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Plan of the sanctuary of Brauron around 400 BC Chr.

Brauron ( ancient Greek Βραυρών ) is an ancient cult site of Artemis on the east coast of Attica , about at the height of Athens .


The place had been settled since the Neolithic Age (3500 BC), its importance in prehistoric times was probably mainly due to its natural harbor and the favorable location to the Cyclades and Asia Minor . A further rise of the place can be proven up to the Mycenaean period (approx. 1600–1100 BC), after which it was possibly even abandoned for unknown reasons. Two hundred years later it was revived, another 200 years later (700 BC) the sanctuary began its heyday, which began around 300 BC. Ends after a flood.

Around 600 BC The later Athenian tyrant Peisistratos was born in Brauron on the estate of his father Hippocrates and later returned to Brauron at least once after a failed takeover of power in Athens.

According to local tradition, Brauron was considered the place where the Greek fleet gathered to sail to Troy and where Iphigenia was sacrificed (see Trojan War ).

Buildings in the sanctuary

The Doric temple covered an area of ​​19.20 × 10.35 m and was the highest building. Only the foundations of the building have been preserved. Remains of an older temple were suspected due to ancient rock carvings on the terrace on which the small chapel of St. George is today. The altar required for the cult was assumed to be in the area east of the younger temple, but could not be proven archaeologically.

The largest building in the sanctuary is the so-called "Stoa of the Arktoi" or "Bärinnenhalle", which measures around 60 × 80 m and has the shape of the letter Pi. At the rear of the halls, to the west and north, there were rooms with a mostly square floor plan. After inserting into the floor of the rooms, they were originally furnished with a total of 99 wooden Klinen (dining sofas). The building was therefore used to accommodate banquet parties for the feast that followed the ritual sacrifice. In the north hall, numerous statues of girls and boys between the ages of ten and twelve were found in the entrance area of ​​the rooms. A narrow courtyard adjoining the north side of the hall building was presumably used to store vestments, which were of great importance as dedications.

The construction was not completed: the porticoed halls in the east and west were not implemented. Since the hall construction due to the shape of its capitals in the late 5th century BC. It is believed that the demolition of the construction work with Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. Went hand in hand.

The tomb of Iphigenia, who had returned from Tauris to Brauron, was also shown in the sanctuary . The excavators suspected this to be in the area of ​​a collapsed grotto with various ancient fixtures. Iphigenia was associated with Hecate . The robes of the women who died in childbirth were offered to them; of the goddess Artemis, on the other hand, the robes of women whose birth was successful.

Other buildings belonging to the sanctuary are from an inscription from the 4th century BC. Known, including a gymnasium, a building called Amphipoleion and stables. The identification of these buildings with the existing buildings known from excavations is unlikely; the facilities were probably located away from the central sanctuary area.


In Brauron noble girls spent some time as arktoi ("bears"), u. a. with dance, races and the art of weaving. Here they were prepared for their role as adult women. A decision from Athens is known from the 4th century, according to which all girls had to be arktoi in Brauron. Arkteia was the name of an initiation ritual for girls before puberty in which the arktoi participated. They were also obliged to take part in the breweries that took place every four years. The girls remained in the service of the goddess until they reached the age of bride.

The Brauronia were a big festival with musical and equestrian competitions. Cult dances of the girls took place around the altar in front of the temple, as shown by clay craters from the 5th century. The sacred hunt of Artemis was also performed as a mystery play. The pond reliefs show Artemis as the old "mistress of the animals", the prehistoric, female deity of nature, fertility, life and death. Bulls were usually sacrificed.

Smaller, local festivals were celebrated every year. In addition to the great Brauronia, a great noisy pageant started from the Brauronion on the Acropolis in Athens.


  • Arthur Milchhoefer : Brauron . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume III, 1, Stuttgart 1897, Col. 822-824.
  • Charalambos Bouras: Ἡ Ἀναστήλωσις τῆς στοᾶς τῆς Βραυρῶνος. Athens 1967.
  • Petros G. Themelis: Brauron - Guide to the sanctuary and museum. Apollo Publishing House, Athens, undated
  • Jan N. Bremmer : Gods, Myths and Sanctuaries in Ancient Greece. Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-548-26537-5 , pp.?
  • B. Gentili, F. Perusino (eds.): Le orse die Brauron. Un rituale di iniziazione femminile nel santuario di Artemide. Pisa 2002
  • Giorgos Despinis : The cult statues of Artemis in Brauron. In: Athenische Mitteilungen 119, 2004, 261–315.
  • Hans Rupprecht Goette : Thoughts on the topothesis of buildings in ancient Brauron. In: Archäologischer Anzeiger 2005/1, 25–38.

Web links

Commons : Brauron  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Rupprecht Goette: Thoughts on the topothesis of buildings in ancient Brauron. In: Archäologischer Anzeiger 2005/1, p. 26 f.
  2. Charalambos Bouras: Ἡ Ἀναστήλωσις τῆς στοᾶς τῆς Βραυρῶνος. Athens 1967, p. 12.
  3. Concerning hall construction, including Charalambos Bouras: Ἡ Ἀναστήλωσις τῆς στοᾶς τῆς Βραυρῶνος. Athens 1967.
  4. Christina Leypold: Banquet building in Greek sanctuaries. Reichert, Wiesbaden 2008, p.?.
  5. Charalambos Bouras: Ἡ Ἀναστήλωσις τῆς στοᾶς τῆς Βραυρῶνος. Athens 1967.
  6. ^ Ioannis Travlos : Pictorial dictionary on the topography of the ancient Attica. Wasmuth, Tübingen 1988, p.?.
  7. Euripides , Iphigenie auf Tauris 1462–1467.
  8. Ioannis Papadimitriou , in: Praktika 1957, p. 44 f.
  9. Hans Rupprecht Goette: Thoughts on the topothesis of buildings in ancient Brauron. In: Archäologischer Anzeiger 2005/1, pp. 25–38.

Coordinates: 37 ° 55 ′ 35 ″  N , 23 ° 59 ′ 37 ″  E