The altar of Dionysus is a typical example of a Hellenistic altar, P-shaped.
It dates back to the 2nd century. BC X., which was a time of prosperity and intense building activity in the city of Kos, probably with financing from the kings of Pergamum, allies of Kos. The altar was damaged during the earthquake of 142 AD and was partially repaired. Some of its architectural members were used as building material by the Knights of Ioannina for the construction of the castle.
In contact with the inner oblong side of the altar was the altar bench, while in front of it there was a low step, the chancel. A relief frieze above the bench decorated the interior of the altar. Access to the altar was from the west side via an inclined level (ramp).
The altar was decorated on its entire outer side, on the ends of its narrow sides and on its inner sides from its entrance to the raised table (bench). The performances of the frieze include scenes of an Amazon battle and a Dionysian troupe, with satyrs, maenads, papposileines, etc. The frieze dates back to the second half of the 2nd century BC and is kept in the Castle of Kos. From the altar, in its discovered position, the rectangular pediment (the upper part of the foundation), the inclined plane of the ascent and a transverse wall of mud-stone construction in the interior are preserved.
The archaeological site of the altar of Dionysus also includes a Doric temple in parastasi, which may have been dedicated to Dionysus, and two rectangular structures which are considered to be either statue pedestals or one statue pedestal and the other an earlier altar.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou