Philopappos Monument (Filopappou)

According to Pausanias, an ancient traveler writer of the 2nd c.AD, the highest of the three Hills west of Acropolis was named after Mousaios poet who lived, taught and buried there.

The rock out square to the northeast of the summit, which affords niches for statues, benches and alters for offerings is claimed to belong to the funeral monument of Mousaios. It is more probable, however that the hill took its name from a sanctuary of the Muses to whom the hill must have been dedicated.

The prevalent and commanding position of the hill of the Muses directly across the Acropolis, was the stronghold of the Athenians who, according to myth, fought against the Amazons. Throughout the ages it was used as a fortress of primary strategic significance during major military operations.

In the 5th c. BC the Athenians incorporated the hill within the Themistoklean fortification, whereas the Diateichisma was constructed on its summit in the 4th c. BC. In 294 BC Demetrius

Poliorketes had a small fort built, known as the Macedonian fort, annexing the Diateichisma wall, where he installed a garrison to guard the city.

In the 2nd century AD a burial monument 12 m. in height was erected on the hill of Muses, which has since prevailed over the area. It takes its name from its founder Gaios Julius Philopappos, prince of Kommagene of Upper Syria and benefactor of Athens.

This monument was made of Pentelic marble on a porous shelf (krepis). Its monumental curved facade facing Acropolis is divided in two zones. Upper zone comprises three deep niches to support seated statues. In the central niche, Philopappos headless depicted sitting on a throne with the inscription “Philopappos, son of King Antiochos”, the fragmentary figure of Philopappos’ grandfather is portrayed. According to inscription who survived till 15th c. the founder of Seleucid dynasty “King Seleucus, son of Antiochos, Nikator” was depicting Philopappos on a quadriga flanked by licktors (verger). The burial chamber in the form of a very small temple which housed Philopappos sarcophagus was behind the monument.

The monument survived intact until the 15th c.but gradually fell victim to vandalism and deterioration of natural and climatic phenomena. It was partly restored in 1904 by civil engineer N.Balanos.

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