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Ancient sources (Strab. 9.1.22; Steph. Byz. s.v. Ἁλαὶ Ἀραφηνίδες καὶ Ἁλαὶ Αἰξωνίδες), make it clear that this deme was situated on the E coast, N of Brauron, S of Marathon, and presumably near the township whose name it shares, Araphen, modern Raphina. It was famous for a sanctuary dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. According to Euripides (IT 1447-61), this cult, with a statue of the goddess taken from Taurus, was established by Orestes at Athena's command, and included among its rites a ceremonial act of atonement in which a drop of blood was drawn from a man's throat with a knife, and a midnight revel (Men. Epit.).

Nineteenth c. topographers realized that this deme had to lie between Vraona and Raphina in the neighborhood of the salt lake, now at Loutsa, and the ruined village and hill of Velanideza, ca. 3 km to the W. The name suited the former; from the latter had come the two archaic grave reliefs of Lyseas and Aristion. In this century, however, attention has focussed on Loutsa. In 1926 a deme decree of the inhabitants of Halai was found SW of the salt lake, near the sea, in the remains of a Roman building. It was to be set up in the Sanctuary of Artemis Tauropolos. A second deme decree, found a few years later to the S of Loutsa, was to be displayed there also. Finally, in 1956, the remains of a small temple were uncovered in the same vicinity, S of the salt lake among the pines that fringe the sea.

The material of the temple is hard, gray poros. All of the bottom step is preserved, and most of the second, but of the stylobate there are only a few blocks in place, enough however to allow measurement of the temple area at this level: 19.30 x 12.20 m. Above this, nothing is in situ, but a peristyle of Doric columns, a few poros fragments of which have been found, can be restored on the stylobate. From the evidence on this course, it would seem that the temple had the unusual design of eight columns on the short sides, twelve on the long. Within the columns was a cella divided into two unequal rooms, the inner to the W presumably an adyton, but of all this only foundations survive, the temple having been thoroughly pillaged. Thus its date cannot be ascertained. Pottery and figurines of the archaic and Classical periods were recovered around it. The original excavator identified this seaside temple as that of Artemis Tauropolos. The suggestion is most persuasive, for the position exactly suits the evidence bearing on the temple's location.

Artemis was not the only divinity worshiped at Halai. A recently discovered inscription, found half a km W of her temple, records the holding of games during the Dionysia celebrated in the deme. One can therefore assume that a sanctuary once existed dedicated to Dionysos, perhaps among the extensive remains of ancient buildings where the inscription was discovered. Philochoros' enigmatic (and defective) fragment concerning Dionysos (FGrHist 328 F 191) may yet be shown to apply to Halai Araphenides.


A. Milchhöfer, Karten von Attika. Erläuternder Text 3-6 (1889) 6-7; A. Conze, Die attischen Grabreliefs (1893) I, nos. 1-2, 3-5; N. Kotzias, Δημοτικὸν ψήφισμα Ἁλῶν τῶν Ρ̓αφηνίδων, ArchEph (1925-26) 168-77; Ph. Stauropoullos, Τιμητικὸν ψήφισμα Ἁλῶν τῶν Ἀραφηνίδων, ArchEph (1932) Ἀρχαιολογικὰ χρονικά, 30-32; J. Papadimitriou, Ἀνασκαφαὶ ἐν Βραυρῶνι, Praktika (1956) 87-89; (1957) 45-47PI.


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