The Parthenon (Wonders of the World)

The Parthenon (Wonders of the World)

Mary Beard

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0674055632

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Praise for the previous edition:

"Wry and imaginative, this gem of a book deconstructs the most famous building in Western history."–Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic

"In her brief but compendious volume [Beard] says that the more we find out about this mysterious structure, the less we know. Her book is especially valuable because it is up to date on the restoration the Parthenon has been undergoing since 1986."–Gary Wills, New York Review of Books

At once an entrancing cultural history and a congenial guide for tourists, armchair travelers, and amateur archaeologists alike, this book conducts readers through the storied past and towering presence of the most famous building in the world. In the revised version of her classic study, Mary Beard now includes the story of the long-awaited new museum opened in 2009 to display the sculptures from the building that still remain in Greece, as well as the controversies that have surrounded it, and asks whether it makes a difference to the "Elgin Marble debate."

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debts must have been uppermost in his mind. 11. The Parthenon in the second half of the eighteenth century. This engraving from Stuart and Revett’s Antiquities of Athens gives a slightly romantic tinge to the, no doubt, rather squalid shanty-town which surrounded and encroached on the monument (note the well-tended garden and suspiciously neat peasants). In less than 50 years all the sculpture here visible in the east pediment would be removed by Lord Elgin’s agents. The legal rights and

in the repair work that followed. But just about enough has survived to show that it was in deeper relief than the outer frieze and that, at one point, it featured a row of standing female figures. The implications are tantalising. Whatever this frieze depicted, it would have been clearly visible, beyond the outer frieze, to any visitor climbing the steps to the main entrance of the building; it is almost bound to have been seen as the continuation of the narrative which ended (or so, up till

widely assumed to be later additions: portraits of the Roman emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina, strategically inserted, so people then assumed, into a group of bona fide Greek gods (much as Nero’s name had been blazoned across the façade). It was, almost certainly, a crashing misidentification; they are now usually thought to be some mythical Athenian king and his daughter. But it was a misidentification that kept them in Athens; for Elgin’s agents did not consider a pair of Romans to be worth

this had already fallen from its original position and was picked up from the ground near by. But a considerable quantity was removed from the building itself, which involved a whole series of awkward operations, prising the sculpture out or occasionally dismantling small sections of the building to release it. Much of it then turned out to be colossally heavy and almost impossible to transport safely, so to lighten the load (and without, so far as we can tell, attacking the sculpted surfaces

would, at least, have had the advantage of making the outer frieze easier to see). The two tiers of columns in the eastern room were replaced by a similar structure, although this was not purpose-built. To judge from the architectural style of the replacement, the restorers must have turned to a couple of abandoned buildings of the second century BC, where they found enough columns of the right size to fit the gap. It was this re-used colonnade that featured in the Christian church and the mosque

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