Archaeologists may have found the legendary temple of Poseidon
ILIDA, Greece — A team of Greek and Austrian archaeologists may have located the foundations of a famous temple of the Greek god Poseidon, as announced in a Facebook post on October 7.
“Samikon’s Sanctuary of Poseidon has been discovered! says the adposted by the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Athens. “For a long time, the location of the famous ancient shrine was suspected in the plain below the ancient fortress of Samikon, which dominates the landscape from afar being positioned on a hill north of Kaiafa Lagoon on the west coast of the Peloponnese.”
The excavation in the area of the old Samikon is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Elis, directed by Dr. Erofili Kolia, and the Athens branch of the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, directed by Dr. Birgitta Eder.
At the end of September, the excavations brought to light the foundations of a large building almost ten meters wide, with thick walls about 8/10th of a meter. Archaeologists believe the building would have been at least 28 meters long, with two interior rooms, a vestibule called pronaos, and an innermost chamber, i.e. a adyton or one opisthodomos.
“The tall, elongated building can be nothing more than an archaic temple on the site of Poseidon’s sanctuary,” the statement said, “perhaps even dedicated to the god himself.”
The temple of Poseidon was attested in the Geography of Strabo, who lived between 64 BCE and 24 CE. Geography was an encyclopedic description of Europe and the Mediterranean around the reign of Emperor Augustus. Although there is no precise dating for the work, it does contain a reference to the death of the Mauritanian king Juba II in 23 CE, shortly before Strabo’s own death.
Samikon’s Temple of Poseidon is mentioned in the eighth book of the Geography:
Then comes the mountain of Triphylia which sees Macistia of Pisatis; then another river called Chalcis, and a spring called Cruni, and a settlement called Chalcis, and, after these, Samicum, where is the most revered temple of the Samian Poseidon. Around the temple is a sacred enclosure full of wild olive trees. The inhabitants of Macistum were in charge of it; and it was they also who proclaimed the day of the armistice called “Samian”. But all Triphylians contribute to the upkeep of the temple.
Poseidon, although popularly known today as a god of the sea, had many attributes in classical Hellenic religion, including earthquakes and horses. He was the patron of many festivals in the ancient world and is mentioned in the founding myths of the cities of Athens and Corinth. His most enduring literary role is that of Odysseus’ sworn enemy in Homer. Odyssey, but Poseidon has appeared in many other works of ancient and modern art, including his role as the father of the protagonist of the Percy Jackson series of children’s books.
The collaboration between the Elis Antiquities Ephoria and the Athens branch of the Austrian Archaeological Institute will continue to excavate the area and the archaic temple of the god until 2026. The team hopes to discover the ancient port of Samikon during this excavation.
“This discovery opens new perspectives on the political and economic importance of the amphictyony of the Triphylian cities in the 6th century BC. identify.”