Different Buildings in the Acropolis
The Erechtheum temple is from the middle classical period of Greek art and architecture, built on the Acropolis of Athens between 421 and 405BC.
The Erechtheum contained sanctuaries to Athena Polias, Poseidon, and Erechtheus. The requirements of the several shrines and the location upon a sloping site produced an unusual plan.
Furthermore old pieces of art were kept in the cella like the ancient wooden statue of Hermes, the xoanon, which was blessed by Cecrops, a folding-chair made by the father of arts Daedalus, and several trophies from the Persian wars as the suit of armour of Masistius and the sword of Mardonius, both Persian generals during the battle of Plataea.
The altars of Zeus Hypatos, of Poseidon and Erechtheus, of Hephaistos, of the hero Boutes, of the Thyechoos, and the very ancient xoanon of Hermes, all had to be accommodated harmoniously. Lastly the room, which would have to be found for the sacred olive and the sanctuary of Pandrosos which included the altar of Zeus Herkeios.
The architect succeeded by subtle and ingenious use of the differences in level to produce an astonishing temple which satisfied the requirements of all these cults. He respected the traditions and at the same time introduced striking innovations.
The resulting building may appear complicated at first sight, but it bears the mark of true genius and contains more original feature than any other structure in the Greek world.
It consists of three almost independent sections (the main temple, the north extension and the porch of the caryatids) with three separate roofs, and is built at four different levels. Ionic columns of three different dimensions and proportions are used, and, following an old Ionian custom, use is also made of corai as supports for the entablature - the famous...