The portico of the Athenians

Τhe Polygonal wall and part of the Portico of the Athenians
© Ephorate of Antiquities of Phocis, Ministry of Culture and Sports

 Portico from the classical period, built by the Athenians under the temple of Apollo in front of the polygonal wall after 478 B.C., when the Persian danger had been finally averted. The portico was a simple building constructed against the polygonal wall which supported the terrace of the temple of Apollo and was used for setting up ex-votos, mostly items from spoils of war.

The Portico of the Athenians is a building erected against the polygonal retaining wall of the terrace of the temple of Apollo. The monument has been identified with certainty due to the inscription of the stylobate: Ἀθεναῖοι ἀνέθεσαν τὲν στοὰν καί τὰ ℎόπλ̣α καὶ τἀκροτέρια ℎελόντες το̃ν πολεμίον [The Athenians dedicated the portico and the ropes and the figure heads of the ships that they snatched from the enemies].
The portico was built in the Ionic order, using as a wall on its back side the polygonal wall supporting the temple. On the façade it has seven monolithic fluted columns made of Pentelic marble with bases made of Parian marble, 3.31 meters high; a dense row of pillars leaned against the polygonal wall at the back. The total length of the building was 26.5 meters and the width was 3.10 meters. The large openings between the columns allowed ample light into the building, which was probably covered with a wooden roof and was lying on a stylobate consisting of three steps. Τhe lower part of the monument as well as the restored colonnade is extant today. Holes on the rear wall attest to the existence of wooden poles which probably supported the roof. In the space between them one discerns manumission inscriptions.

Pausanias reports that the portico of the Athenians sheltered the ex-votos which the Athenians seized as booty during the first three years of the Peloponnesian War. However, the letter style as well as the dating of the building does not support this view of Pausanias; the prevailing view is that the building must have been constructed between 480 and 450 B.C., and was thus used for dedicating booty which the Athenians seized during the Fifty-Year period and the Peloponnesian War. Most probably, however, the portico was constructed after the naval victories against the Persians at Mycale and Sestos in 478 B.C.

Text - Translation: Dr. Aphrodite Kamara, Historian