Location: West Street, next to the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios. No 4 in the Agora plan of the Guide: Μc Camp II, J., The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations, Excavations of the Athenian Agora, Picture Book no 16, American School of Classical Studies (Princeton 2003), p. 2 and pp. 24-25.
Date of construction: 3rd quarter of the 4th cent. BC. Travlos correlates its construction with the period of Lycurgus’ ascendancy (338-326 BC)
Periods of Use: Hellenistic, Roman.
The small Temple of Apollo Patroos was erected in the 3rd quarter of the 4th cent. BC, in the west side of the Agora, next to the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios. It housed an adorational statue of Apollo Alexikakos (=Averter of Evil), a work of Kalamis, as well as other renowned sculptures.
History of the research
The temple was excavated in 1895-1896 by the German Archaeological Institute. In 1907, the excavation was resumed in the south part by the Athenian Archaeological Society, resulting in the discovery of the colossal adorational statue. The American School of Classical Studies completed the excavation of the building and its surrounding area in 1931-1935. This is the time of the temple’s identification based on Pausanias’ description (1.3.4).
Description of the ruins
Some insubstantial ruins survive beneath the 4th cent. BC temple, thought to belong to a temple dedicated to the same divinity. This building culminated in an arch and based on the pottery unearthed on the site it is dated to the mid-6th cent. BC. A casting pit has been associated with this building, were fragments of a mold for a half life-size kouros (1.10m) have been unearthed. Perhaps this statue stood on the small poros pedestal discovered inside the temple.
This building was probably destroyed in 480/479 BC. The excavator identified it with the Archaic temple of Apollo Patroos and considered the kouros casted here an adorational statue.
In the next phase, from 480 BC to the third quarter of the 4th cent. BC, this space must have contained only the ruins of the earlier temple, or it was cleared and unoccupied by structures. Poros stone benches were constructed during this period on the bedrock of Agoraios Kolonos hill, obviously these we used as seats by the spectators of the theatrical events. Thompson thought that during this period, or at some point after 426 BC, an open air shrine stood somewhere in the site later taken up by the temple, a shrine which housed the statue of Apollo Alexikakos, a work of Kalamis.
This view has been recently challenged by Ch.W. Hedrick Jr, who thinks the earlier building is unrelated in terms of its use to its successor. If we accept this view, then the hypothetical open air shrine is not necessary.
Thompson designated the 4th cent. BC temple ‘Temple III’. The foundations survive almost complete. These comprise only a series of red conglomerate blocks forming the euthenteria and the toichobate. In the northernmost section, where the ground level subsides, there is a series of large rough Acropolis limestone blocks. Smaller pebbles were set between them. The foundations of the pronaos consist of large conglomerate blocks (1.35 × 0.65 × 0.40m), which in the northeast corner comprise 4 layers. The pronaos’ euthenteria survives only at the northern part. It is made up of irregularly shaped blocks of hard grey Piraeus limestone, measuring 0.40m in height and between 0.665 and 1.30m in width, joined with clamps (T-shaped, while some are hook-shaped). Save few blocks -in secondary use- from the two lower layers and temple’s stylobate (of Hymettian marble), nothing else survives. The lower layer recedes with respect to the euthenteria by 0.064m on the sides and by 0.058m on the façade. The second layer, 0.226m in height, stood taller than the blocks of the first only by 0.01m.
When Temple ΙΙ (Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria) was erected, the protruding edges of the foundation blocks were hewn off approximately to the height of the euthenteria.
Between the area surrounding the temple’s cella and the corresponding one around the Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria there is a ground level differential of approx. 1m. The area in front of the pronaos is on the same level with the one in front of the aforementioned temple. The space amid the two temples was covered with earth held in its place by a low limestone retaining wall, stretching between the Temple of Apollo and the northern wall of the Temple of Zeus and Athena.
Some blocks from the superstructure survive in their place, north of the main, east, entrance, and east of the north, secondary entrance. Acropolis limestone as well as creamy limestone from the Karas area was used, while in the interior the blocks were faced with stucco. The east wall was 0.70m thick. Its lower section, however, north of the door, and possibly to the south as well, was twice as thick, obviously because this was where the two statues of Apollo by Kalamis and Leochares were placed; Pausanias described these as being situated “before the Temple” (pro tou naou). Based on this phrase Thompson places these statues in the pronaos.
A part of the threshold of the main entrance, made up of Hymettian marble, was found in the Metroon. Judging from the circular traces preserved on the threshold, there was a small and a larger door.
Building’s plan
The temple (Temple ΙΙΙ) is a structure of modest dimensions, 10 × 16.5m approx. According to Thompson and Travlos, on its south side it was a tetrastyle in antis. Mc Camp Jr, the director of the excavation, believes that it featured 6 columns along its façade (prostyle temple), as suggested earlier by ο Dörpfeld. Recent excavations (Knell) have confirmed Dörpfeld’s view. In fact, the temple has the exact same dimensions with the east prostasis of the Erechtheion, which was undoubtedly used as a model for the Temple of Apollo. According to Thompson, the temple was of the Ionic order. The intercolumniation was 1.914m, while the bases of the columns had a diameter of 0.58m.
A cella is added to the pronaos, with internal dimensions of 8.64 × 9.285m. At the rear section of the cella there survive traces from the base of the Apollo statue: this consists in two large poros slabs, which, together with two more non-extant ones, supported the base of the devotional statue of Apollo Patroos. The floor was made of compacted earth.
The building’s walls were approx. 0.70m thick. North of the entrance, some blocks of the cella’s east wall survive to a height of 0.91m. In the interior of the pronaos, the foundations indicate that on either side of the door there was an internal ‘bench’ which served as a pedestal for statues. The thickness of the wall at that point will have been 1.39m.
The width of the door will have been 2.18m, supposing that it was situated in the centre of the cella’s eastern wall. Its actual opening, though, was only 1.74m.
The ground level of the cella is slightly lower than that of the north room, which is almost square and measures 4.40 (N-S) × 4.56m (E-W) on the inside. There is a door in the cella’s north wall, the only entrance to the north room, which must have been used as a storeroom or treasury for the temple. This door’s opening will have measured 1.24m.
This structure is contemporary to the cella and the pronaos. This is proven by its foundation which is identical to that of the cella’s north part, to which it is joined.
Building’s use
Pausanias’ description of the building is important, as it mentions the works of art placed in front of and inside the temple. The devotional statue was that of Euphranor which is identified with the large dressed headless statue exhibited in the Agora Museum. It survives to a height of 2.54 m. The god was depicted dressed in a sumptuous tunic and holding a lyre.
In front of the cella, possibly in the pronaos, according to the excavator, there stood two statues of Apollo: one by Leochares (1st half of the 4th century BC) and the statue of Apollo Alexikakos by Kalamis, which was dedicated after the end of pestilence of 429-426 BC, thought to have been ended by the god. Apollo is called Patroos (=the Father), because of a legend which made him father of Ion, founder of the Ionian race to which the Athenians belonged.
DÖRPFELD, W., ‘Funde’, Athenische Mitteilungen 21 (1896), pp. 107-109.
DÖRPFELD, W., ‘Funde’, Athenische Mitteilungen 22 (1897), p. 225.
HEDRICK Ch.W. Jr, ‘The Temple and Cult of Apollo Patroos in Athens’, American Journal of Archaeology 92 (1988), pp. 185-210.
ΚΑΒΒΑΔΙΑΣ, Π., «Έκθεσις των πεπραγμένων», Πρακτικά 1907, pp. 54-57.
KNELL, H., Athen im 4. Jahrhundert v. Chr. Eine Stadt verändert ihr Gesicht. Archäologish-kulturgeschichtliche Betrachtungen (Darmstad 2000), p. 84, fig. 53, 54.
Mc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora: A Guide to the Excavation and Museum4 (Αθήνα 1990), pp. 74-77.
Μc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations, Excavations of the Athenian Agora, Picture Book no 16, American School of Classical Studies (Princeton 2003), p. 10.
Mc CAMP II, J., Η Αρχαία Αγορά της Αθήνας. Οι ανασκαφές στην καρδιά της κλασικής πόλης2 (Αθήνα 2004), pp. 191-193.
SHEAR, T.L., ‘The Campaign of 1934’, Hesperia 4 (1935), pp. 352-354.
THOMPSON, H.A., ‘Buildings on the West Side of the Athenian Agora’, Hesperia 6 (1937), pp. 1-222 (esp. pp. 77-111).
THOMPSON, H.A. – WYCHERLEY, R., The Agora of Athens. The American Excavations in the Athenian Agora, vol. XIV, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (Princeton 1972), pp. 136-139.
TRAVLOS, J., Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens (Princeton 1971), pp. 96-99.
WYCHERLEY, R., The Agora of Athens. Literary and Epigraphic Testimonia, The American Excavations in the Athenian Agora, vol. III, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (Princeton 1957), pp. 50-53.

Temple of Apollo Patroos, Representation in VR environment

The project "Virtual Reality Digital Collection 'The Ancient Agora of Athens'" has been co-funded in a percentage of 80% by the European Regional Development Fund and in a percentage of 20% by state funds in the framework of the Operational Programme "Information Society" of the 3rd Community Support Framework.

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