The bronze cut-out relief depicting the mythical Gorgon, displayed in a separate case, marks the transformation of the Acropolis from a palace centre to a sanctuary. By the end of the 8th century BC, the institution of hereditary kingship had been weakened and power transferred to a small group of aristocrats. The new leaders relocated their centre of administration to the northeast slope of the Rock, thus turning the summit of the Acropolis into a place for worshipping the gods. In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, on the site of the former palace, there arose a small brick-walled temple dedicated to the city’s patroness, Athena Polias, and to the mythical king Erechtheus. The cut-out Gorgon relief appears to have belonged to the decoration of this temple.
At the same time, there was probably another brick-walled temple, on the spot of the later Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess in her warrior aspect as Pallas Athena or Athena Parthenos. Athenian aristocrats of the era dedicated large vessels on tripod bases at these temples, portions of which are presented in the first floor’s wall-mounted display cases.
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