Temple of Aphaea, Aegina, Greece

Aphaea  was a Greek goddess who was worshipped exclusively at this sanctuary. The extant temple of c. 500 BC was built over the remains of an earlier temple of c. 570 BC, which was destroyed by fire c. 510 BC. The elements of this destroyed temple were buried in the infill for the larger, flat terrace of the later temple, and are thus well preserved.

Aphaea originated as early as the 14th century BC as a local deity associated with fertility and the agricultural cycle. Under Athenian hegemony, however, she came to be identified with the goddesses Athena and Artemis and with the nymph Britomartis as well, by the 2nd century AD, the time of Pausanias:

"On Aigina as one goes toward the mountain of Pan-Greek Zeus, the sanctuary of Aphaia comes up, for whom Pindar composed an ode at the behest of the Aeginetans. The Cretans say (the myths about her are native to Crete) that Euboulos was the son of Kharmanor, who purified Apollo of the killing of the Python, and they say that Britomartis was the daughter of Zeus and Kharme (the daughter of this Euboulos). She enjoyed races and hunts and was particularly dear to Artemis. While fleeing from Minos, who lusted after her, she cast herself into nets cast for a catch of fish. Artemis made her a goddess, and not only the Cretans but also the Aeginetans revere her. The Aeginetans say that Britomartis showed herself to them on their island. Her epithet among the Aeginetans is Aphaia, and it is Diktynna of the Nets on Crete." Description of Greece 2.30.3

The temple is located within a sanctuary complex dedicated to the goddess Aphaea on the Greek island of Aegina, which lies in the Saronic Gulf.

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