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The Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods in Marathon MaikidouPoutrino, Dafni


To the south of the Marathon plain, in the little marsh known as Mikro Elos or Brexiza, between the Agrieliki mountain and the sea, and at the borders between the modern villages of Marathon and Nea Makri, lies the so-called Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods. The sanctuary has the form of a precinct and consists of two connected courtyards built in a marshy area with manmade canals. The main court consists of the temple enclosed by an almost quadrilateral peribolos. In the middle of each side, oriented to the four cardinal points, there is an entrance in the form of an Egyptian pylon. Each doorway is framed by four statues – two male and two female – on high bases. The four statues that decorated each entrance pylon, two internally and two externally, represent Isis and Osiris. This combination of male and female creates an arrangement that emphasizes the Egyptian origins of the cult, reminiscent of the reliefs in the pylons of the Egyptian temples. These entrances lead through a paved walkway to the central construction of the sanctuary, a terrace with a cryptoporticus and an upper structure probably in the shape of a pyramid, perhaps alluding to the formation of an Egyptian landscape. Herodes Atticus was the man that commissioned the building of the sanctuary in the mid-second century CE and, according to Philostratus, facilitated his teaching and philosophical activities in the area. The sanctuary preserves representations of Isis, Osiris, Horus as a falcon, sphinxes but also busts of the emperors Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius. In addition, the presence of large ritual lamps attests to processions and rituals in order to honor the deities.

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Attribution 4.0 International