Greek English
Greek English


The sanctuary of Apollo in Daphni

West of the Pythionike monument Pausanias came across the sanctuary of Apollon. It accommodated statues of Demeter and Kore. According to tradition,
Kephalos, the mythical founder of Kephallonia, sacrifised to Apollon upon this spot on his return from exile.
The sanctuary was one of the most important stops of the Eleusinian procession. According to an inscription
in the theatre of Dionysus in Athens, Apollon was worshipped as Daphnephoros (laurel-bearer) and Pausanias reports only one such sanctuary in Attica. Perhaps it was the one located in the area of Daphni, within the Byzantine monastery. It probably included
a colonnaded edifice. Three columns were removed by Lord Elgin and are exhibited today in the British
Museum. Pouqueville attempted to trace the temple and Kampouroglou reported the finding of sculpture, today in exhibition in the monastery.
The architectural form of the sanctuary is completely unknown, but the number of the reported statues and the many column parts suggest at least two temples, or a temple and a stoa. There was an ashlar enclosure wall, which was re-used for the Byzantine fortification of the monastery. It is possible that the threshold of the east gate to the monastery is the ancient threshold to the sanctuary.
The architectural remains suggest a late Classical construction date for the sanctuary. In view of the poor data, it is only possible to state that the sanctuary existed in the 2nd century AD, during Pausanias’ visit and was destroyed by Alaric and his Visigoths in 395 AD,
along with the Eleusinian sanctuary.

West of the Pythionike monument Pausanias came across the sanctuary of Apollon. It accommodated statues of Demeter and Kore. According to tradition,
Kephalos, the mythical founder of Kephallonia, sacrifised to Apollon upon this spot on his return from exile.
The sanctuary was one of the most important stops of the Eleusinian procession. According to an inscription
in the theatre of Dionysus in Athens, Apollon was worshipped as Daphnephoros (laurel-bearer) and Pausanias reports only one such sanctuary in Attica. Perhaps it was the one located in the area of Daphni, within the Byzantine monastery. It probably included
a colonnaded edifice. Three columns were removed by Lord Elgin and are exhibited today in the British
Museum. Pouqueville attempted to trace the temple and Kampouroglou reported the finding of sculpture, today in exhibition in the monastery.
The architectural form of the sanctuary is completely unknown, but the number of the reported statues and the many column parts suggest at least two temples, or a temple and a stoa. There was an ashlar enclosure wall, which was re-used for the Byzantine fortification of the monastery. It is possible that the threshold of the east gate to the monastery is the ancient threshold to the sanctuary.
The architectural remains suggest a late Classical construction date for the sanctuary. In view of the poor data, it is only possible to state that the sanctuary existed in the 2nd century AD, during Pausanias’ visit and was destroyed by Alaric and his Visigoths in 395 AD,
along with the Eleusinian sanctuary.