Temple of Ares

Just north of the Odeion lie the ruins of a building identified by Pausanias as a temple of Ares (Figs. 56, 57). The foundations are of Early Roman construction and date, but the marble pieces of the superstructure, now assembled at the western end of the temple platform, are of the 5th century B.C. They can be restored as a Doric peripteral temple, close in plan, date, and size to the Hephaisteion [5]. Roman masons’ marks carved on the blocks indicate that the temple originally stood elsewhere, was carefully taken apart with all the pieces labelled, and then reerected on the new foundations built for it in the Agora. This is the best example of a phenomenon known as "wandering temples," of which there are several similar examples in the Agora, dating to the early years of the Roman empire. Outstanding examples of Classical architecture were brought in from the outlying villages (demes) of Attica, largely deserted at this period, and reused in downtown Athens, presumably for the worship of deified Roman emperors; it was a relatively cheap and effective way to honor the new order. The probable origin of the Ares temple architecture is the sanctuary of Athena Pallenis (at modern Stavro), where large foundations for a temple have been found but with no trace of any superstructure.

Figure 56. Plan of the Temple of Ares, second half of 5th century B.C., rebuilt in the Agora in the late 1st century B.C.
Figure 57. Architectural remains of the Temple of Ares.
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).