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date: 17 October 2019

Brauronlocked

  • R. A. Tomlinson
  • , revised by Gordon Campbell

Extract

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 (arktoi), were girls aged between five and ten. They resided within the sanctuary and were instrumental in a great festival, the Brauroneia, celebrated there every five years. A similar cult was subsequently introduced on the Athenian Acropolis, probably owing to the growing importance of aristocratic families with estates near Brauron. The site was excavated in 1946–52 and 1956–63 by J. Papadimitriou.

The Temple of Artemis (6th century bc) is a small, Doric, non-peripteral building of which only the foundations remain. Beyond it was a copious spring, liable to flooding. A small, nondescript building some 10 m south-east of the temple was perhaps the residence of the Bears. The most important architectural remains are those of a Doric stoa (end of ...

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