Sounio, a legendary place in Athens Greece

 

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Students' work on presenting Sounio

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SOUNIO SOUNIO, GREECE

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Cape Sounion is a promontory located 69 kilometres (43 mi) south-southeast of Athens, at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula in Greece.

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Cape Sounion is noted as the site of ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea. The ruins bear the deeply engraved name of English Romantic poet Lord Byron.

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● According to Greek Mythology, Cape Sounion is the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens, leapt to his death off the cliff, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea. ● 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.

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● In a maritime country like Greece, the god of the sea occupied a high position in the divine hierarchy. In power, Poseidon was considered second only to Zeus (Jupiter), the supreme god himself. His implacable wrath, manifested in the form of storms, was greatly feared by all mariners. In an age without mechanical power, storms very frequently resulted in shipwrecks and drownings. ● The temple at Cape Sounion, Attica, therefore, was a venue where mariners, and also entire cities or states, could propitiate Poseidon by making animal sacrifice or leaving gifts.

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At the centre of the temple colonnade would have been the hall of worship (naos), a windowless rectangular room, similar to the partly intact hall at the Temple of Hephaestus. It would have contained, at one end facing the entrance, the cult image, a colossal, ceiling-height (6 metres (20 ft)) bronze statue of Poseidon.[11] Probably covered in gold leaf, it may have resembled a contemporary representation of the god, appropriately found in a shipwreck, shown in the figure above. Poseidon was usually portrayed carrying a trident, the weapon he supposedly used to stir up storms. On the longest day of the year, the sun sets exactly in the middle of the caldera of the island of Patroklou, the extinct volcano that lies offshore, suggesting astrological significance for the siting of the temple. The temple of Poseidon was destroyed in 399 by Emperor Arcadius.

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Apart from its world-renowned archaeological site, Sounion is also an upscale summer home location for Athenians. Construction flourished between the 1960s and 1970s, with massive yet minimal villas and condos erected. Sounion is one of the most expensive areas in Greece, with the value of some homes exceeding twenty million euros.

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Maria Lavranou Ifigeneia Nikitaidou Joanna Pappa

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