The Temple of Athena

Where you are now standing there once lay the forecourt of the temple of Athena belonging to the Greek and Roman city of Ilion. Looking down you can see in the center of the mound a wide area at lower level. This was excavated by Schliemann and Dörpfeld. The marble architectural fragments lying there originally belonged to the temple of Athena. The temple, whose base measured 36mx16m, was surrounded by a Doric colonnade supporting a coffered ceiling. Outside, on the entablature, were metopes (reliefs) the most famous of which shows Apollo/Helios. This is now displayed in Berlin.

It is thought that the temple was built by Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great’s successors, around 300 BCE. It was restored in Roman times, probably by order of the Emperor Augustus (31 BCE-CE 14). In Greek and Roman times the temple was the focal point of a great annual festival in honour of the goddess Athena. This festival was marked by sacrifices and athletic contest.