Drawing of the Temple of Aphaia by Charles Robert Cockerell, 1811

  • Aegina is named for a nymph who was pursued to that location by Zeus

    • her son from this union was Aeacus, who later became king of the island and fathered Telamon and Peleus
      • Telamon was the father of Ajax, and Peleus fathered Achilles
    • after a plague killed many inhabitants of the island, Aeacus asked Zeus for more citizens
      • Zeus turned ants into humans, who were called the Myrmidons (“ant people”)

    • Aphaia (“without light”) was a minor goddess, apparently worshipped only on the island of Aegina

    • Pausanias wrote the following about Aphaia:

      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 threw 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 (Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.30.3).

    • Aphaia came to be identified as Athena and, sometimes, Artemis

    • the temple we see today was built ca. 500 B. C.
    • it replaced a temple of ca. 570, which was destroyed by fire ca. 510
    • was converted to a Christian church sometime before A. D. 600
      • then was remodeled ca. A. D. 700

    • the temple is Doric in style

Plan and cutaway drawing
of the Temple of Aphaia

  • in 1811, Charles Robert Cockerell and Baron Otto Magnus von Stackelberg removed the fragmentary pediment sculptures
    • Cockerell was also instrumental in the removal of the friezes of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae

  • in 1812, the marbles were sold to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who later became king

  • the marbles are now in the Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek in Munich, Germany

So-called “Dying warrior” (fallen Trojan warrior, probably Laomedon), figure E-XI of the east pediment of the temple, ca. 505 - 500 B. C.