The Temple of Athena lies on the hillside further down the slope from the temple of Apollo, and is situated within a precinct that has been occupied since the Neolithic Period (5000-3000 BC). The location had once been a site sacred to the worship of an Earth Goddess, but was eventually taken over and occupied by Olympian deities, although Athena may be the representation of the once established resident Goddess.


The first Temple of Athena was built in the 7th century BC and rebuilt at the beginning of the 5th century BC. In the early 4th century BC (c.360 BC), the Doric peripteral hexastyle temple to Athena was badly damaged in 480 BC by a rock slide, then completely destroyed by an earthquake in 373 BC. Another landslide in 1905 demolished all but three columns.