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Bassai  

Frederick Cooper

Site on the slopes and peak of Mt Kotilon in Arcadia, southern Greece, overlooking the fertile plains of Messenia. It is renowned for the late 5th-century bc Temple of Apollo with its sculptured Ionic frieze, its peculiar plan and the earliest extant Corinthian capital.

Apollo Bassitas was the principal god but his sanctuary also embraced cults to other gods, notably Artemis. Twin temples to Apollo and Artemis were built by ...

Article

Brauron  

R. A. Tomlinson and Gordon Campbell

Site of an ancient sanctuary of Artemis (worshipped here as Artemis-Iphigenia, protector of pregnant women) on the east coast of Attica, 6 km north-east of Markopoulon, established by the 8th century bc. A special feature of the cult at Brauron was that the priestesses, known as Artemis’ Bears (...

Article

Delphi  

Georges Roux and Jean Marcadé

Site in Phokis in central Greece, c. 165 km north-west of Athens, which flourished from the 8th century bc to the 2nd century ad. It was one of the most important sacred sites of ancient Greece, the home of the Delphic Oracle and reputed to be the centre of the world. High in the foothills of Mt Parnassos, Delphi lies between the twin cliffs of the Phaidriades (‘shining rocks’), overlooking the valley of the River Pleistos and the plain of Kirrha (now Itea) on the shores of the Gulf of Corinth....

Article

Derveni  

Dimitris Plantzos

Site in Northern Greece, approximately 9.5 km NW from Thessaloniki, where seven mostly undisturbed tombs were discovered in 1962, dating from about 320–290 bc.

Five of the Derveni tombs are cist graves, large rectangular chambers dug underground, dressed with large blocks of local limestone; one is a pit grave, and one a monumental tomb of the ‘Macedonian’ type (...

Article

Dodona  

R. A. Tomlinson

Site of ancient sanctuary in Epiros, north-west Greece. It is in many ways the remotest of Greek sanctuaries: Epiros was largely uninfluenced by the main developments of the Archaic and Classical periods, retaining its tribal organization at a time when more progressive regions were forming city states. The sanctuary was dedicated to Zeus, probably because the high mountains surrounding it attract spectacular thunderstorms. Despite the site’s remoteness, the Greeks were aware of Zeus of Dodona from early times; for example he is invoked in the ...

Article

R. A. Tomlinson and Ann Thomas Wilkins

Site on the south side of the Saronic Gulf in Greece that flourished especially in the 4th and 3rd centuries bc. Though traces of the ancient city exist, its fame derives from the Sanctuary of Asklepios c. 10 km inland from Epidauros town, which was the principal cult-centre of the healing god in mainland Greece (...

Article

J. A. Sakellarakis

Site on Mt Ida (now Psiloritis) in central Crete. It lies at an altitude of 1498 m and measures some 59×46 m. It was the most important cave in Greek antiquity, identified by many ancient writers as the place where Zeus was born and raised. It was discovered accidentally in ...

Article

P. Hellström

Site on Mt Latmos in Caria (now in south-west Turkey), 15 km north of Mylasa (now Milas). A sanctuary there flourished c. 600 bcc. ad 400. Swedish excavations began in 1948 under A. W. Persson, and finds from the site are now in the Archaeological Museum, Izmir, and Bodrum Museum. After a modest beginning in the ...

Article

Loukou  

Thorsten Opper

Site of a Roman villa (500 m to the north of the monastery of Loukou) in the ancient region of Thyreatis in the eastern Peloponnese. The recent finds are divided between the archaeological museums of the nearby modern town of Astros and the regional centre Tripolis. Although the villa is not mentioned in the ancient literary sources, the discovery of inscriptions and portrait sculptures (Herodes, Polydeukion) shows that the complex belonged to the family of the famous Athenian sophist ...

Article

Nemea  

Frederick Cooper

Site of the ancient Greek Nemean Games, 5 km from the modern village of Nemea and 30 km south-west of Corinth, Greece. The remains of the Temple of Zeus (c. 340–c. 320 bc) stand on the east bank of the River Nemea. Its architect is unknown, but ...