in Attica. CAPE COLONNA. 9. Route. 129
At the highest point of the promontory stood a Temple of
Athena. This structure, a Doric peripteral hexastyle, with 12 or
13 columns at the sides, seems to have resembled the Theseion at
Athens but was on a slightly smaller scale (98 ft. by 44 ft). As the
temple is not expressly mentioned by any ancient writer, we are
driven to conjecture as to the time of its erection, most authorities
placing it in the time of Perikles or a little later.
The stereobate, consisting of three steps, is supported on the
N. and W. by substructures, built to eke out the small level sur¬
face available at the top of the cape. Nine columns on the S. side
and two on the N. are still standing. They are 20 ft. in height,
and in diameter and taper are identical with those of the Theseion.
There are, however, only 16 flutes (instead of 20), an arrangement
which is perhaps owing to the fact that the temple was to be seen
more from the sea and at a distance than close at hand. The greater
part of the front of the pronaos has also been preserved at the
E. end, conprising the whole of the N. anta, a few blocks of
the S. anta, and one of the columns between them. The rest of the
building is a shapeless ruin. The coarse-grained marble, of which
the temple is built, probably from the quarries of Laurion, has
not resisted the effects of time and weather so successfully as the
Pentelic marble of the Athenian edifices. The process of disinte¬
gration seems to be still going steadily on; at the end of the 17th
cent, there were 19 columns still in an upright position and there
were 14 at the beginning of the present century.
In front of the E. end and the adjoining portions of the N. and
S. sides lie nine or ten blocks of a finer kind of marble, hearing
much defaced reliefs. These seem to have formed part of a sculp¬
tured frieze, representing the achievements of Theseus. Experts
claim to recognize Theseus overcoming the Marathonian bull; the
battle of the Lapithae and Centaurs, with the invulnerable Kaeneus
overwhelmed with masses of rock by two Centaurs; and Theseus
and Skiron (?). It is very desirable that these scanty remains of
ancient splendour should be removed to a place of safety.
To the N. of the temple and a little below it lies an artificial
terrace, supported on the N. and W. by a well-preserved wall of
white marble and abutting to the E. on the fortified wall enclosing
the promontory. Near the N.E. corner of this platform lie two Doric
capitals, differing from each other and from those of the temple.
Since the French 'Expedition de More'e', this has generally been taken
for the site of a Propyl^eon, the entrance of which was distyle 'in
antis'. It is, however, not improbable that it served as a basement
for the altar of Poseidon (p. 128). The festival of the marine
deity, celebrated here every fourth year and honoured by a sacrificial
embassy from Athens, must have required a tolerably roomy space.
According to the opinion of Lord Byron, expressed in a note to'Childe
Harold', there is 'in all Attica, if we except Athens itself ;md Marathon,
no scene more interesting than Cane Colonna'. And indeed when we re-