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Sanctuary of Asklepios at Athens

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Denitsa Dzhigova Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Feb 22, 2024 02:44 PM History
A major sanctuary complex located west of the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus on the south slope of the Athenian Acropolis.

https://pleiades.stoa.org/places/954340915

37.97085785, 23.7263419
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sanctuary (religious center), fountain, stoa, architectural complex

Pleiades

The south slope of the Acropolis between the theater of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus forms a terrace, which was accessible through the Peripatos from Dionysus theater only. This terrace is divided into three terraces, whose height level rises from the east to the west: The westernmost of which is not related to the Sanctuary of Asclepius. The numerous votive offerings and votive inscriptions of Asclepius and Hygeia guarantee the use of the area as a sanctuary of a healing god. The ionic hall on the north side of the central terrace has been interpreted by R. Martin and H. Metzger as Abaton. This building, used for the ritual of incubation, is essential for the establishment of an Asclepeion. The existence of the Abaton thus became the main argument of the thesis that the original foundation of Asclepius sanctuary took place on the central terrace. As the east terrace is seen as a closed topographical unit other modern researchers represent more the thesis that the remains of all phases of the sanctuary are since its inception focused on the East Terrace.

The main sources about the sanctuary are the stele of Telemachos, the decree of Diokles, and a temple inventory dated around 350 BC. that represents a terminus ante quem for the construction of the temple. The inscription of the stele speaks of a sanctuary with temples in the different stages of the construction. The text of the decree describes the original definition of the temenos by Telemachos. To this initial phase certainly belonged the sanctuary Peribolos, a Propylon, the source system, the Tholos, and the Bothros on the northwest side of the East Terrace. The epigraphic and literary sources confirm the existence of an early temple. The temple with an altar was very likely built with the foundation of the sanctuary at the end of the 5th century BC. and remodeled later in the 4th century BC. The remains of the ancient temple are found among the early Christian basilica that dominated the East terrace. Since the individual major structures such as the temple and the altar are still practically unpublished, research into the individual phases falls pretty hard.


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Denitsa Dzhigova, Brady Kiesling, Sean Gillies, Chris de Lisle, Jeffrey Becker, Tom Elliott, and Gabriel Moss, 'Sanctuary of Asklepios at Athens: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2024 <https://pleiades.stoa.org/places/954340915> [accessed: 25 February 2024]

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