East side of N portico, from E, Athens, Erechtheion

Entablature of E side of N portico, from E, Athens, Erechtheion

Door of North Porch, Athens, Erechtheion

North Portico, from E, Athens, Erechtheion

Schematic elevation showing floor levels, with schematic plan of floor are...

Northeast corner of Parthenon with Erechtheion in distance, from E, Athens...

Context: Athens
Type: Temple
Summary: Ionic temple with a complex, multiple level plan; on the north side of the Acropolis, slightly north of the Old Temple of Athena.
Date: ca. 421 BC - 406 BC

North porch: length 10.72 m; axial spacing exterior columns: 3.09 m (3.15 m corners, 3.067 m flanks); lower diameter exterior columns: 0.817 m (0.824 m corners); height exterior columns: 7.64 m; height entablature: 1.68 m; East porch: length, 11.63 m; axial spacing exterior columns: 2.11 m; lower diameter exterior columns: 0.60 m; height exterior columns: 6.59 m; height entablatures: 1.54 m front, 1.51 m flanks; West front: axial spacing exterior columns: 1.97 m; lower diameter exterior columns: 0.62 m; height exterior columns: 5.61 m; height entablature: 1.54 m.

Region: Attica
Period: Classical


Eastern part of the building is a hexastyle prostyle pronaos to a cella with windows on either side of the door which opens east. Western part of the building is a cella with a floor 3 meters lower than the eastern section but with identical ceiling height. Western cella has 3 entrances. On the north of the western cella, a great door and step lead to the lower Ionic prostyle tetrastyle porch of 6 columns. East of this north doorway, an underground opening leads to a crypt under the north porch with a den for snakes. On the south of the western cella, an L- shaped staircase leads to the higher Porch of the Maidens (Caryatid Porch), a prostyle tetrastyle porch having 6 caryatids as roof supports, all facing south and standing on a low wall. The only entrance to Porch of the Maidens is a stairway leading up from western cella. On the west end of the western cella, a door and step lead to the walled open air Sanctuary of Pandrosos. At the 2nd story level, the outside west wall of the western cella has an engaged base molding with 4 engaged pilasters topped by Ionic columns, spaces between the columns were of open grillwork; thus, from the outside, the western facade gives the appearance of having a floor at the same level as the eastern cella.


Uncertain which end, east or west, was dedicated to Athena Polias. Travlos believed that the altars of Poseidon-Erechtheus, Boutes, and Hephaistos were in the eastern end making the western end the Erechtheion and the Sanctuary of Athena Polias, containing adytons for the grave of Erechtheus and the xoanon of Athena. As with the Parthenon, the whole building came to be known by the name of one of its cellas, the Erechtheion. Under the southwest corner was the Rock of Kekrops, the place where a mythical king of Athens, Kekrops, was buried. Note that the dates listed mark the date the building was begun, 421 B.C., and the date the building was completed, 406 B.C. Later, the western cella was altered and repaired to include cross walls, once in 377/76 B.C., and another repair in 27 B.C. The Erechtheion was converted to a Christian church in the 7th century A.D.

Other Bibliography:

Travlos 1971, 213-227; Dinsmoor 1975, 187-191, 340; Stevens 1946, 93-106

See Also: Athens, Sanctuary of PandrososLondon 407