These elegant women carved from marble combined to form one of the iconic images of the Acropolis in Classical Athens. They are the Caryatids who stand in place of pillars to support the south porch of the Erechtheion temple. This intricate temple with its picturesque statues was built during the Classical Age of Greece, and still holds a lofty position on the northern edge of the Acropolis. From its porches you can see a fabulous panorama embracing the heart of Athens which is spread out below.
The Caryatids were inspired by the maidens who danced and served at the temple of Artemis in the town of Karyai. Strangely enough, this town was in Laconia, under the control of Sparta—which at that time was Athens’ greatest rival. Yet the compelling love of Greek traditions and culture bound the Athenians and people of Karyai together more closely than any rivalry could keep them apart. This was all part of the complexity, mystery and beauty of ancient Greece.
(image by Steven Zucker cc-by-nc-sa-2.0)