Dedication by Alexander the Great to Athena Polias

Greek, around 330 BC
From Priene, Asia Minor

In 336 BC Alexander the Great embarked on a programme of territorial expansion, which would eventually extend the boundaries of the Greek world to Egypt in the south and to India in the East. In 334 BC Alexander crossed the Hellespont, the narrow strait separating Europe and Asia, and went first to Troy. There he dedicated his armour to Athena and laid a wreath at the tomb of Achilles, the legendary hero and champion of the Greeks in the Trojan War. This act prefigured Alexander's role as a new Achilles liberating the Greek cities of Asia Minor from Asiatic rule.

That same summer of 334 BC, a successful engagement with the Persian army at the river Granicus, east of Troy, opened the gates of Asia Minor, and Alexander proceeded to tour the Greek cities of the west coast, expelling their Persian garrisons.

On reaching Priene, he made a further dedication to Athena. There the townspeople were laying out their new city and building a temple to its patron goddess. Alexander offered funds to complete the temple, and the inscription on this wall block, cut into a block of marble, records his gift. The inscription was found in the nineteenth century by the architect-archaeologist Richard Pullan leading an expedition on behalf of the Society of Dilettanti. It reads: 'King Alexander dedicated the Temple to Athena Polias'.

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More information

Bibliography

B.F. Cook, Greek inscriptions (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)

Dimensions

Length: 120.500 cm
Width: 49.500 cm
Height: 1.250 m
Width: 49.500 cm
Thickness: 48.250 cm

Museum number

GR 1870.3-20.88 (Inscription 399 and 400)

GAA33043;GAA9319

Location

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