The Stoa/Portico of the Athenians


 A portico of the classical period, built by the Athenians under the temple of Apollo and in front of the polygonal wall after 478 B.C., when they managed to permanently avert the Persian danger. The portico was a simple building constructed against the polygonal wall which supported the terrace of the temple of Apollo and was used for setting up ex-votos consisting of war booty.


The Portico of the Athenians is a building built against the polygonal support wall of the terrace of the temple of Apollo. The monument has been identified in a secure way due to the inscription of the stylobate: Ἀθεναῖοι ἀνέθεσαν τὲν στοὰν καί τὰ ℎόπλ̣α καὶ τἀκροτέρια ℎελόντες τόν πολεμίον [The Athenians dedicated the portico and the ropes and the figure heads of the ships that they snatched from the enemies].

The portico was built in the Ionic order, using as a wall on its back side the polygonal wall supporting the temple. On the facade it has seven monolithic fluted columns made of Pentelic marble with bases made of Paros marble, 3.31 meters high; a dense row of pillars leaned against the polygonal wall at the back. The total length of the building was 26.5 meters and the width was 3.10 meters. The large openings between the columns allowed ample light to enter the building, which was probably covered with a wooden roof and was lying on a stylobate consisting of three steps. Τhe lower part of the monument as well as the restored colonnade is extant today.  Holes on the rear wall attest to the existence of wooden poles which probably supported the roof. In the space between them one discerns manumission insciptions.

Pausanias relates tha thte portico of the Athenians sheltered the ex votos which the Athenians seized as booty during the first three years of the Peloponnesian War. However, the  letter style as well as the dating of the building don’t support this view of Pausanias; the prevailing view is that the building must have been constructed between  480 and 450 B.C., and was thus used for dedicating booty which the Athenians seized during the Fifty-Years’ period and the Peloponnesian War. Most probably, however, the portico was constructed after the naval victories against the Persians at Mykale and Sestos in 478 B.C.

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