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Temple of Artemis Vravrona is an early sacred site on the eastern coast of Attica. Near the Aegean Sea in a small inlet has silted up since ancient times, pushing the current shoreline farther from the site. A nearby hill, c. 24 m high and 220 m to the southeast, was inhabited during the Neolithic era, c. 2000 BCE. This area flourished particularly from Middle Helladic to early Mycenaean times (2000–1600 BC) as a fortified site.

The cult of Artemis Brauronia connected the coastal (rural) sanctuary at Brauron with another (urban) sanctuary on the acropolis in Athens. The Brauroneion, on Acropolis, from which there was a precession every four years during the Arkteia festival. The tyrant Pisistratus was Brauronian by birth, and he is credited with transferring the cult to the Acropolis, thus establishing it on the statewide rather than local level. The sanctuary contained a small temple of Artemis, a stone bridge, cave shrines, a sacred spring, and a pi-shaped stoa that included dining rooms for ritual feasting. The unfortified site continued in use until tensions between the Athenians and the Macedonians. After the clash between the two of them no archaeologically significant activity occurred at the site until the erection of a small church in the 6th century

Temple Of Artemis Vravrona
Vravrona Archaeological Museum

Trojan War

As the Greek fleet was preparing to sail to Troy to force the return of Helen, they gathered in Aulis. King Agamemnon killed a stag sacred to the goddess Artemis. That enraged the goddess which caused a contrary wind. King Agamemnon was forced to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order to appease Artemis.  In one version of the myth, Artemis made a divine intervention of Artemis, and the saved girl which then became a priestess of the goddess. She was transferred to Tauri, a people living near the Black Sea in the Crimean peninsula.

Subsequent to these events, Iphigenia returns from among the Tauri with the assistance of her brother Orestes. In Euripides’ version of the myth, the goddess Athena reveals that Iphigenia will make landfall in Brauron and there be the priestess of Artemis, die, and be buried.

The first known Temple of Artemis Vravrona – dating to the late 6th century BCE – rests on a low rock spur south of the river and is aligned toward the east. Little is preserved beyond partial lower courses and cuttings in the bedrock for the same. There are a few remains of the architecture that allow a certain identification of the temple as being of the Doric order.

The Persians destroyed the sanctuary structures in 480 BCE and took the cult statue back to Susa. The temple was reconstructed in the 420s BCE. Although the temple is poorly preserved, it can be reconstructed to have had four columns in the cella and an adyton at the rear of the cella. The presence of an adyton is asserted for the temple of Artemis at Loutsa (Artemida) 6.1 km to the north and the temple of Artemis at Aulis 67 km northwest.

Vravrona Archaeological Museum

Map

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