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On a historical and social level, the Erechtheion was associated with the Athenian traditions, unlike the Parthenon which stood for progress.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1902 First restoration. Completed in 1909. The restorations at the beginning of the 20th century caused great damage to the monuments. Architects and engineers treated them as buildings and not as unique works of art.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

    Converted into Disdari’s residence (Ottoman garrison).

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

    In the 6th AD century was converted into a Christian church (Mother of God). Under Frankish rule it used to be the residence of the Latin bishop.

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

    The name Caryatids was given by the girls Karyes of Laconia, who honoured Artemis dancing with baskets on their head.

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

    Was built during the Peloponnesian war in two phases.

    421 BC Beginning of construction of the first phase.

    415 BC Construction works stopped.

    410 BC Construction works restarted.

    406 BC Completion.

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

The Erechtheion replaced the temple of Athena Polias, which was damaged by the Persians and whose foundations we can see today between the Erechtheion and the Parthenon. It has a special arrangement mainly due to the difference in height between the eastern and western parts and the different types of worship held at the temple. On the north side, the porch had six Ionic columns and encircled the point where Poseidon struck his trident. On the south side there are six statues of Maidens (Caryatids), which support the roof. The artist depicted them with a full set of hair, which helped to support the roof above their heads without added pressure on the statues’ necks. The sculptures are replicas, since five of the originals are inside the Acropolis museum for better protection. The sixth is in the British Museum, after being abducted by Lord Elgin. It is under this porch, that the city’s founder Cecrops was buried. The architecture of the building is excellent, because it manages to encompass different functions, elements and worships into a single, harmonious space. The Parthenon is mainly of Doric order and symmetrical, while the Erechtheion is Ionic and has irregular shape. The Ionian order developed in the Greek cities of the east (Asia Minor), while the Doric developed in the western Greek world and the Peloponnese. The Athenians believed that they were at the crossroads of these two worlds.

What I can't see

The eastern part of the temple was dedicated to Athena Polias, where the “divine” cult image stood, upon which Athenians placed the veil of the Panathenea festival. The western section was probably divided into two parts. On a historical and social level, the Erechtheion was associated with the Athenian traditions, unlike the Parthenon which stood for progress. Manolis Korres states that,


“Erechtheion is an idiosyncratic arrangement of spaces, of sublime originality. There is a reason for that. It is the monument of nativeness, which looks to the past, while the Parthenon looks toward the future. The Parthenon is the manifesto of Athenian superpower. It is like saying: we start from here to conquer Greece. The Erechtheion is the past, the self-awareness. This is where the peaceful Athena Polias is housed, which protects the home and peaceful work. The Parthenon is war. Parthenos Athena stands upright, carrying weapons. And the gold in the foundations was intended to fund wars. Athena’s garment alone could support the payroll of the army for many months. The Parthenon is war and the Erechtheion is peace. A state could not exist without these two symbols”.


Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London

Travlos J., (1980), Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, New York: Hacker Art Books

Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore

Korres Μ., (2011), Presentation, NTUA

Rousopoulos A., (2008), Ο Παρθενών, [The Parthenon], Athens: Philippotis

Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994), Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία [Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros