The temple of Athena and the sanctuary of Pan
The path continues across a saddle, passing some rock cut cisterns, to another eminence a short distance to the southwest: as it rises to the top towards the sanctuary of Athena Poliouchos (‘Protectress of the city’), it passes through the propylaia of the sanctuary at its northeast corner. This would have been a square, monumental staircase block; but little beyond the plan of it is visible today. The extensive, artificial terracing of the sanctuary (50m x 20m) is clearly visible as well as the temple’s stylobate composed of large, masterfully-cut, polygonal blocks fixed to each other with bronze, ‘double-T’ clamps. All this construction dates from around the year 500 bc: the masonry possesses the dimpled finishing, typical of late Archaic work. The temple was not surrounded by a colonnade: its sides were plain, but it had porches at either end—similar in appearance to the temple of Athena at Lindos. The altar (now no more than a heap of amorphous blocks beneath a pine tree) appears to have been erected in front of the temple’s west front—not, as was normal, to the east. Just inside the north wall, can be seen the remains of the stone platform of an earlier and small er Archaic temple to Athena. Near the northeast corner is a small channel cut for drainage. On leaving from the southeast corner, a well-preserved section of the temple’s lower rampart is visible below: the lower edge of a dis lodged block near the corner, above and to the left, bears an ancient, erotic graffito of the 4th century bc, reading ‘ΣΚΥΜΝΟΣ ΚΑΛΟΣ’—‘Beautiful young puppy’ (literally a ‘lion-cub’). The view from here is also beautiful.
Facing you after 50m along the path is the *niche or ‘cave’ of Pan, cut into an eyebrow-shaped declivity in the rock. The small relief is now weathered, but a reclining Pan can still be identified, playing his syrinx to a couple of goats who listen, in the apex of a shallow, carved pediment: above two more goats, standing on rear legs, face each other over a kantharos, or wine-cup. Further above again is another cut space possibly for a votive sculpture. The relief is from the early 4th century bc, the period in which the cult of Pan was spreading more widely in the Greek world. It is hard not to see the whole ensemble—the pediment, the slightly pompous carved acroterion with goats and kantharos—as almost a parody of a temple; but a parody in a positive sense, because this god, who could sow panic and unforeseeable fear in an enemy, thrived on irreverence and unorthodoxy. After his primary role as protector of flocks and shepherds, he was also particularly associated with the work of those soldiers who patrolled the lonely and remote places where he dwelled. Hence his abode on the hillside here.
Just to the south of the summit above, there are clear signs of surface marble-quarrying; while between here and the sanctuary of Athena there are over 200m of tunnels (now not visitable) which constituted the galleries of the city’s ancient gold mine, cut into the rock below the summit and descending to a depth of 150m below the surface, with two connected entrances.
Thasos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.