The Parthenon (Wonders of the World)
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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."
Turkish rulers converted the Parthenon into a mosque in the early 1460s, it had been a Christian church for just about as long as it had ever been a pagan temple. But most modern scholars (and tourist guides) have followed Cyriac in turning a blind eye to the glories of the Parthenon in its guise of Our Lady of Athens. ‘PLATO’S ACADEMY’ An even blinder eye has been turned to the mosque that was the next metamorphosis of the Parthenon. The plain fact is that less attention has been devoted
the job in glass and laser as a gesture to the new millennium were resoundingly rejected by the local residents. Meanwhile, as the craze for classical style swamped the USA in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Parthenon was resurrected in the shape of a whole series of government buildings, banks and museums. Pride of place here, for accuracy of reconstruction at least (reputedly correct to three millimetres), goes to the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee – the Athens of the
happy couple on the extreme left are the pair that many early travellers (wrongly) identified as the Roman emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina (p. 140). 9. A Venetian view of the explosion of 1687. The gunpowder sends the roof of the mosque flying into the air, though the minaret appears so far unharmed. Around the Parthenon the houses of the garrison village are just visible above the fortifications. On the right a flag waves from the top of the Frankish Tower, which had been built by the
recently put it, a visit to the Acropolis today is rather like being taken on a tour around Westminster Abbey, blindfold to everything but the work of Edward the Confessor. ‘LARGER THAN I REMEMBERED, & BETTER HELD TOGETHER’ When Virginia Woolf encountered the Parthenon again in 1932, more than 25 years after her first visit, she reflected in her diary on what had changed. ‘Yes, but what can I say about the Parthenon – that my own ghost met me, the girl of 23, with all her life to come:
some of the world’s most famous sites or monuments. Their names will be familiar to almost everyone: they have achieved iconic stature and are loaded with a fair amount of mythological baggage. These monuments have been the subject of many books over the centuries, but our aim, through the skill and stature of the writers, is to get something much more enlightening, stimulating, even controversial, than straightforward histories or guides. The series is under the general editorship of Mary Beard.