Origin of ErechtheumClassical Greek Erechtheion from Erechtheus, literally , the render, a mythical king of Athens supposedly entombed there from erechthein, to rend, break from Indo-European base an unverified form rekth-, to harm from source Sanskrit ráksas-, torment
temple on the Acropolis in Athens, built 5th cent. : it contains famous examples of Ionic architecture
- The various approaches to the citadel on the northern side - the rock-cut flight of steps north-east of the Erechtheum, the stairs leading to the well Clepsydra, and the intermediate passage supposed to have furnished access to the Persians - are all to be attributed to the primitive epoch.
- According to DBrpfeld, this was the " old temple " of Athena Polias, frequently mentioned in literature and inscriptions, in which was housed the most holy image (oavov) of the goddess which fell from heaven; it was burnt, but not completely destroyed, during the Persian War, and some of its external decorations were afterwards built into the north wall of the Acropolis; it was subsequently restored, he thinks, with or without its colonnade - in the former case a portion of the peristyle must have been removed when the Erechtheum was built so as to make room for the porch of the maidens; the building was set on fire in 406 B.C. (Xen.
- Frazer maintains the hitherto current theory that the earlier temple of Athena and Erechtheus was on the site of the Erechtheum; that the Erechtheum inherited the name apXa ios veclis from its predecessor, and that the " opisthodomos " in which the treasures were kept was the west chamber of the Parthenon; Furtwangler and Milchh6fer hold the strange view that the " opisthodomos " was a separate building at the east end of the Acropolis, while Penrose thinks the building discovered by Dorpfeld was possibly the Cecropeum.
- The removal of the ancient temple was undoubtedly intended when the Erechtheum was built, but superstition and popular feeling may have prevented its demolition and the removal of the, 6avov to the new edifice.
- The Parthenon, the Erechtheum, the " Theseum " and other temples were converted into Christian churches and were thus preserved throughout the middle ages.