Sanctuary of Dionysos

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A small Archaic temple, on the south slope of the Akropolis, was dedicated to Dionysos Eleuthereus around 545 BC. It was probably a temple in antis with a pronaos and two columns. The temple measured 12.50 m long by 8 m wide. Its foundations were made with the blueish limestone of the Akropolis. Its euthynteria was made of Kara stone. The cella was made of poros.

During the Periclean Building Programme, steps were added to the west end of the hall. The were fitted to the temple with great care to avoid any injury to the archaic building.

The cult image housed in the temple was an archaic life-size xoanon (wooden statue). Each year, this cult image was carried to the small ancient shrine of Dionysos Eleutherios near the Akademeia.

A new chryselephantine statue of Dionysos was made by Alkamenes during the Periclean Building Programme but the place were it was housed is uncertain. A new building, not to be confused with the newer temple of Dionysos built later, may have been erected during this period (445-432 BC) for this purpose.

Later Features

The newer temple of Dionysos was not erected before the 4th century BC.

Around 330 BC during the building programme of Lykourgos, a long Doric stoa was built to the north of the archaic temple of Dionysos.

The Nikias Monument, in fact a small temple, was erected in 320/319 BC as a choregic monument near the western entrance of the Shrine of Dionysos Eleutherios.


Connolly, Peter and Hazel Dodge; The Ancient City - Life in Classical Athens & Rome, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998

Hill, Ida Thallon; The Ancient City of Athens – Its Topography and Monuments, London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1953

Hurwit, Jeffrey M.; The Acropolis in the Age of Pericles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004

Travlos, John, Pictorial dictionary of Ancient Athens, Books that matter, New York, 1971, p. 357, 537

To Do

  • Include an illustration of the wooden statue of Dionysos.
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