Overview of peninsula, composite of phases, Sounion

Image access restricted
Foundations of farmhouses. Attica, Sounion.

Image access restricted
Deme center. Attica, Sounion.

View to W along Attic coast from temple, Sounion

Aerial view of promontory tip, from SW, Sounion

Image access restricted
Temple of Poseidon. Attica, Sounion.

Summary: Sanctuary of Poseidon.
Type: Sanctuary
Region: Attica








The small sanctuary of Poseidon is located within the fortified port town of Sounion, on a rocky peninsula 69 km SE of Athens. Inside the temenos a stoa stands along the N and W precinct wall. The temple of Poseidon occupied the center of the precinct. North of the sanctuary is a smaller sanctuary dedicated to Athena Sounias. The town of Sounion was a port of call for Athenian grain ships from Euboea and the sanctuary of Poseidon served as a refuge for slaves escaping from the Laurion silver mines.


Sanctuary founded as early as 700 B.C. The marble temple of Poseidon was built in the mid 5th century B.C. to replace an earlier temple destroyed by the Persians in 480. The site was fortified during the Peloponnese War to protect ships carrying grain to Athens. These fortifications were repaired and expanded and a ship-shed built on the E side of the cape during the Hellenistic period.


Temple of Poseidon was measured by Revett in 1765 and the Dilettanti Society in 1812. Excavations: 1884, W. Dörpfeld: 1899-1915, V. Stais and A. Orlandos, Greek Archaeological Society.

Sources Used:

Rossiter 1977, 199-200; PECS, 854-855

Other Bibliography:

B. Stais, "Souniou Anaskafai," ArchEph (1917) 168-213. A.K. Orlandos, "Tou en Sounio naou tou Poseidonos toichoi kai orofi," ArchEph (1917) 213-226. E.J.A. Kenny, "The Ancient Docks on the Promontory of Sounion," BSA 42 (1947)194-200. W.H. Plommer, "Three Attic Temples, Part III. The Temple of Poseidon," BSA 45 (1950)78-94. W.H. Plommer, "The Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sunium: Some Further Questions," BSA 55 (1960) 218-33. H.F. Mussche, "Note sur les fortifications de Sounion," BCH 88 (1964) 423-32. A. Delivorrias, "Poseidon-Tempel auf Kap Sunion. Neue Fragmente der Friesdekoration," AM 84 (1969) 127-42. W.B. Dinsmoor, Jr., Guide to Sounion (1970 Athens).