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Once, the Greek island of Rhodes was known far and wide for the Colossus of Rhodes. It was a statue of Helios, the Greek sun-god, which is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Rhodes is the largest among the Greek Dodecanese islands and has been nicknamed the 'Island of the Knights' as it was ruled between the 14th and 16th centuries by the 'Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem', a medieval Catholic military order. There is another ancient wonder, which now lies in ruins. It is the Temple of Athena Lindia.

Dedicated to the ancient Greek goddess, Athena, it was a sanctuary in the ancient times and is now an archaeological site of Lindos on the island.

Origins

Lindos was among the six cities founded by the ethnic group of Dorians, led by King Tlepolemus. The sanctuary which lies in ruins today was situated at the acropolis in this ancient city. It is believed that the site was a place of the cult of a local goddess before the construction of the temple began. During your rhodes holidays, you must definitely make a trip to this ancient sanctuary, which was excavated during the early 20th century by two Italian archaeologists, Jacopi and Maiuri. Later works of excavation were carried out by the Danish archaeologists, K.F. Kinch and Chr. Blinkengerg. The first temple dates back to the 6th century BC and is believed to have been built by Cleobulus, who was among the seven sages of Greece. It was burned in 342 BC and a new temple was built in late 4th century BC.

The mythology behind the temple

It is said that when goddess Athena was born from the head of Zeus, gold had rained on the island of Rhodes. According to the local legends, the temple was founded by Danaus, the mythical king of Libya, and his fifty daughters, known as the Danaides. As an act of gratitude for Athena's assistance in helping him build a ship, Danaus dedicated a statue to her. He had built this ship for him and his daughters to escape the attack from the sons of Aigyptos, a mythical king of Egypt. This temple was described in the works of an ancient Greek lyric poet, Pindar, during the 5th century BC. It points out to the fact that this temple is quite old and was of great importance in those times.

Historical description of the cult

The cult of Athena on the island of Rhodes was somewhat different from the same cult in other parts of Greece. The rituals of sacrifice that they carried out involved burning the internal organs of the sacrificial animals on the altar. The 3rd-century writer, Philostratus the Elder, had described the sacrifice offered by the Athenians and Rhodians on the occasion of Athena's birth. According to him, the people of Athens made sacrifices using fire, while the people of Rhodes offered fireless sacrifices. The belief of Athenians in those times was that goddess Athena came to those who made excellent sacrifices on the fire. Rhodians believed that they and their homes would be blessed with gold flowing from heavens if they made their fireless sacrifices to Athena.

Also read: Find an Abundance of History and Nature in Rhodes