point the Erechtheion. Kekrops, the first king of Athens, whose tomb was in the complex, had three daughters, Aglauros, Herse, and Pandrosos. The mystery revolves around innocence, obedience, and fecundity. They were given a closed basket by Athena who forbade them to open it. One night Aglauros and Herse gave in to curiosity, opened the basket, and saw Ericthonios, the mysterious child of Hephaestus. Snakes also appeared out of the basket, and in terror the two girls jumped off the Acropolis to their deaths. The sanctuary of Aglauros lies at the foot of the cliff; it may have been the precinct to which the arrhephoroi descended. Pandrosos, who did not succumb to this fatal curiosity, has a shrine next to the sacred olive tree on the Acropolis itself.

In the fifth century B.C. Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata which explained the stages of the women during this festival:

"When I was just seven, I was arrephoros, then at ten, I was aletris for the archegetis, then I carried the orange robe as arkios (bear) at Brauronia, and finally, having become a beautiful girl, I was kanephoros, with a necklace of dried figs."

These stages have certain tasks which display the ancient system that all girls must go by when reaching puberty. The stages of this "initiation" are as follows. The arrhephoroi comes first, and is a time when the girl dresses in white and begins to weave for the offering to Athena. This is an art that was frequently performed by women during the time, and therefore must be taught at a young age. The second stage is to teach the girl how to bake, specifically, how to bake bread. The third step is considered a symbol of death and resurrection. The girl must attend and participate in the festival with the older women. These stages are all tasks that the girl will use for the rest of her life, and therefore are held with high importance and expectation.

It is believed through sources that Attica was one of the first in history to have one of these festivals.Modern followers of Hellenism (religion) celebrate it 3 Skirophorion, in accordance with the Attic calendar.

Athena Promachos

The Athena Promachos (Ἀθηνᾶ Πρόμαχος "Athena who fights in the front line") was a colossal bronze statue of Athena sculpted by Pheidias, which stood between the Propylaea and the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. Athena was the tutelary deity of Athens and the goddess of wisdom and warriors. Pheidias also sculpted two other figures of Athena on the Acropolis, the huge gold and ivory ("chryselephantine") cult image of Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon and the Lemnian Athena.

The designation Athena Promachos is not attested before a dedicatory inscription of the early fourth century CE; Pausanias (1.28.2) referred to it as "the great bronze Athena" on the Acropolis.

Atlas (architecture)

In European architectural sculpture, an atlas (also known as an atlant, or atlante or atlantid; plural atlantes) is a support sculpted in the form of a man, which may take the place of a column, a pier or a pilaster. The Roman term for such a sculptural support is a telamon (plural telamones or telamons).The term atlantes is the Greek plural of the name Atlas—the Titan who was forced to hold the sky on his shoulders for eternity. The alternative term, telamones, also is derived from a later mythological hero, Telamon, one of the Argonauts, who was the father of Ajax.

The caryatid is the female precursor of this architectural form in Greece, a woman standing in the place of each column or pillar. Caryatids are found at the treasuries at Delphi and the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens for Athene. They usually are in an Ionic context and represented a ritual association with the goddesses worshiped within. The Atalante is typically life-size or larger; smaller similar figures in the decorative arts are called terms. The body of many Atalantes turns into a rectangular pillar or other architectural feature around the waist level, a feature borrowed from the term. The pose and expression of Alalantes very often show their effort to bear the heavy load of the building, which is rarely the case with terms and caryatids. The herma or herm is a classical boundary marker or wayside monument to a god which is usually a square pillar with only a carved head on top, about life-size, and male genitals at the appropriate mid-point. Figures that are rightly called Atalantes may sometimes be described as herms.

Atlantes express extreme effort in their function, heads bent forward to support the weight of the structure above them across their shoulders, forearms often lifted to provide additional support, providing an architectural motif. Atlantes and caryatids were noted by the Roman late Republican architect Vitruvius, whose description of the structures, rather than surviving examples, transmitted the idea of atlantes to the Renaissance architectural vocabulary.


A caryatid ( KARR-ee-AT-id; Greek: Καρυάτις, plural: Καρυάτιδες) is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese. Karyai had a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis in her aspect of Artemis Karyatis: "As Karyatis she rejoiced in the dances of the nut-tree village of Karyai, those Karyatides, who in their ecstatic round-dance carried on their heads baskets of live reeds, as if they were dancing plants".An atlas or telamon is a male version of a caryatid, i.e. a sculpted male statue serving as an architectural support of a column.

Chiton (costume)

A chiton (Greek: χιτών, khitōn) was a form of clothing.

There are two forms of chiton, the Doric chiton and the later Ionic chiton.

Classical Athens

The city of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, Athênai [a.tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯]; Modern Greek: Αθήναι Athine [a.ˈθ̞] or, more commonly and in singular, Αθήνα Athina [a.'θ]) during the classical period of Ancient Greece (480–323 BC) was the major urban center of the notable polis (city-state) of the same name, located in Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Isagoras. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of Lamian War). The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles.

In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then-known European continent.

Diogenes of Athens (sculptor)

Diogenes of Athens (Greek: Διογένης ὁ Ἀθηναῖος; Latin: Diogenes Atheniensis) was a sculptor who worked at Rome during the reign of Augustus.

According to Pliny, Diogenes was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa to embellish the exterior of the Pantheon. His caryatids were considered exceptionally fine, and were probably visible in the pronaos of the temple. Given Roman taste in the Augustan period, the caryatids could have been copied from the graceful female figures familiar to Diogenes at Athens. Plaster casts of the caryatids of the Erechtheion existed in Rome at the time, and were conceivably by Diogenes.

Agrippa's temple was mostly demolished after suffering two fires, and was rebuilt under Hadrian. In the 7th century, the Pantheon was converted for use as a Christian house of worship, and Diogenes' sculptures have either not survived or not been identified as such. Nothing is known for certain about his work beyond Pliny's remark, but it may have resembled fragmentary caryatids recovered from the Forum of Augustus and Hadrian's Villa. Some art historians of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Winckelmann, tentatively attributed fragments to him. Winckelmann conjectured that an atlantid (the male version of a caryatid), formerly at the Palazzo Farnese, was the work of Diogenes.

Diogenes also created sculpture for the Pantheon's pediment, of equally fine quality, but lesser known, Pliny remarks, because the structure's great height made this work difficult to see.


Egg-and-dart or egg-and-tongue is an ornamental device often carved in wood, stone, or plaster quarter-round ovolo mouldings, consisting of an egg-shaped object alternating with an element shaped like an arrow, anchor or dart. Egg-and-dart enrichment of the ovolo molding of the Ionic capital is found in ancient Greek architecture at the Erechtheion and was used by the Romans. The motif has also been common in neoclassical architecture.


Erechtheus (; Ancient Greek: Ἐρεχθεύς) in Greek mythology was the name of an archaic king of Athens, the founder of the polis and, in his role as god, attached to Poseidon, as "Poseidon Erechtheus". The mythic Erechtheus and the historical Erechtheus were fused into one character in Euripides' lost tragedy Erechtheus (423/22 BCE). The name Erichthonius is carried by a son of Erechtheus, but Plutarch conflated the two names in the myth of the begetting of Erechtheus.


In architecture the frieze is the wide central section part of an entablature and may be plain in the Ionic or Doric order, or decorated with bas-reliefs. Even when neither columns nor pilasters are expressed, on an astylar wall it lies upon the architrave ('main beam') and is capped by the moldings of the cornice. A frieze can be found on many Greek and Roman buildings, the Parthenon Frieze being the most famous, and perhaps the most elaborate. This style is typical for the Persians.

In interiors, the frieze of a room is the section of wall above the picture rail and under the crown moldings or cornice. By extension, a frieze is a long stretch of painted, sculpted or even calligraphic decoration in such a position, normally above eye-level. Frieze decorations may depict scenes in a sequence of discrete panels. The material of which the frieze is made of may be plasterwork, carved wood or other decorative medium.In an example of an architectural frieze on the façade of a building, the octagonal Tower of the Winds in the Roman agora at Athens bears relief sculptures of the eight winds on its frieze.

A pulvinated frieze (or pulvino) is convex in section. Such friezes were features of 17th-century Northern Mannerism, especially in subsidiary friezes, and much employed in interior architecture and in furniture.

The concept of a frieze has been generalized in the mathematical construction of frieze patterns.

George Niemann

George Niemann (12 July 1841, Hanover – 19 February 1912, Vienna) was a German-Austrian architect and archaeologist.

From 1860 to 1864 he studied at the Polytechnic Institute in Hanover, then relocated to Vienna, where he worked as an assistant to architect Theophil Hansen. In 1872 he was named professor of architectural theory of design and perspective at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

With Alexander Conze and Otto Benndorf, he conducted archaeological research at Samothrace (1873, 1875), and in 1881/82 with Benndorf, he worked at excavation sites in Lycia and Caria (Asia Minor). In 1884/85 he participated in Karol Lanckoroński's archaeological expedition to Asia Minor, and from 1896 to 1902 he took part in the excavations at Ephesus.Renowned as an architectural artist, he was the creator of highly regarded reconstruction drawings of numerous archaeological structures, such as; the Parthenon and Erechtheion in Athens and the Heroon of Trysa. He also produced a reconstructive drawing of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma for Theodor Wiegand and drew the Palace of Diocletian for Wilhelm von Hartel. Just prior to his death he produced a reconstruction of the Nereid Monument from Xanthos.

Ionic order

The Ionic order forms one of the three classical orders of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian. There are two lesser orders: the Tuscan (a plainer Doric), and the rich variant of Corinthian called the composite order, both added by 16th-century Italian architectural writers, based on Roman practice. Of the three canonic orders, the Ionic order has the narrowest columns.

The Ionic capital is characterized by the use of volutes. The Ionic columns normally stand on a base which separates the shaft of the column from the stylobate or platform; the cap is usually enriched with egg-and-dart.

Since Vitruvius, a female character has been ascribed to the Ionic (in contrast to the masculine Doric).

Kyriakos Pittakis

Kyriakos S. Pittakis or Pittakys (1798–1863) was a Greek archaeologist from Athens. He fought in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, besieging the Ottoman troops in the Acropolis; desperate for ammunition, the Ottomans began to dismantle sections of the Acropolis in order to recover the lead clamps which they intended to use for bullets. When Pittakis and his cohorts learned of this, they sent bullets to the opposing army, in hopes that the Acropolis would be spared such destruction.

In 1824, he left for Corfu, where he studied in the Ionian Academy. After independence, Pittakis became Greece's first General Keeper of Antiquities. From 1837 to 1840, Pittakis supervised the reassembly of the Erechtheion. Though well-intentioned, his ignorance drew criticism from architecture historians and archaeologists. Kyriakos Pittakis campaigned to collect epigraphical material in Athens, gathering inscriptions in the church of Megali Panagia, the Theseum, the Stoa of Hadrian and the Tower of the Winds. Such preservationary efforts have been considered significant contributions to Greek archaeology. He also carried out the first excavations at Mycenae in 1841. He found and restored the Lion Gate.

Museum of the Center for the Acropolis Studies

The Museum of the Center for the Acropolis Studies (Greek: Κέντρο Μελετών Ακροπόλεως) is a museum in Athens, Greece, a part of the new Acropolis Museum and its research workshops. It is housed in the Weiler Building, named after the Bavarian engineer who designed it in 1834 and constructed it in 1836.After serving as a military hospital and a gendarmes barracks, Weiler Building was remodelled from 1985 to 1987 and was converted to a museum. Its collections include casts of the Parthenon sculptures, plaster models of the Acropolis illustrating the architectural development of the monuments from the neolithic to present times, and a permanent exhibition on the works of conservation and restoration and exhibits concerning the Erechtheion and other Acropolis monuments.

Old Temple of Athena

The Old Temple of Athena was an Archaic temple located on the Acropolis of Athens between the old Parthenon and Erechtheion, built around 525-500 BC, and dedicated to Athena Polias, the patron deity of the city of Athens. It was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC, during the Destruction of Athens. It was located at the center of the Acropolis plateau, probably on the remains of a Mycenaean palace. The complex is sometimes described by the name "Dörpfeld foundations", after the archaeologist who found the location of the temple. It was referred to as "Archaios Neos" (Old temple) by the Greeks.


Pandrosos or Pandrosus (Ancient Greek: Πάνδροσος) was known in Greek myth as one of the three daughters of Kekrops, the first king of Athens, along with her sisters Aglauros and Herse. The three of them together are often referred to collectively as the Kekropidai after their father.

Peplos Kore

The Peplos Kore is a statue of a girl and one of the most well-known examples of Archaic Greek art. The 118 cm-high (46 in) high white marble statue was made around 530 BC and originally was colourfully painted. The statue was found, in three pieces, in an 1886 excavation north-west of the Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis and is now in the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

The Peplos Kore (peplos being the type of robe or shawl-like fabric draped over the figure and kore meaning a girl or young female) stands at approximately 1.18 m (3 ft 10 in) high. It is carved from fine grained Parian marble. Traces remain of the original paint.

Existent structures
Former structures

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