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In a maritime country like Greece, the god of the sea was bound to occupy a high position in the divine hierarchy. In power, Poseidon was considered second only to Zeus (Jupiter), the supreme god himself. His implacable wrath, manifested in the form of storms, was greatly feared by all mariners. In an age without mechanical power, storms very frequently resulted in shipwrecks and drownings. The temple at Cape Sounion, Attica, therefore, was a venue where mariners, and also entire cities or states, could propitiate Poseidon, by making animal sacrifice, or leaving gifts.
The temple of Poseidon was constructed in 444-440 BC, perched above the sea at a height of almost 60 m. As with all Greek temples, the Poseidon building was rectangular, with a colonnade on all four sides. The total number of original columns was 42, but only 15 columns still stand today. The columns are of the Doric Order. They were made of locally-quarried white marble. They were 6.10 m (20 ft) high, with a diameter of 1 m (3.1 ft) at the base and 79 cm (31 inches) at the top.
The inscribed name of the famous Romantic poet George Lord Byron, carved into the base of one of the columns of the Temple of Poseidon, possibly dates from his first visit to Greece, on his Grand Tour of Europe, before he acquired fame. Byron spent several months in 1810-11 in Athens, including two documented visits to Sounion.
Built in the 5th century BC, Cape Sounio, Greece, Europe
Nikon D200, Nikkor 18-200 mm, 1/180 sec at f/ 11, ISO 200
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