Cape Sounion is the southernmost promontory of the Attica peninsula. It was used approximately from the 7th century BC. At the very peak of the rocky promontory, there used to stand the huge Temple of Poseidon. It was probably destroyed in 480 BC by Persian forces during Xerxes’ incursion to Greece. After Xerxes was defeated in the Battle of Salamis, parts of his triremes were used as a trophy to decorate the Temple of Poseidon. The temple was restored during the years of Pericles’ rule (approx. 440 BC). One can admire its imposing Doric columns till nowadays.
During the Peloponnesian wars against Sparta, due to its strategic position, Cape Sounion was fortified with huge ramparts that were guarded day and night.
Cape Sounion legend
As a volunteer, Theseus, the son of the Athenes king Aegeus, became part of a group of 7 young men and 7 girls who were sent to Crete as a subject fee. The king of Crete, Minos, sent them to a labyrinth, where they were devoured by his son Minotaur, half men - half bull.
Theseus agreed with his father that if he managed to defeat Minotaur and he came back home alive, he would raise a white flag. If he died on Crete, his ship would come back with a black flag. Yet for the joy of beating Minotaur, he forgot about the agreement with his father. The king Aegeus was coming to Cape Sounion, watching his son’s ship with fear. When he saw the black flag, he threw himself from the rock to the sea out of despair. To pay tribute to him, this part of the Mediterranean was named the Aegean Sea.