Temple of Hephaestos
formerly thought to be the Temple of Thesseus
The temple disposed of a pronaos (anteroom) and an opisthodomos (back section), both distyle (two-columned) in antis. On the exterior it was surrounded by a Doric colonnade having six columns on the narrow sides and thirteen columns on the longer sides. The entire building, from the crepis (stone base) to the roof, was made of marble produced in the quarries of Mt. Penteli in Attica, while the architectural sculptures that adorned the temple were of marble produced in the quarries on the island of Paros. On the interior of the cella was a two-part colonnade forming the letter Π and at the far end was a pedestal, that supported the bronze ceremonial statues of Hephaestus and Athena, created by the sculptor Alkamenis; according to the traveler and geographer Pausanias, they were probably created between 421 and 415 BC. The lavish sculptural decoration of the temple featured highly interesting metopes that adorned the east and the west side of the external colonnade. The east side numbered ten metopes that were visible from the Agora: they depicted nine of the feats of Hercules.
Furthermore, on the north and the south side are depicted four of the feats of Theseus, which probably were the reason why the people named this temple "Thession". The frieze does not run across all four sides of the cella, but only the across the pronaos and the opisthodomos. The pronaos features the victorious struggle of Thesseus against the claimers of the throne, who were the fifty sons of Pallas; six gods also participate into the fight. The opisthodomos depicts the fight of the Centaurs narrated on the wall which is against the cella. Notable sculptural representations also adorned the pediments of the temple. The west pediment depicted the fight of the Centaurs and the east pediment the reception of Hercules on Mt. Olympus or the birth of goddess Athena. Several among these sculptures inspired statues that were found in the surroundings of the temple.
He is the patron god of both smiths and weavers. He is kind and peace loving. His wife is Aphrodite. Unlike most divine husbands, he was rarely ever licentious. Symbols include fire, anvil, ax, donkey, hammer, tongs, and quail. His Latin name, Vulcan, gave us the word "volcano," since Hephaestos used a volcano as his forge.
|Athens Photography Tour |
Discover hidden treasures of Ancient Greece in an Athens Photo Tour, by walking the city streets. You will learn practical pro tips you can use straight away. We will point out details invisible to the untrained eye, reveal the best points on the route of your interest and identify photo opportunities for creative shots.