The ancient temple that was found at the Rodotopi location in the prefecture of Ioannina, at the foot of Gardiki hill, is identified as the temple of Zeus Areios referred to be in ancient Passaron, the capital of the Molossoi tribe: its fortified citadel is preserved at the top of the hill. The temple was built about the end of the fourth century BC. It was set on fire in 167 BC by Emilius Paulus, the conqueror of Macedonia, but was subsequently restored and stayed in use, as attested by the Roman stone capitals and the Roman statue that were included among the findings. The date of its definitive abandonment is unknown, but abandonment is ascertained by the use of the area for burials already from the antiquity. It is very likely that this temple constituted the official sanctuary of the Molossoi to worship the god of war, Zeus Areios, sovereign god of Dorian inhabitants originating from Epirus. This opinion is strengthened by the fact of entrusting the resolutions of foreign cities in the sanctuary premises, as well as by the honorary distinction of a Roman emperor who dedicated his own statue to the god.

It was a peristyle temple built according to the Ionic rhythm. It disposed of a pronaos (anteroom) and a cella building (gr.: sek?s), of dimensions 19.30 x 11m. Only the crepis (stone base) and part of the euthynteria (levelling course just above the walking surface) are preserved of the monument, while Ionic column drums were found interspersed in the surroundings. According to the excavator of the monument, the pteron (surrounding colonnades) numbered 6 x 11 columns, while the shape of the prodomos (anteroom) proves that it had been a prostylos (with a frontal colonnade) temple arranged with four columns (tetrastylos).

The first to locate the monument in 1914 was the then Ephor of Antiquities D. Evangelides, who conducted a test investigation in 1935. The temple was systematically excavated in 1952 by Professor S. Dakaris.
Mythological / Historic Persons