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The Temple of Athena Polias at Priene

a Pleiades location resource

Creators: Jackson N Miller, Anastasia Kokiousis Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Aug 13, 2018 07:55 PM History
The temple of Athena at Priene, built by the architect Pytheos, is an especially good example of the Late Classical form of the Ionic order.


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  • Classical (Greco-Roman; 550 BC-330 BC) (confident)
  • Hellenistic-Roman Early Empire (330 BC – AD 300) (confident)


The Temple of Athena, built in the mid-4th century BC of gray-blue marble, is the largest and oldest monument at Priene. By the second century BC, It housed a sacred statue of Athena; later, it was adapted to serve the cult of the Roman Emperor, and finally transformed into a church. The temple was built in the Ionic order by the architect Pytheos, and was dedicated by Alexander the Great, who paid for part or all of its construction, in 334 BC. A marble inscription, now found in the British museum, which said: “King Alexander dedicated the temple to Athena Polias.” Pytheos followed a rigorous system of proportions, and some architectural graffiti found on the blocks of the temple may be planning sketches. The temple stood on a platform above a high terrace wall with a stoa behind it; it had 6 columns on the facade, 10 on each of the sides, and a rear porch. The ceiling of the peristyle featured coffers carved with elaborate mythological scenes.