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Photographer's Note

Click here or on the image to see the large version.

My earlier post was shot near this temple, turning my back to it.

While the Stoa of Attalos is larger, the Temple of Hephaestus is the most impressive construction of the Ancient Agora of Athens, imposing in size, elegance and position, on the top of a verdant gentle mound. It is said to be the best preserved ancient Greek temple, in part thank's to have been used as a church from the 7th to the 19th century.

The construction of the temple, on the site of an earlier small sanctuary destroyed by the Persians some decades earlier, began in 449 BC, two years before the Parthenon, but it wasn't finished until 415 BC, 17 years after the the Parthenon, was done, because much of the funds and workers were diverted to the latter.

The full name of the monument is Temple of Hephaestus and Athena Ergane, but it is also known as Hephaisteion, Theseion and Temple of Theseus. Hephaestus was the Greek god of metal working, while Athena Ergane was the title of the Athena as patron of craftsmen. Athena is more usually known as the goddess of wisdom and reason, but she had other facets, each one with its own epithet (for instance, Athena Parthenos, the goddes of virginity, to whom the Parthenon was consecrated). It made sense consecrating a temple to both of those deities, as they were boss patrons of artisans, and archaeological excavations in the area indicate that there were many potter and metal workshops in its neighbourhood. On the other hand, I wonder if Athena liked to share the temple with Hephaestus, who once tried to rape her - the story is told in the legend of Erechtheus. This figure I mentioned in the note of my post of the Erectheion, was born from the semem of the ejaculation Hephaestus had during the frustated rape - the semem fell on the earth and its goddess, Gaia, got pregnant. Then, the baby was reared by Athena and later became one of the first kings of Athens.

The association of the name of Theseus to the temple comes from the assumption (wrong, according to many) that the remains of this hero who was another early mythological king of Athens were housed in the temple. The whole area of the Ancient Agora is officially named after him the Park of Theseus.

The photo is a stitch of 3 vertical shots.

WS #1 - Another perspective from much the same place, a stitch of 2 vertical shots.

WS #2 - Frontal view of the temple from below

Location of the POV (latitude, longitude): 37.97531,23.72161

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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