Athenian Agora - The Hephaistion - Theseion Page One

HephasteionThe Hephaisteion, the temple of Hephaistos and his half-sister Athena, is one of the few buildings in the Agora that has always been visible.

The temple is frequently depicted on paintings and drawings of artists who visited Greece in the 17th and following centuries. With a large part of its marble ceiling still intact, the Hephaisteion is the best preserved temple in Greece and a prime example of Classical architecture.

From its elevated position on the 'Kolonos Agoraios' hill it provides a scenic view of the rest of the Agora. The construction of the Hephaisteion began in 460-450 BC, i.e. before the Parthenon, as part of a more extensive building program under the famous statesman Perikles.

Athens in this period was at the absolute height of her power and money from her allies was flowing in. Work on the Hephaisteion may have been interrupted when construction of the Parthenon began in 447 BC. An inscription records that the bronze cult statues of Hephaistos and Athena were not put up until 421-415 BC, suggesting that the temple was completed only shortly before that date.

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