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PENDELI or Brilessos, Attica, Greece.

At the NE corner of the Athenian plain, between Parnes and Hymettos, lies the mountain range of Pendeli, more commonly known in antiquity as Brilessos (e.g. Thuc. 2.23.1). It was famous for its fine-grained white marble, which, although at first used sparingly for sculpture in the early 6th c. B.C., later became a major source of material for Athenian buildings, particularly on the Acropolis. According to Pausanias (1.19.6) the quarries were largely exhausted in the 2d c. A.D. by the construction of the Panathenaic Stadium, a fact which modern exploitation has refuted.

The ancient quarries can still be seen on the mountain's SW face. The most conspicuous, Spilia, with its large cavern behind, has a towering vertical face covered with channelings made by the miners. From here the marble was taken down hill along a steep, well-preserved road, with holes cut in the rock on either side to receive posts for the ropes to control the sleds. “A few minutes' climb” above Spilia is a small cave that served as a sanctuary of the nymphs. Among the finds were two excellent reliefs of the nymphs with Pan and Hermes from the 4th c. B.C. On the skyline directly above the quarries, 400 m SE of the summit, is a manmade platform suitable for the statue of Athena mentioned by Pausanias (1.32.2).


E. Meyer, “Pentelikon,” Kl.Pauly 4.618; E. Vanderpool, “News Letter from Greece,” AJA 57 (1953) 281; W. Fuchs, “Attische Nymphenreliefs,” AM 77 (1962) 242-49I; A. Orlandos, Les Materiaux de Construction . . . pt. 2 (1968) 11-12, 22-24I.


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