Temple of Ares

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Published: 21st July 2009
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The Temple of Ares was so named by Pausanias in the second century A.D. Located in modern day Athens, Greece and what was northern Agora in ancient times, the Temple of Ares is now lying only in ruins. Of an early date, the foundation of the Temple of Ares can be called Roman architecture and engineering. Pieces of the grand superstructure can be dated all the way back to the 5th century B.C.E. The peripteral nature of the architecture (referring to a temple or other such structure where the frontal portico columns are fed back along the sides as wings in increments of one to two intercolumniations from the solid walls of the cella or naos), its size, and its early date are acutely comparable to the Temple of Hephaestus. Marks on the remaining fragments of the Temple of Ares suggest the structure was built somewhere other than its current location, and most experts agree upon the ancient village of Archanai as the original construction site. It was most likely dismantled and relocated to the area where it can now be found. This was during the Roman occupation of Greece, and is considered common practice for the time, during the reign of the Caesar Augustus. It is believed that the Temple of Ares was originally located near the sanctuary of Athena Pallenis, known today as Stavro. Stavro contains foundations, with no temple remains left behind, adding to the probability that the Temple of Ares once stood in Stavro. A statue of Athena, along with other relief figures, was found by excavators inside the Temple of Ares, and is currently on display in the Agora Museum. The central acroterion from the east front of the temple, representing Hebe, Ares' sister, is also on display for all to view. Ares' image, carved into the stone by the sculptor Alkemenes, however, has been lost forever. Ares' worshippers were known to sacrifice cattle, horses, and prisoners of war doomed to be human victims, and an altar is located immediately outside the Temple of Ares.

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