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Encyclopedia > Sunium
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Cape Sounion, looking out to the Aegean islands

The cape of Sounion or Sounio, previously known as Sunium (in ancient Greek Σούνιον) is located 65 kilometres south-east of Athens, in Attica.


The first mention of the cape in ancient literature is in the Odyssey (III, 278), which speaks about "holy Sunium, the headland of Athens" (Σούνιον ἱρὸν (...) ἄκρον Ἀθηνέων).


Fugitive slaves, coming from the mines of Laurium, took refuge here in the 8th century BC. The cape was strengthened in 413 BC to protect the export of corn out of Athens during the Peloponnesian War.


Cape Sounion is especially famous for the ruins of two temples which overlook the sea, one dedicated to Athena, and the other with Poseidon.


Temple of Poseidon

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The temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

Ruins of the temple of Poseidon, constructed in the 5th century BC over the ruins of a temple constructed in the Archaic Period, are perched above the sea at a height of almost 60 metres. The columns of the temple are 6.10 metres high, with a diameter of 1 metre at the base and 79 centimetres at the top. Their grooves, fewer than usual (16 instead of 20), were intended to resist the weathering action of the sea air. The stone was quarried at nearby Agrileza. The English poet Lord Byron carved his name onto one of the columns.


External link

  • Sanctuary of Poseidon and Athena at Sounion (http://www.culture.gr/2/21/211/21102a/e211ba07.html) - Greek Ministry of Culture

  Results from FactBites:
 
goGreece.com: City Guide (526 words)
In 412 BC, Sunium was fortified and the wall included the sanctuary of Poseidon.
According to Homer, Phrontis, the helmsman of King Menelaus, was killed by Apollo and buried in the area.
Sunium, with its marvellous view and the glorious sunsets which can be seen here, has long attracted travellers from all over the world.
Parker3 (443 words)
Phrontis, Menelaus' steersman in the Odyssey, died and was buried at Sunium.
There is evidence of a real cult in Sunium, where evidence has been found from a plaque showing a ship and helmsman.
This could be an allusion to the cult of Phrontis at Sunium.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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