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Erechtheum(ĭrĕk`thēəm) [for ErechtheusErechtheus
, in Greek mythology, king of Athens. On the advice of an oracle he sacrificed one of his daughters during the battle between the Athenians and the Eleusinians. This enabled him to win the battle, but Poseidon later destroyed him and all his house.
..... Click the link for more information. ], Gr. Erechtheion, temple in Pentelic marble, on the Acropolis at Athens. One of the masterpieces of Greek architecture, it was constructed between c.421 B.C. and 405 B.C. to replace an earlier temple to Athena destroyed by the Persians. Its design is sometimes ascribed to the architect Mnesicles. The Erechtheum contained sanctuaries to Athena Polias, Poseidon, and Erechtheus. The temple displays the finest extant examples of the Greek Ionic orderIonic order
, one of the early orders of architecture. The spreading scroll-shaped capital is the distinctive feature of the Ionic order; it was primarily a product of Asia Minor, where early embryonic forms of this capital have been found.
..... Click the link for more information. . The requirements of the several shrines and the location upon a sloping site produced an unusual plan. From the body of the building porticoes project on east, north, and south sides. The eastern portico, hexastyle Ionic, gave access to the shrine of Athena, which was separated by a partition from the western cella. The northern portico, tetrastyle Ionic, stands at a lower level and gives access to the western cella through a fine doorway. The southern portico, known as the Porch of the Caryatids (see caryatidcaryatid
, a sculptured female figure serving as an ornamental support in place of a column or pilaster. It was a frequently used motif in architecture, furniture, and garden sculpture during the Renaissance, the 18th cent., and notably, the classic revival of the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ) from the six sculptured draped female figures that support its entablature, is the temple's most striking feature; it forms a gallery or tribune. Five of the original figures are now in the Acropolis Museum; one, along with an east column, was removed to London by Lord Elgin. The west end of the building, with windows and engaged Ionic columns, is a modification of the original, built by the Romans when they restored the building.
the temple of Athena and Poseidon-Erechtheus on the Acropolis in Athens, an outstanding monument of ancient Greek architecture. Built between 421 and 406 B.C., it has an asymmetrical spatial composition and comprises a number of rooms, two Ionic porticoes, and the famous Porch of the Maidens. The Erechtheum is impressive for its exquisite composition and individual details. Although modest in size, occupying an area (without porticoes) of 11.6 m × 23.5 m, it plays an important role in the Acropolis complex, contrasting with the simpler and more austere Parthenon.