Cape Sounion is a promontory located 69 kilometres SSE of Athens, at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula in Greece. Cape Sounion is noted as the site of ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea. The site is a popular day-excursion for tourists from Athens, with spectacular views of the sea and surrounding countryside. The wild thyme and beautiful wild flowers perfume the area.
Archaeological finds on the site date from as early as 700 BC. Herodotus tells us that in the sixth century BC, the Athenians celebrated a quadrennial festival at Sounion, which involved Athens' leaders sailing to the cape in a sacred boat. The original, Archaic Period temple of Poseidon on the site, which was built of tufa, was probably destroyed in 480 BC by Persian troops during shahanshah Xerxes I's invasion of Greece (the second Graeco-Persian War). Although there is no direct evidence for Sounion, Xerxes certainly had the temple of Athena, and everything else, on the Acropolis of Athens razed as punishment for the Athenians' defiance. After they defeated Xerxes in the naval Battle of Salamis, the Athenians placed an entire enemy trireme (warship with three banks of oars) at Sounion as a trophy dedicated to Poseidon. The later temple at Sounion, whose columns still stand today, was probably built in ca. 440 BC. This was during the ascendancy of Athenian statesman Pericles, who also rebuilt the Parthenon in Athens.
This post is part of Kim's Water World Wednesday meme,
and also part of Susan's Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of Nature's Footstep Waters meme.