The temple of Aphaia, Aegina:
The sanctuary of Aphaia in Aegina lies above the headland of Ayia Marina on a hill offering a panoramic view over the sea. Worship on the site of the sanctuary goes back to prehistoric times, around 1300 B.C, when it was associated with a female fertility deity, as is clear from finds brought to light by archaeological excavations.
It was originally thought that the temple of Aphaia was built in honour of Athena, whose figure dominated the two pediments of the temple. During excavations by German archaeologists in 1901, however, an inscription was found referring to the name of the local goddess Apha (Aphaia), making it clear that the temple was dedicated to Aphaia and not Athena.
According to myth, Aphaia, who is identified with Britomartis, daughter of Zeus and Karme, was loved by Minos and to escape his attention, jumped into the sea and emerged in Aegina, where she became “invisible” (άφαντη/αφαία, unseen) in a grove. She hid in a cave, probably the one on the north-east corner of the Archaic enclosure, in which many terracotta figurines and other votive objects dating from the Mycenaean period have been found.
In historical times, three temples were built in different periods on the same site near the area associated with the prehistoric cult. Of the first temple, which is dated to the early 6th century BC, only traces of the foundations survive. The second temple was larger, with an altar in the front of the east side. The surviving temple is the third, which was built in about 500 B.C.
The pediments of the temple of Aphaia, which are dated to 490/480 BC, were adorned with scenes from battles fought inTroy and watched by Athena, whose figure was the predominant one at the center of both pediments. The east pediment depicted the campaign of Herakles against king Laomedon, and the west the Greek expedition under Agamemnon against Priam’s Troy. Part of the east pediment was destroyed during the Persian Wars, possibly from a thunderbolt.
The statues that survived were set up in the sanctuary enclosure and those that were destroyed were buried according to the ancient custom (in general old votive offerings and other objects of worship that had been weathered down, were not discarded, they were either buried, stored, or even “built in” the foundations of the temples).
The old composition was replaced by a new one with a battle scene featuring Athena at the center. The pedimental sculptures were excavated in 1811 by Baron von Hallerstein and the architect C.R. Cockerell. They were put up in auction in Italy and purchased in 1813* by Ludwig I, king of Bavaria and father of Otto, first king of Greece. They were raken to the Glyptothek in Munich, where they have been on display ever since. Parts of the destroyed east pediment were found furing Furtwangler’s excavation and are now displayed in the National Archaeological Museum, in Athens.
Texts by L. Katsa
Part of the “reasons” listed by foreign museums that forbid the return of artifacts belonging to monuments, is that they have been owned by them for two centuries more or less. However, the greek state still paid off loans plus interest that were taken during the greek war of independence- that is before the existence of the official greek state- well into the 20th century*. Because of these loans greek lands had been mortgaged to foreing banks, and it was impossible for these lands to be redistributed to farmers. And what’s even more is that despite that Greece had loaned a certain amount, it actually received roughly a little over 50% of these money. The state still paid off however the whole amount plus interest on the 100%. So personally, I don’t see how we can both owe and pay off money we never received two centuries ago, but parts of monuments that belonged to Greece for over 2 milleniums can’t be owed to us.
So whenever you hear about the greek debt just replace everything with Greece
was the best client of foreign banks for two centuries, and circa 2010
when there was a chance we wouldn’t owe as much we had to have an
artificial crisis so we can owe money for two centuries to come. And whenever you hear about greek artifacts belonging more to foreign museums than Greeks just replace everything with Non-Greeks that don’t live in Greece believe that Greeks in Greece are not greek enough to have greek stuff from Greece.
*I was born in the 20th century, for all you youngsters.