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Pausanias Description

 

 

Sikyon map with buildings

1. Stazousa
2. Gate
3. Hellenistic Acropolis
4. Foundation. Tyche Akraia?
5. Dioskouroi Temple?
6. Theater
7. Temple of Dionysos
8. Temple of Artemis Limnaia
9. Entrance to Agora
10. Agora
11. Sanctuary of Peithou
12. House of Kleon
13. Temple of Apollo
14. Heroon of Aratos
15. Isthmian Poseidon
16. Zeus Meilichios
17. Artemis Patroa
18. Bouleuterion
19. Stoa
20. Zeus Of Lysippos
21. Statue of Artemis
22. Apollo Lykeios
23. Herakles by Lysippos
24. Hermes Agoraios
25. Gymnasium Agora's
26. Sanctuary of Herakles
(Paidizoi)
27. Sanctuary of Asklepios
28. Apollo Karneios and Hypnos
29. Sanctuary of Aphrodite
30. Artemis Pheraia
31. Gymnasium of Kleinias
32. Roman Baths (Museum)
33. Stadium
34. Building foundations
35. Possible Entrance
36. Ancient Acropolis
37. Sacred Gate
38. Temple of Athena
39. Apotropaioi Theoi
40. Sanctuary of Apollo and Artemis
41. Sanctuary of Hera
42. Altars of Pan and Helios
43. Sanctuary of Demeter
44. Temple of Karneian Apollo
45. Hera Pioneer
46. Bronze Site
47. Section of Wall
48. Tower
49. Moulki
50. West of Asopos
51. Vasiliko
52. Asopos River
53. Helisson River
54. Tsagriza
* Red numbers are identified with known objects.

 

 

The Greek traveler, geographer, Pausanias from Magnesia (115-180 AD), visited Sikyon around 150 AD. In his books gives not only his personal observations on monuments of art and architecture but also topographical and historical information, as well the religious cults and the opinion of the natives of the places he visited. Later in his life, he settled in Rome, where he composed from his notes the "Periegesis" (Tour of Greece) in ten books. In book II describes Corinth and Sikyon. The accuracy of his descriptions have been proved correct.

Pausanias came to Sikyon from Corinth. Close to the Gate of the city, he saw a spring whose water was coming from the roof of a cave, the so-called "Stazousa" (dripping spring).
Many suggestions have been made about the location of the spring. In our opinion this place is where the spring of Mikri Brysi is today and here are some arguments:
In the eastern plateau they were two possible entrances, as still are today, the way Pausanias was coming. The Sacred Gate and the way to the plateau from Mikri Brysi. Since he did not enter from the Sacred Gate, which he mentions only later in his description, the one left ought to be near the spring of Mikri Brysi, where there is a path still today (Saint Athanasios) to ascend to the plateau.  This explains why he starts his description from the Hellenistic Acropolis.
Any other entrance must be rejected. A possible entrance of Pausanias from the northwest side of the plateau, must be dismissed, the reason being there are no springs and caves there, second he would have seen the Stadium, which he does not mention and third it is an unnatural entrance because Pausanias was coming from the east (Corinth), not the west. Another possible site for an entrance, a gully in the middle of the eastern plateau, not exactly in his way, it has a large cave, but it is too steep and difficult to ascend and if Pausanias came through here, he would had start his description from the Agora and not from the Hellenistic Acropolis.
Pausanias begins his description from the Hellenistic Acropolis where he finds the temple of Tyche Akraia and a little further the Dioscouroi Temple. The statues of them both were made from wood.
Descending from the Acropolis, he came to the Theater and in the stage he saw a statue of Aratos, son of Kleinias, holding a shield.
From there, he visited the nearby Temple of Dionysos whose statue was made of gold and ivory and at his sides were Bakchai of white marble.
Walking towards the market, at his right, he saw the ruined temple of Artemis Limnaia, a very ancient temple. This is identified today with the excavated ruins of a temple opposite to the Roman baths. The name given to Artemis "Limnaia" indicates, that at these times there was abundant water on the plateau, as also the drainage of the Theater suggests. Diodoros confirms this.
In a sort distance from the temple of Artemis and at the entrance in Agora, there was the sanctuary of Peitho, the so-called later "Phobos" place, where Apollo and Artemis came after killing the Python at Delphi. The next to it temenos of Roman emperors, was once the house of tyrant Kleon.
TheTemple of Apollo in the market, where the ceremony from the river Sythas was ended, had been founded by Proetos, for the sake of his daughters recovering from madness. Inside the temple in older times they were kept various precious objects.
Close to "Phobos" place was the Heroon of Aratos. Pausanias now walking through Agora, he saw the Altar of Isthmian Poseidon and close to it the statues of Zeus Meilichios and Artemis Patroa, both of them made symbolically, Zeus in the shape of pyramid and Artemis as a column.
BouleuterionFrom there he went to the close-by Bouleuterion. Excavations today shows us, that it was a big square building (40m x 41m), having sixteen columns in the interior for the support of the roof. At later times it was used as baths.
Next to it there was a big Stoa, which Pausanias tell us that was a dedication by Kleisthenes from the plunders of the sacred war. The building whose excavations have been made dates from Hellenistic times and Pausanias can't be correct unless the building had been rebuild. The dimensions of the building were 106m x 6m and had 47 Doric columns and in the interior 24 Ionic columns. Inside it they were 20 rooms of same size which they were used as shopping stores.
It was near here that the enormous bronze statue of Zeus was standing made by Lysippos and next to it a gilded Artemis and close to them the ruined from fire, very old temple of Apollo Lykeios. Inside it was kept the bark of the log with which Apollo helped the Sikyonians to poison the wolves. It was also here that the bronze statues of the daughters of Proetos were standing.
The last statues Pausanias describes in the Agora is the colossal bronze Herakles (Resting) made by Lysippos at 320 BC, at the age of seventy years old and Hermes Agoraios.
Pausanias continues his description by visiting the Gymnasium of Agora's, in which another Herakles made by Skopas stood, nearby was the sanctuary of Herakles whose perivolos was known as "Paidizoi", a place for children to play. Herakles statue had been made from wood, by Laphaes of Phleious in very ancient times.
A little further was the sanctuary of Asklepios, whose temple contained the chryselephantine statue of the God made by Kalamis of Sikyon. Inside the sanctuary there was also another temple shared by Apollo Karneios and Hypnos, whose only his head had survived at this time. Pausanias was unable to see the statue of Apollo Karneios because it was forbidden to anyone to enter, except priests.
There was another sanctuary near the Asklepios, the sanctuary of Aphrodite, which also contained a chryselephantine statue of the goddess made by Kanachos of Sikyon. It was in the yard of the temple that the rare plant "Paidairos" was growing from which the famous garlands "Iakchoi" were made. Pausanias was told by the Sikyonians that it could grow here and nowhere else. Inside the sanctuary was also a statue of Antiope the mother of Amphion and Zethos, the son of Sikyonian king Epopeos.
Pausanias ascending to the Gymnasium of Kleinias, on his right saw the sanctuary of Artemis Pheraia, the statue of goddess made of wood had been brought from Pherai and in the Gymnasium the busts of Herakles and Artemis.
Lastly Pausanias moved towards the Sacred Gate to the eastern site of the plateau, where the main part of the Ancient Acropolis was.  The first building he visited near the gate was that of Athena, a very large temple, which had been founded by Epopeos and who had been buried in the front of the altar. By this time the temple had been destroyed and only the altar had remained.
Close to the grave of Epopeos were the "Apotropaioi Theoi" (the averters of misfortunes). The neighboring sanctuary of Apollo and Artemis was also made by Epopeos.
The near them sanctuary of Hera had been made by Adrastos. Pausanias did not see any images in both of them. Behind the sanctuary of Hera was an altar to Pan and one to Helios (Sun) made of white marble.
Pausanias now descended from the plateau to the slope, to see the sanctuary of Demeter which had been founded by Plemnaeis as a thank-offering to the goddess for the rearing of his son.
He ascended back to the plateau and near the sanctuary of Hera saw the temple of Karneian Apollo. Only the pillars were standing as also in the temple of Hera Prodromia (Hera Pioneer) which was founded by Phalkes, son of Temenos, who asserted that Hera guide him on the road to Sikyon.
From here Pausanias left the city and traveled to Titane.

 

 

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