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Temple of Aphaia
The Temple of Aphaia is located within a sanctuary complex dedicated to the
goddess Aphaia on the Greek island of Aegina, which lies in the Saronic Gulf. It
stands on a c. 160 m peak on the eastern side of the island approximately 29km
south-east from Athens Acropolis.
Aphaia was a Greek goddess who was worshipped exclusively at this sanctuary. The
extant temple of c. 500 BC was built over the remains of an earlier temple of c. 570
BC, which was destroyed by fire c. 510 BC. The elements of this destroyed temple
were buried in the infill for the larger, flat terrace of the later temple, and are thus
well preserved. Abundant traces of paint remain on many of these buried fragments.
There may have been another temple in the 7th century BC, also located on the same
site, but it is thought to have been much smaller and simpler in terms of both plan
and execution. Significant quantities of Late Bronze Age figurines have been
discovered at the site, including proportionally large numbers of female figurines
(kourotrophoi), indicating – perhaps – that cult activity at the site was continuous
from the 14th century BC, suggesting a Minoan connection for the cult. The last
temple is of an unusual plan and is also significant for its pedimental sculptures,
which are thought to illustrate the change from Archaic to Early Classical technique.
These sculptures are on display in the Glyptothek of Munich, with a number of
fragments located in the museums at Aegina and on the site itself.