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THE SANCTUARY OF POSEIDON AND AMFITRITES AT KIONIA
One of the most important sanctuary of the ancient Greek, related to the foundation and the life in the town of Tinos since the 4th century BC.
1. Building D
A small rectangular structure was built towards the end of the 2nd century
BC around an older rectangular eschara.
2. The temple of Poseidon and Amphitrite
Two successive temples stood on this site. The earlier ( late 4th century
BC) was a simple rectangular building with a porch ( pronaos) and main
room ( ceila) on a high base ( crepis). At the beginning of the 2nd century
BC a slightly larger temple was built in the same place, in the Doric
order and probably with a row of four columns at the east and the west
ends ( tetrastyle, amphiprostyle).
3. The baths C
These belong to the last building phase of the sanctuary ( 150- 200 AD). Although not completely excavated, part of the changing room ( apodyterion) can be made out as well as a cistern with the hydraulic plaster typical of the Roman period, painted in a rich red with a yellow border.
4. Building B
A large rectangular building which is interpreted as an abaton or treatment centre, as the sanctuaries of Asklepios, was connected with the worship of Poseidon as a doctor. It went though two building phases of which the first is contemporary with the older temple, The Fountain and the Hestiatorion, while the second is dated to the Roman period- beginning of the 1st century. AD.
5. The Fountain
Architecturally this building is an original creation of the Tenians
c. 300 BC. Thanks to the exemplary study and publication by A. Orlandos,
it is the best known structure in the sanctuary. Essentially it consists
of a rectangular unit, built of white and grey- blue marble and divided
into three sections. The central part is a semicircular exedra with a
bench for pilgrims to rest on. This is framed by two cisterns for drawing
water. The facade had a continuous colonnade in the Doric order with slender
columns and an epistyle with triglyphs and metopes. On the north walls
of the cisterns would have been waterspouts, perhaps in the form of lions’
heads. The roof of the exedra is consisted of flat slabs of white marble,
while the cisterns were roofed in grey- blue marble with rectangular coffers
decorated with eight- pointed stars in relief. This motif is known from
the Propylaia on the Acropolis at Athens, but was particularly popular
in Macedonia in the time of Philip II and afterwards.
6. The monumental Altar
This impressive structure, 100m2 in area, belongs to c. 100 BC. Ð-shaped, stood on a high podium, with foundations in gneiss and superstructure of white and blue- grey marble. It was decorated with representations of bulls’ heads ( bucrania), rosettes and garlands in relief. In its facade stood two groups of sculpture, portraying the struggle of Eros ( Love) with his brother Anteros, and Nikai ( Victories), works of Agasias of Ephesos.
7. The exedra of Nausion
The best preserved of the notive monuments in the sanctuary, is a semicircular pedestal ( exedra) of blue- grey marble. It lies beyond the northwest corner of the monumental alter and is roughly contemporary. According to surviving inscriptions, statues of five members of one of the leading families of Tinos were set up on the exedra.
8. The great Stoa
This was too part of the grandiose building programme of around 100 BC, when it was formed the monumental facade and southern boundary of the sanctuary. It had two faces, north and south, each with a Doric colonnade. The terracotta antefixes of the roof were decorated with dolphins and palmettes, and there may have been marble dolphins in the gable ends ( pediments).The two small parts of the stoa, that are visible today, ( at its east and west extremities) give only a rough idea of its length- 170 m. It has probably being the largest stoa in Cyclades at that time.
9. Baths N
These are dated around the end of the 1st century AD. They are not well preserved, the plan is puzzling, and it has been suggested that they were not completed.
10. Building Q
A large rectangular building of c. 300 BC whose west side was destroyed by the construction of Baths N. It is interpreted as a Hestiatorion, a place for ritual dining. North of the Hestiatorion are the kitchens, where numerous cooking vessels were found.
From all the Cyclades, Tinos was the only island that dedicated an entire sanctuary to Poseidon, the god of the sea. Beside him stood, on equal terms, Amphitrite, an exclusively marine deity who, in other sanctuaries is a shadowy presence. Marine symbols- dolphins, sea monsters, and tridents- dominated the decoration of the sanctuary. However, according to one ancient source, in Tinos, Poseidon was honoured as a doctor. This aspect of the god reflects the spirit of the Hellenistic period, when the sanctuaries of hero- doctors were particularly popular. It is worth noticing that the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios on Delos was built at the end of the 4th cent. BC extended in the 3rd.
The architecture of the sanctuary in the finest stage is marked by the
Doric order in an austere form, without decorative elaboration but with
some purely Tenian innovations of which the best example is located by
the Fountain- Exedra.