Brauronion

It is dedicated to Artemis Brauronia, goddess of fertility, mothership, and mastress of the wild animals. In her aspect Eileithyia, she was also the goddess of birth and helped women to give birth successfully. Her devotes huldigten her disguised as bears, a tradition that surely is related with Artemis’ role as mastress of the wild animals. She is also the goddess of the moon, daughter of Zeus and Leto, and in this role appears with arrows and a silver bow in form of the crescent, a gift of the cyclops, among the twelve grand Olympic gods and goddesses. Her cult at the Acropolis may be ascribed to Peisistratos (6th century b.C.).

The sanctuary had no temple. It was located in the southwestern part of the Acropolis, and south of the Propylaea. It was formed by a court surrounded by columned halls, with an altar and two statues. One represents Artemis and was created by Praxiteles, who was one of the most important sculptors and representants of the younger Attic School. The Brauronion was accessed by stairs carved into the rock.

The ore images of Athena Lemnia (made by Phidias), and Athena Promachos (campaigner), were located not far from there. The latter one was 9 m high, and helmet and spare were partially gold-plated and so the sculpture’s resplendence, shone by the sun, reached even down to the sea. Today, only few stones remain to tell us about these remote times. The statue was taken to Constantinople by Justianian, and there destroyed by its inhabitants in 1203.




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