Temples of Dionysos

New Temple of Dionysus

<Location> Theatre of Dionysos site, Athens, Attica, Greece

The place where the theatre of Dionysos is situated is also the sanctuary of Dionysos. According to the ancient travel writer Pausanias (1.20.2), there were two temples, one dedicated to Dionysos the God of Eleutherai (Dionysos Eleutherios), and the other housed the chryselephantine - made gold and ivory - statue of the god, made by famous sculpter Alkamenes.

New Temple of Dionysos
In the photos above and left are the more recent temple that housed the statue made by Alkamenes. It was built in the later fifth or fourth century BC, 21m long and 9.6m wide.

In the photo below, in the foreground is the base of the altar to Dionysos, or, maybe the base of a statue offered to the god. Behind it to the right is the fourth-century temple, explained above.

New Temple of Dionysos

In the photo below are some traces of the older temple of Dionysos, made in the sixth century BC. It was relatively small temple, 12.5 m long and 8m wide, Not much remains. It is situated to the north of the newer temple (thus, closer to the theatre). The wall behind is part of the stoa constructed in the fourth century BC.

Old Temple of Dionysos

The Cult of Dionysos was introduced from Eleutherai in Boiotia to Athens. This is why Dionysos took the epithet "Eleutherios" here. As the older temple of Dionysos dates back to the Peisistrads period (6th century B.C.), and it is the first temple to this deity in Athens.

The Great Dionysia festival was celebrated here in spring.


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