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Photographer's Note

Glad to come back after a long break with a new series presenting parts of Ancient Athens,starting with Erechtheum, a combination of sacred precincts including the temples of Athena Polias, Poseidon, Erechtheus, Cecrops, Herse, Pandrosos and Aglauros, with its so-called the Kore Porch (or Caryatids' balcony.The Erechtheum (Greek: Έρέχθειον Erechtheion) is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece, notable for a design that is both elegant and unusual.The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 407 BCE. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honour of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus and Erichthonius were often syncretized. It is believed to have been a replacement for an older temple destroyed by the Persians in 480 BCE.The temple itself was dedicated to Athena Polias and Poseidon Erechtheus. Within the foundations lived the sacred snake of the temple, which represented the spirit of Cecrops and whose well-being was thought essential for the safety of the city. The snake was fed honey-cakes by Canephorae, the priestesses of Athena Polias, by custom the women of the ancient family of Eteoboutadae, the supposed descendants of the hero Boutes. The snake's occasional refusal to eat the cakes was thought a disastrous omen.One of the caryatids was removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and was later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon). Athenian legend had it that at night the remaining five Caryatids could be heard wailing for their lost sister. Elgin attempted to remove a second Caryatid; when technical difficulties arose, he tried to have it sawn to pieces. The statue was smashed and its fragments were left behind. It was later reconstructed haphazardly with cement and iron rods. Nowadays the five original Caryatids are displayed in helium-filled glass cases in the Acropolis Museum and are replaced in situ by exact replicas.

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Additional Photos by Panagiotis Dragomanidis (drago) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 154 N: 802] (4832)
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