Information about the place ZOSTIR (Cape) VOULIAGMENI - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Zoster

From Strabo's description of the demes, capes, and islands between Peiraeus and Sounion (9.1.21), Zoster can be securely identified as the promontory that juts into the sea at modern Vouliagmeni, in essence the S point of Hymettos. Of the three tongues that constitute the headland, only the central one, Mikro Kavouri, corresponds to Stephanos' precise description of Zoster as a peninsula (s.v. Zoster). Thus it appears that, although the name Zoster was applied generally to the whole cape, as for example by Herodotos (8.107), it was also used in a narrow sense to refer only to the projection that forms the E side of the deep bay in front of Vouliagmeni. A reason for this focus is not hard to find. According to Pausanias (1.31.1) it was at Zoster that Leto "loosened her girdle with a view to her delivery," and that there was an Altar of Athena, Apollo, Artemis, and Leto.
  Archaeological discoveries have confirmed the special character of the central promontory. At the neck of the peninsula, in the so-called Laimos where the spit of land is so low that it is easily flooded, remains have been recovered of a small sanctuary, dedicated, as is known from several inscriptions, to Apollo of Zoster. The temple was originally built about 500 B.C. and consisted of a sekos only, later partitioned to make two rooms of unequal size, to which was added, no earlier than the second half of the 4th c., a peristyle of unfluted columns, 4 x 6, each set on its own base with no connecting stylobate. Within the front part of the cella were found three marble bases, a table, a throne, and a fragment of a votive fluted column preserving the beginning and end of an inscribed distych in honor of golden-haired Apollo. To the E of the temple on its axis are the foundations of a large rectangular altar. As the inscriptions show, the sanctuary was administered by the demesmen of Halai (Aixonides).
  One hundred and fifty m to the N of the sanctuary, directly above the shore road, are the remains of a large rectangular building that at the time of its construction, about 500 B.C., contained a tower, gateroom, enclosed courtyard, colonnade, and, behind, three rooms. By the end of the 4th c., however, this spacious design had gradually given way to one that involved the creation of several additional small rooms, particularly at the expense of the colonnade. Because this building does not seem to be part of a community, and because it is so close in place and time to the sanctuary, it has been interpreted as the house for the priest and, after the remodeling, as a sort of katagogion for those visiting the sanctuary. Some of the finds made within the house can also be used to suggest such an identification.
  Immediately S of the Sanctuary of Apollo on the first of the peninsula's several hills is the Astir resort with its hotel and bungalows. Prior to its completion, emergency excavations had revealed the presence on this wooded hill of houses of the Early Helladic period and a fort with rubble walls strengthened by towers. It is unlikely that the latter is prehistoric. More plausibly it should be associated with coins of Ptolemy II also from Cape Zoster, and be included among the several fortifications in Attika known to belong to the times of the Chremonidean War.

C.W.J. Eliot, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited August 2004 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 4 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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