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Propylaea, Acropolis of Athens

Propylaea, Acropolis of Athens

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The Acropolis, Propylaea and Athens Travel, Greece

If history is any guide, one country’s economic collapse, civil unrest, or natural disaster, usually unveils a silver lining for travelers: better deals and fewer crowds. Opportunistic? Maybe.

But traveling to a hard-hit destination also means putting your travel dollars directly where they count. Kevin Bleyer, Emmy Award-winning writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, reports on his experiences in Greece, a country still trying to recover from its economic meltdown.


The 11-year-old girl with the iPod buds in her ears had just walked up a very large hill – we all had – and she was asking her parents what all the fuss was about.

First of all, it’s not just any old gate—it’s the Propylaea, a towering monument worthy of visiting (and gawking at) in its own right. But more important: it’s the entryway to the Acropolis of Athens. Walk through and you’ll see one of the most famous and breathtaking sights known to modern (and ancient) man, a sight that on this day would make even a skeptical 11-year-old take out her earbuds, and take in the sight.

Like the 11-year-old, it was my first visit to Athens. All spring I had been hearing overheated media reports of union strikes and a Greek economy crumbling more spectacularly than the ruins themselves. Surely, the reports continued, this would (and, they seemed to imply, should) affect Greek tourism. I’m proud to say that reports of Greece’s demise are greatly exaggerated. True, some tourists had canceled their plans to visit Greece, though I can’t quite understand why.

The way I see it? Fine, more room for me.

So then, even though as a tourist I tend to migrate to the roads less traveled and the sights not featured in the travel brochures, I knew I had to make the Acropolis and its star attraction, the Parthenon, my very first stop.

I was fortunate to stay at the magnificent Hotel Grande Bretagne, which had already afforded me—and Elizabeth Taylor, Winston Churchill, and Nicolas Sarkozy before me—a gorgeous view of the Parthenon from my window.

My first glimpse of the Acropolis came from the hotel’s famous rooftop hotel bar on the night I arrived a perfect introduction, as the ancient monument is lit up at night like a firework — a breathtaking sight against the cloudless Athens night sky. But for a real sense of scope one needs a closer look.

Everything about this ancient citadel satisfies—from the immense columns most of us have only seen as reconstructions in movies—to the overwhelming and awe-inducing sense that, well, this is where history comes from. After all, the place dates back to the Early Neolithic era, 6th century BC. Few things live up to the hype this is one of them.

For visitors (like me) eager to get off the beaten track, even the Acropolis has much to offer. Within a stone’s throw (although they kindly request that you refrain from throwing stones—they could be, after all, ancient relics) are three must-see, can’t-miss features.

To the Northwest, down the hill from the Parthenon, you’ll find the Kerameikos cemetery, an Athenian burial ground in use since the 12th century BC. It’s quite peaceful, surprisingly beautiful, and few tourists visit the cemetery since it’s not in many guidebooks.

All visitors to the Acropolis, understandably, are in search of that one perfect picture of the Acropolis, suitable for framing. For my money—and, I might add, it’s free—the grandest view of the Acropolis and Parthenon is from Areopagus Hill: 360-degree views of Athens, with the Acropolis taking up about 100 degrees. Stunning at any time of day. It also happens to be where the Areopagus Council, the judges of Ancient Greece, met to decide cases of murder, sacrilege, and arson. So be on your best behavior, and bring your best camera.

One of the undiscovered secrets of central Athens is actually the New Acropolis Museum—undiscovered, at least, in that it’s still relatively new. Opened in 2009, it is a sleek display of a vast collection of Greek statuary, pottery, and friezes. (And, considering it’s Athens in the summer, merely the word “frieze” can be a welcome respite on a sunny day, where on this week the temperatures hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Here at the museum, you not only walk through history you hover over it. Below the glass floor of the museum, the designers have preserved an entire ancient Athenian neighborhood dating back to the 5th century BC, so as you walk among the preserved artifacts, you can look down below into the ongoing excavation 10 to 100 feet underneath. Those prone to vertigo needn’t worry too much the museum has cleverly placed black polka-dots on the glass to helpfully remind you that you won’t fall through.

For people considering a trip to Athens, the best is yet to come: later this year they plan to open up those excavations for foot traffic, in what is sure to be an enthralling, up-close-and-personal tour through ancient history.

Athens Acropolis Opening Times

Most visits to the classical sites in Athens start at the Acropolis. The nearest metro station is Akropolis.

Athens Acropolis Ticket Summer Hours Winter Hours
Open 20 euros 8am – 7.00pm 8.30am – 3.00pm
Closed Dec 25,26
Closed New Year’s Day
Closed Mar 25
Closed Greek Easter
Closed May 1


The site of Athens has been inhabited since the Neolithic Period (before 3000 BCE). Evidence for this has come from pottery finds on and around the Acropolis but particularly from a group of about 20 shallow wells, or pits, on the northwest slope of the Acropolis, just below the Klepsydra spring. These wells contained burnished pots of excellent quality, which show that even at this remote period Athens had a settled population and high technical and artistic standards. There are similar indications of occupation in the Early and Middle Bronze ages (3000&ndash1500 BCE).

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The earliest buildings date from the Late Bronze Age, particularly about 1200 BCE when the Acropolis was the citadel. Around its top was built a massive wall of cyclopean masonry (a type of construction using huge blocks without mortar). The construction of this wall probably marks the union of the 12 towns of Attica (the department in which Athens lies) under the leadership of Athens, an event traditionally ascribed to Theseus. The palace of the king was in the area of the later Erechtheum, but almost no traces of it have been identified. The town, insofar as it was outside the Acropolis, lay to the south, where wells and slight remains of houses have been found. The principal cemetery lay to the northwest, and several richly furnished chamber tombs and many smaller ones have been discovered in the area that later became the Agora.

Whether through the strength of its walls, the valour of its citizens, or its geographical position away from the main route to the Peloponnesus, Athens seems to have weathered the Late Bronze and Early Iron ages, troubled times, better than other, more important centres. There is no evidence of complete or widespread destruction, as at Mycenae and Pylos. In fact, the pottery styles show an unbroken development from Sub-Mycenaean (later than Mycenaean but not yet Greek) to Proto-Geometric (the earliest phase of Geometric) and Geometric (1000 BCE to about 750 BCE). Furthermore, there is positive evidence that from about 1000 BCE the city began to expand in a northwesterly direction, into the area that had previously been confined to cemeteries. Wells appear, indicating occupation by the living, and any graves in the area are increasingly confined to restricted plots or placed along the roads outside the town limits. The Agora and some of the public buildings seem, to judge from scattered notices in later writers, to have been located west and northwest of the Acropolis. Though there are few remains of buildings, the wealth and prosperity of the city can be appreciated from late Geometric graves found in the area of the later Dipylon and Erian gates. These graves were adorned with large vases, sometimes more than five feet high, decorated with geometric patterns and with scenes of battles, processions, and funeral ceremonies.

The 6th century BCE was a period of phenomenal growth, particularly during the tyranny of Peisistratus and his sons (c. 560&ndash510 BCE). On the Acropolis the old primitive shrines began to be replaced with large stone temples. About 580 BCE a temple to Athena known as the Hecatompedon (Hundred-Footer) was erected on the site later to be occupied by the Parthenon. The pediments (triangular spaces forming the gable) of this temple were decorated with large-scale sculpture in gaily coloured porous limestone, representing groups of lions bringing down bulls and depicting snaky-tailed monsters in the angles. These sculptures are now displayed in the New Acropolis Museum. In 566 BCE Peisistratus reorganized the Panathenaic Games in honour of Athena on a four-yearly basis. About 530 BCE a large peripteral temple (one having a row of columns on all sides) to Athena Polias (Guardian of the City) was erected near the centre of the Acropolis, on the site of the old Bronze Age palace. It had marble pedimental sculpture representing the battle of the gods and giants. Besides these two major temples there were five smaller buildings, treasuries and the like, and a wealth of votive offerings in marble, bronze, and terra-cotta. The Acropolis thus became a full-fledged sanctuary.

This change from citadel to sanctuary is also reflected in the arrangement of the entrance at the west. Instead of a winding path suitable for defense, there was, from about the middle of the 6th century BCE, a broad ramp, designed as a ceremonial approach, leading up to the gate. This basic change of attitude toward the Acropolis must mean that the whole lower town was surrounded by a fortification wall and the Acropolis was no longer needed for defense. The ancient historians Herodotus and Thucydides tell of such a wall, but no trace of it has been found, and its course and date are uncertain.

In the lower town, too, the 6th century was a period of growth and change. The old Agora, below the western approach to the Acropolis, was now inadequate, and a new one was therefore laid out in the low ground to the northwest. This was accomplished by demolishing houses and filling in wells and gullies to create a broad open square, which was used for gatherings of all sorts: political, judicial, religious, and commercial. Dramatic contests were held there, too, before the construction of a separate theatre. Various public buildings and shrines were erected around the borders of the square, including the Basileios (Royal) Stoa, where the archon Basileus, one of the chief magistrates of the city, had his headquarters the Old Bouleuterion (or Council House) and a large enclosure (100 square feet) that probably housed the Heliaia, the largest of the popular lawcourts. At the southeast corner of the square a fountain house received water from outside the city through a conduit of terra-cotta pipes.

In 480 BCE this flourishing city was captured and destroyed by the Persians. The Acropolis buildings were burned and the houses in the lower town mostly destroyed, except for a few that had been spared to house the Persian leaders.

When the Athenians returned, in 479 BCE, they immediately rebuilt their fortification wall larger than before. About 20 years later the famous Long Walls were built, connecting the city with its port, Piraeus, four miles away. They were parallel over most of their course, forming a corridor 550 feet wide. These walls played a vital part in the history of Athens during the Classical period, for they allowed it to carry the supplies brought in by its powerful fleet in safety to the city, even when enemy forces roamed the Attic countryside.

For 30 years after the Persian destruction, the Athenians built only fortifications and some secular buildings in the Agora, notably the Stoa Poikile, or Painted Colonnade, with its famous paintings by Polygnotus and Micon, one of which represented the Battle of Marathon. The Tholos, the round building that served as the headquarters of the executive committee of the council, was also built at this time. Lack of attention to the Acropolis was partly the result of the oath, sworn before the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE, that sanctuaries destroyed by the barbarians would not be rebuilt but left as memorials of their impiety. In 449 BCE, however, peace with Persia was at last officially established, and the oath was annulled. Athens, moreover, had ample funds, for the silver mines in the Laurium (Lavrion) Hills of southern Attica were in full production. These mines had always been exploited, but in 483 BCE a big strike was made, the proceeds of which were used to build the ships that won the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. Thereafter, the mines remained productive throughout the 5th and 4th centuries, providing Athens with the sinews of its strength in the great Classical age. Another source of revenue was the tribute that the allies had been paying, as members of the Delian League, to prosecute the war against Persia. Athens had been collecting and administering this money and, even though the war was officially over, continued to collect it in spite of the protests of the allies, who degenerated into subjects of Athens. Pericles deemed it proper, over the protests of his opponents, to use this money on beautifying the city in this way he could keep the money in circulation and provide jobs for the whole population. Thus began one of the largest and most enduring works programs in history.

In a period of 40 years the Acropolis was entirely rebuilt in gleaming white marble quarried from Mount Pentelicus, 10 miles north of the city. The first great work was the Parthenon, begun in 447 BCE and finished, except for some details, in 438 BCE. The architects were Ictinus and Callicrates, and Phidias was in charge of the whole artistic program. The building was considerably larger than was usual, having eight columns across the ends and 17 on the long sides, against six by 13 for the average temple. It was richly decorated with sculpture, having a running frieze all around the top of the cella (the walled-in chamber within the colonnade) wall outside, and sculptured metopes and sculptured pediments. Inside the cella stood the cult statue, the great gold and ivory figure of Athena, the work of Phidias. No sooner was the main work on the Parthenon completed than the Propylaea was begun. This was the monumental gateway, with five doors at the head of the approach, designed by the architect Mnesicles. Its large outer vestibule was covered by a marble ceiling, supported by marble beams with a free span of 18 feet, about which Pausanias wrote, &ldquoThe Propylaea has a ceiling of white marble which in the beauty and size of the stones remains supreme even to my time.&rdquo Work on the Propylaea was nearly finished when it was stopped by the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 432 BCE, but, as things began to go well for Athens, the little temple of Athena Nike was erected on the bastion in front of the Propylaea, perhaps in 425 BCE. Around the time of the Peace of Nicias (421 BCE), the Erechtheum was begun. This was a small Ionic temple, of highly irregular plan, which housed various early cults and sacred tokens. When the building was about half-finished, work was suddenly interrupted, probably because of the disastrous Athenian expedition to Sicily (415&ndash413 BCE), but it was resumed in 409, and the building was completed in 406. The final defeat of Athens two years later put an end to all building, but the Acropolis had been completed, and in later centuries only secondary buildings and monuments were added.

In the second half of the 5th century there was also some building activity in the lower town. Even before the Parthenon, work was begun on the temple of Hephaestus (the god of fire), the Theseum, which still stands on a low hill. In the Agora itself, a new Bouleuterion was built, and two colonnades, the Stoa of Zeus and the South Stoa, were constructed. On the south slope of the Acropolis, next to the theatre, Pericles built an odeum, a large enclosed concert hall, its roof supported by a forest of columns. Of the theatre itself there are no identifiable remains, but the arrangements were no doubt quite simple, and it is known that a theatre existed on this spot from the late 6th century BCE because of the old temple of Dionysus (the god of wine) nearby, which dates from the same period. A sanctuary of Asclepius was founded on the south slope of the Acropolis in 420 BCE.

Athens was slow in recovering from its defeat in the Peloponnesian War, but in 394 BCE its admiral, Conon, won a decisive naval victory over Sparta off Cnidus, on the west coast of Asia Minor. As a result, he rebuilt the Long Walls, which the Spartans had demolished to the music of flutes 10 years before, believing they were inaugurating the freedom of Greece. The walls of Piraeus were also rebuilt, and those of the city were repeatedly strengthened in the course of the 4th century, notably by the addition of a ditch, or moat, as protection against siege machinery.

Apart from military works, there was little building in 4th-century Athens until the years 338&ndash322 BCE, when the orator Lycurgus was in control of the state finances and there was great activity. On the Pnyx, the broad-backed hill west of the Acropolis where the Athenian popular assembly had met since the reforms of Cleisthenes in the 6th century, a large auditorium was constructed. At the same time, two large stoas were started on the terrace above. The Theatre of Dionysus was rebuilt and greatly enlarged and furnished with stone seats to accommodate the crowds. (Lycurgus did another service to the theatre by having definitive copies made of the old plays.) The Panathenaic stadium was also built about then, partly with state funds and partly by private contributions the land was donated by a certain Deinias, and one Eudemus of Plataea provided 1,000 yoke of draft animals to level the ground. The period was one of lavish private expenditure in other fields as well. The tripods won in choral contests were displayed on elaborate monuments, sometimes even resembling small temples the best preserved of these is that of Lysicrates (334 BCE), a small round building with six Corinthian columns. Tombs also became increasingly elaborate, often portraying the whole family in high relief. In 315 BCE a stop was put to all this extravagance by the sumptuary laws of Demetrius of Phalerum.

Meanwhile, the philosophy schools flourished. Plato (c. 428&ndash348/347 BCE) established himself in the Academy, a gymnasium that had existed since at least the 6th century BCE in the great olive grove about a mile west of the city. Plato himself had a house and garden nearby. Aristotle and his Peripatetics occupied the Lyceum, another gymnasium, just outside the city to the east, and his successor Theophrastus lived nearby. Antisthenes and the Cynics used the Cynosarges gymnasium to the southeast of the city. Zeno held forth in the heart of the city, in the Stoa Poikile, in the Agora, and his followers were therefore known as Stoics. Epicurus and his followers had a house and garden in town.

Apart from its temples and public buildings and its great avenues, however, Athens seems to have made a poor impression. A 3rd-century-BCE visitor complained that the city was dry and ill-supplied with water, that it was badly laid out because of its great antiquity, and that most of the houses were mean. The streets were in fact narrow and winding, and the houses, it is true, presented a blank wall to the street except for the entrance door, but then they were built around a central courtyard, off which the various rooms opened. There was often an upper story, and the court had a well. Water brought in by the aqueducts was not considered good because it was hard (containing salts of magnesium or calcium) and caused rheumatism. Waste water was carried off in an elaborate system of underground drains beneath the streets.

Hellenistic and Roman Times

Athens in Hellenistic and Roman times depended for its embellishment less on its own resources than on the generosity of foreign princes. One of the Ptolemies (rulers of Egypt) gave a gymnasium, erected near the sanctuary of Theseus, and the Ptolemies were probably also instrumental in the founding of the sanctuary of the Egyptian gods Isis and Serapis. More important were the donations of the Attalids of Pergamum (a dynasty of Asia Minor). Eumenes II (197&ndash159 BCE) gave a large two-story colonnade on the south slope of the Acropolis near the theatre. His brother Attalus II (159&ndash138 BCE), who had studied at Athens under the philosopher Carneades, head of the New Academy, likewise gave a colonnade. This was a large, elaborate, two-story building more than 350 feet long with a row of shops at the rear. It was located on the eastern side of the Agora and has been reconstructed in modern times (1953&ndash56) to serve as the museum of the Agora excavations. The Stoa of Attalus was the first element in a large-scale reconstruction of the Agora. It was followed in quick succession by three buildings, the Middle Stoa, the East Building, and the South Stoa, which together formed a separate South Square.

The capture of Athens by the Roman general Sulla in 86 BCE was accompanied by great slaughter and much destruction of private houses, but the only public building to be destroyed was the Odeum of Pericles, burned by the defenders lest its timbers be used by the enemy. The Odeum was rebuilt a few years later through the generosity of King Ariobarzanes of Cappadocia.

Under the Roman Empire, Athens enjoyed imperial favour. A spacious market for the sale of oil and other commodities was laid out east of the old Agora with funds originally provided by Julius Caesar and supplemented by the emperor Augustus. In the old Agora itself, a new odeum, or concert hall, was built in the middle of the square by Marcus Agrippa, the emperor&rsquos son-in-law and one of his chief lieutenants. A large building, perhaps a lawcourt, was also erected at the northeast corner. At the southeast corner of the Agora, a handsome library was erected about 100 CE, the gift of one T. Flavius Pantainus and his family. It was decorated with a group of marble sculptures representing Homer flanked by the Iliad and the Odyssey. On the Acropolis a small round temple was erected to the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus.

The emperor Hadrian (117&ndash138 CE) completed the great temple of Olympian Zeus, started more than 600 years earlier by the Peisistratids. This temple formed the chief ornament of the new eastern suburb of Athens, and Hadrian gave the area a monumental entrance through a gateway, the inscriptions on which proclaimed, on one side, &ldquoThis is the Athens of Theseus, the old city&rdquo and, on the other, &ldquoThis is the city of Hadrian, not of Theseus.&rdquo Hadrian also built a library, a gymnasium, and a pantheon (a sanctuary of all the gods). His aqueduct, which brought water from the mountains to the north, has been reconditioned and still serves the modern city.

In the reign of Valerian (253&ndash260 CE), the walls of Athens, which had been neglected since Sulla&rsquos capture of the city in 86 BCE and had fallen into ruin, were rebuilt, and the circuit was extended to include the new suburb northeast of the Olympieion. This was done because of the threat of a barbarian invasion, but when that invasion came, in 267 CE, the walls were of no avail. The Heruli, a Germanic people from northern Europe, easily captured Athens, and, though the historian P. Herennius Dexippus rallied 2,000 men on the city outskirts, they could only resort to guerrilla tactics. The lower town was sacked, and all the buildings of the Agora were burned and destroyed. The Acropolis, however, may have held out at least there is no evidence of extensive damage at this time.

This sack of Athens is comparable only to that by the Persians in 480 BCE, but now the reaction was quite different. The Athenians abandoned the outer circuit and established a new and much smaller line north of the Acropolis, leaving even the Agora area outside the walls. This new wall, which, on the evidence of coins, was built in the reign of Probus (276&ndash282 CE), consisted of material taken from ruined buildings in the lower town.

Athens remained confined within this narrow circuit for several generations, but in the 4th and 5th centuries it experienced a revival. The old outer circuit of the walls was restored, and many new buildings were erected. Athens at this time was still the cultural capital of the Greek world and a stronghold of paganism. Its schools of philosophy, which retained their ancient names, however different their outlooks may have been, flourished, attracting students from all parts. These included the emperor Julian the Apostate and two Fathers of the Church, Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus. While the schools existed, Athens remained a place of consequence, but, when they were closed by the emperor Justinian in 529 CE, Athens sank to the level of a small provincial town. Power and wealth had long since moved to Constantinople, the new centre of the Greek world.

(2) The Byzantine and Turkish Periods

Christianity started early in Athens, with the visit of the Apostle Paul in 51 CE and the conversion of Dionysius the Areopagite, a former archon and member of the Court of the Areopagus that had heard Paul&rsquos defense of his teachings. The little Christian community did not flourish, however, and Athens remained a stronghold of older ways. In the 5th and 6th centuries, however, after the formal establishment of Christianity and the abolition of pagan worship, churches began to be built. These were sometimes ancient temples converted to Christian worship&mdashfor example, the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the temple of Hephaestus (the Theseum). Newly built churches had a basilica plan and a wooden roof, but these now survive only in foundations. In all, some 22 churches of this period are known.

The 7th&ndash10th century was a dark time for Athens. The city is almost never mentioned in the history of the period, and archaeological remains are few. In the 11th and 12th centuries a measure of prosperity returned, and the taste of Athenians then can be gauged by the number of small stone and brick churches surviving, built on the Byzantine cross-in-square plan, such as the Kapnikaréa and those of St. Theodore and the Holy Apostles.

Athens fell to the Crusaders in 1204 and remained in Latin hands for 250 years. The town&rsquos outward appearance changed little, except that the Parthenon&mdashnow a Roman Catholic, not an Orthodox, cathedral&mdashreceived a bell tower.

After the siege of Athens by the Turks in 1456&ndash58, the Parthenon became a mosque (1460), and its bell tower was turned into a minaret. Other mosques were built in the lower town, but in general the age of gunpowder was to prove disastrous for Athenian architecture, especially on the Acropolis, which was still virtually intact as late as the mid-17th century.

(3) Athens after Greek Independence

Greek insurgents surprised the city in 1821 and captured the Acropolis in 1822, but in 1826 Athens again fell into the hands of the Turks, who bombarded and took the Acropolis in the following year (the Erechtheum suffered greatly, and the monument of Thrasyllus was destroyed). The Turks remained in possession of the Acropolis until 1833, when Athens was chosen as the capital of the new kingdom of Greece. Its subsequent history is that of the kingdom.

In World War I, Athens was the scene of the incidents of 1916&ndash17 that led to the deposition of King Constantine by the Allies. It was occupied by German troops during World War II, but the city was spared aerial bombardment.

In the second half of the 20th century, the population of the Athens metropolitan area swelled, though the growth was concentrated in suburban and exurban communities. By the 1980s Athens had become known for having some of the worst traffic congestion and concomitant air pollution of any European city. The failure of public transportation to alleviate these problems was one of the reasons cited for the failure of Athens&rsquos bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games. In securing the hosting of the 2004 Games, Athens undertook a massive transportation infrastructure improvement effort. Some observers doubted that the city would be able to complete its transportation upgrade and civic improvements in time for the Games, but a new international airport was opened in 2001, the metropolitan transit system was expanded, a new tram system was up and running, and the cement was dry on the new sports venues before the opening ceremony. Athens also met the challenge of providing shelter and sustenance for the migrants and refugees displaced by turmoil in Africa and the Middle East in the mid-2010s.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

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The Propylaia to the Acropolis, Athens

Braun, Clément & Cie (French, founded 1889, dissolved 1910) 77.5 × 61 cm (30 1/2 × 24 in.) 87.XM.99.5

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Object Details


The Propylaia to the Acropolis, Athens


Braun, Clément & Cie (French, founded 1889, dissolved 1910)


Athens, Greece (Place Created)

negative 1869 print about 1890

Object Number:

Markings: Braun's blindstamp at lower right corner of recto print Braun's wet stamp on recto mount of below lower left corner of recto print.


Secondary Inscription: Titled in pencil on recto mount below center edge of print plus old cataloguing notations in pencil.

Alternate Title:

The Propylea, Athens (Group Title)

Previous Attribution:

Adolphe Braun & Cie (French, founded 1876, dissolved 1889)

Object Type:
Eternal Cities: Photographs of Athens and Rome (February 9 to April 17, 1988)
Antiquity & Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites (November 9, 2005 to May 1, 2006)

Lyons, Claire, et al., eds.Antiquity and Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), p. 204, plate XV, p. 204, plate XV.

Martin-Mcauliffe, Samantha L., and John K. Papadopoulos. "Framing Victory: Salamis, the Athenian Acropolis, and the Agora." Journal of Architectural Historians 71 (3), (2012), p. 343, fig. 15.

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Τα Προπύλαια της Αθηναϊκής Ακρόπολης κατά τον Μεσαίωνα. [The Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis during the Middle Ages] (2 vols.)

As Tasos Tanoulas describes in the prologue, the original instigation for this study came from his teacher, John Travlos, author of the classic text Η πολεοδομική εξέλιξις των Αθηνών [The urban development of Athens] (Athens, 1960). What was originally envisioned as a doctoral study of the Propylaea under the Frankish rule (1204-1456) expanded broadly in scope to become a life-time engagement not only with the historical study but also with the physical restoration of Mnesicles’ monument. Trained also as an architect, Dr. Tasos Tanoulas has been member of the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments since 1977 and director of the restoration of the Propylaea. since 1984. Although he has published on the subject both in Greek and English, this is his most extensive work to date. Given his unsurpassed knowledge of the monument, and the scarcity of recent studies on post-classical Athens, his book is a welcome addition to the field. It is a trove of information, not only about the Propylaea in the middle ages, but also about the history of the Acropolis and the city of Athens from antiquity to the present. T. is a methodical and tireless researcher whose broad historical knowledge, technical expertise, and love for his subject are evident throughout this two-volume book.

Volume One is divided into four parts: 1. Historical evidence 2. Travellers’ testimonies 3. Architectural evidence and 4. Reconstruction of the structural history of the Propylaea. Volume Two, titled “The Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis from 267 AD to 1458” (pp. 283-313), contains the illustrations and an English summary.

In Part One (pp. 9-36), “The History of Propylaea,” T. describes the physical building, designed by the architect Mnesicles and constructed in 437-432 BCE. Throughout the book, T. takes into account the broader context of the western approach to the Acropolis and the surrounding region. He provides a synoptic history of the city of Athens from antiquity to the present, pointing out the impact of major historical events on the buildings of the Acropolis and especially on the Propylaea.

In Part Two (pp. 39-151) T. reviews written testimonies by travellers and archaeologists, dating mainly between the 15th and the end of the 19th centuries. As T. notes, the general category “travellers” includes a wide spectrum of visitors, ranging from civil servants to military engineers (p. 3). Included, among others, are excerpts from the testimonies of Niccolò da Martoni, Evliya Celebi, Jacob Spon, James Stuart and Nicolas Revett, Thomas Hope, J. C. Hobhouse, Louis Dupré, Ludwig Ross, and H. Ch. Hansen. T. presented a selection from this material in his article “The Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis since the Seventeenth Century, their Decay and Restoration,” Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts 102, 1987, pp. 413-483. Naturally, the treatment of the material is much more extensive in the present work, which offers valuable critical commentary of these accounts. For example, in reviewing the work of Richard Chandler (1765), T. points out several mistakes and misappropriations. “It seems that Chandler is one more victim of book dependence that muzzles the senses and logic…” (p. 81 all translations from the Greek are by this reviewer). Especially valuable are the photographs, which include work by the 19th-century photographers Robertson, Beck, Stillman, and Moraitis, among others.

Part Three (pp. 155-261) provides a detailed review of the condition of the Propylaea and the evidence that helps illuminate the history of the monument. It focuses on the central building, the north and south wings, the surrounding area and the western approach to the Acropolis. T. likens the Propylaea to a palimpsest “upon which it is possible to recognize many traces of the various building phases of the monument, [phases] which are traced in Part Two in the travellers’ testimonies” (p. 4).

In Part Four (pp. 265-323) T. synthesizes material from the first three parts and reconstructs the building’s history. He focuses on the following historical periods: the end of the 3rd century C.E., 4th-8th centuries C.E., the Middle Byzantine period (9th century-1204), the reign of the de la Roche family (1204-1311), and the reign of the Acciaiuoli (1388-1458). The Propylaea is studied within its broader physical context that includes the neighboring areas and the western approach to the Acropolis. Moreover, we are presented with valuable information on the history of the Acropolis as a whole. For example, T. speculates that the conversion of the Parthenon to a Christian church probably happened during the end of the 6th century and that of the Temple of Hephaistos and of the Erechtheion “at the earliest during the 7th-century” (p. 270). “What…usually escapes us,” he concludes, “through this plethora of information that builds a study such as this one is the fact that just five centuries ago these monuments were in a state of preservation that was incomparably better than that of today and that which the travellers in the second half of the 17th century encountered” (p. 321).

The photographs and illustrations that make up most of the second volume admirably complement the text of Volume I. The reproductions from 17, 18th and 19th centuries and photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries provide an excellent visual documentation of the Propylaia. The measured hardline drawings that follow these images offer a more detailed look at the Propylaia as it was built and as it weathered the subsequent centuries. Of particular interest are Tanoulass drawings showing reconstructions of the Propylaia from the 4th to 15th centuries CE.

Reviewing Τα Προπύλαια as an architectural historian, and not as a field archaeologist, I must admit that “this plethora of information” often obscured my own appreciation of the author’s work. All but those most intimately acquainted with this material would find it hard to distinguish which parts of the book summarize established theory and which overturn its assumptions or offer new insights. While T. may be too modest to blow his own horn, some stronger acknowledgment of his own contribution to this research would help highlight the text. In a similar vein, it is difficult to appreciate the significance of the meticulous recording of the monument’s condition without more visible signposts by the author. Why is this information important? How, for example, may one incorporate it into a course syllabus on the history of Athens? An epilogue in Greek and English that placed the findings within the broader context of the post-classical city in the eastern Mediterranean would help make ΤΑ accessible to a wider audience.

As the book incorporates extensive passages from travellers’ accounts, it invites the inevitable question: can we take these comments at face value? While T. is careful to point out the archaeological discrepancies found in many of these testimonies, he is not as discriminating about the authors’ generalizations and possible exaggerations regarding conditions in Athens. For example, T. writes that “at the end of the 4th century, Athens was but a shadow of the splendid city of the middle 3rd century CE. That is corroborated by the testimony of Synesius, who visited Athens between 395 and 399” (p. 18). Synesius was a young philosopher, who had studied in Alexandria under Hypatia. Through his sharp criticism of Athens he was intending, primarily, to exalt Alexandria, Athens’s rival philosophical center.

T. has mined the foreign literature for real and fantastic descriptions of Athens that reflect the opinion of the outside (Western) world. One such example comes from a 1575 letter by “Martin Crusius, professor at the University of Tübingen, who asked the Greeks with whom he was corresponding if Athens had actually disappeared from the face of the earth” (p. 26). Athens, of course, had not disappeared from the face of history, as T. later suggests. It would have been interesting if T. juxtaposed these Western accounts with contemporary demographic data. According to the 1520-1530 census, Athens was the fourth largest city in the Balkans, after Constantinople, Thessalonike, and Adrianopolis. In the 1570 census Athens numbered 3,203 houses, reflecting a population of approximately 17,616 people (Dimitri N. Karidis, “Πολεοδομικά των Αθηνών της Τουρκοκρατίας” [Urban issues of Athens during the Ottoman rule], Ph.D. dissertation, National Technical University, Athens, 1981, p. 108). Furthermore, as his historical account reaches our days, one does wonder what the residents of Athens had to say about their city’s fortunes in general and the Propylaea in particular.

These last comments are in no way meant to detract from the most valuable contribution of Τα Προπύλαια in the historical and archaeological literature on Athens. It is impossible to expect an individual researcher, even one with the breadth and stamina of Dr. Tanoulas, to cover expertly all aspects of the city’s life through the centuries. His book is a valuable resource for classicists, archaeologists, and historians working on Athens. It would be most welcome, however, to see in the near future a collaborative volume on post-classical Athens that represented current work in both the historical and the social sciences.


Prehistoric Era

It was during the 5th century BC that Pericles (495 – 429 BC) initiated the construction of some of the most important buildings at the site which includes the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Acropolis was also called Cecropia – named after the first Athenian king, Cecrops.

The earliest artifacts date back to the Middle Neolithic Era as the Attica was inhabited from the Early Neolithic Age as per historical documents. A megaron, belonging to the Mycenaean Greece, stood upon the hill during the late Bronze Age. Only a single limestone column-base and remains of sandstone steps of the megaron survived.The construction of the palace was followed by a massive Cyclopean wall which served as a defense for the Acropolis up to the 5th century. However, conclusive evidence is lacking about the existence of the palace on top of the Acropolis of Athens. However, if the palace existed, it might have been replaced later by other building activities.

The construction of the palace was followed by a massive Cyclopean wall which served as a defense for the Acropolis up to the 5th century. However, conclusive evidence is lacking about the existence of the palace on top of the Acropolis of Athens. However, if the palace existed, it might have been replaced later by other building activities.

Archaic Period

Many temples were constructed at the site during this era. A temple dedicated to Athena Polias was constructed during 570–550 BC. The most notable among them is the Old Temple of Athena, which was built between 529–520 BC by the Peisistratids, stands between the temples of Erechtheion and the Parthenon. Gradually, the Acropolis acquired a sanctified character. In 480 BC, the temple was destroyed during the Persian invasion along with the older Parthenon which was also burned and looted.

Hellenistic and Roman Era

Many existing buildings at the site damaged by age and war were repaired during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Monuments dedicated to foreign kings especially those of the Attalid kings of Pergamon Attalos II were built in front of the northwest corner of the Parthenon, and Eumenes II, in front of the Propylaia. The walls of the acropolis were repaired due to the threat of a Herulian invasion, and another gate was erected in front of the Propylaia to restrict entrance, eventually turning the Acropolis to its original form to use it as a fortress.

Acropolis in Athens Acropolis of Athens Aerial View Acropolis of Athens at Night
Acropolis of Athens Images Acropolis of Athens Museum Acropolis of Athens Pictures
Acropolis of Athens Plan Ancient Acropolis of Athens Anicient Acropolis of Athens

Byzantine and Ottoman Era

The Parthenon was transformed into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Byzantine era. The Acropolis was the seat of the city’s administrative hub while the Parthenon became its cathedral and the Propylaia served as part of the ducal palace. A large Frankish tower was built but demolished in the 19th century.

The Parthenon was used as the army headquarters of the Turkish army after Greece was conquered by Ottoman Empire while the Erechtheion became the private harem of the Governor. During the Morean War, the buildings of the Acropolis suffered noticeable damages, as the Parthenon was hit by artillery fires.

In the following years, Acropolis was the hub of bustling activities flooded with Byzantine, Ottoman, and Frankish structures. A very surprising feature during the Ottoman era was a mosque with a minaret inside the Parthenon. After the Greek War of Independence, the additions made during the Byzantine, Ottoman, and Frankish periods were cleared from the site in order to regain the original form of the complex.

The construction and destruction of the Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens, proclaimed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is is a universal symbol of the classical spirit of the Greek civilization. The finest sanctuary of ancient Athens dominates the center of the modern city from the craggy rock known as the Acropolis. This sacred temple complex is connected to the most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its religious festivals and sophisticated rituals. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting, as unique masterpieces of classical architecture that have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis, made on the 5 th century BC, is the most accurate reflection of the wealth of Athens at its greatest glory, the Golden Age of Pericles. Pottery objects found close to the Erectheion show that the hill of Acropolis has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. In the 13 th century BC, traces of a fortification wall show that the citadel was the center of a Mycenaean Kingdom. The Acropolis became a sacred zone in the 8 th century BC, with the establishment of the worship of Athena Polias whose temple stood on the northeast part of the hill. When the greatest religious festival of Athens, the Panathenaia, was established, the temple of Athena Polia flourished in the mid 6 th century BC. At the same period, the monumental building of the Acropolis, known as the Old Temple and the Hekatompedos, Parthenon’s predecessor, were erected. Following the win of the Athenians against the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC, the Athenians began the construction of a huge temple, the renowned Pre-Parthenon. In 480 BC, when the Persians invaded Attica, the temple was still unfinished and the Persians pillaged the monuments of the Acropolis. Then, the Athenians decided to bury the surviving sculptures inside natural cavities of the sacred rock, forming artificial terraces and fortifying the Acropolis with the Wall of Themistocles and Wall of Cimon. In the 5 th century BC, the Acropolis became the seat of the Athenian League and Athens the greatest cultural center during the Golden Age of Pericles. It was then that Pericles initiated the ambitious building project that lasted the second half of the 5 th century BC.

Today, the most important monuments of the Acropolis that were erected under the supervision of great architects include the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erectheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The temples of the north side housed the Athenian rituals dedicated to the Olympian Gods while the temples of the south side housed the rituals dedicated to the cult of Athena. Although other Greek temples were damaged and pillaged in the Roman Empire, the Acropolis retained its prestige. Following the establishment of Christianity in the 7 th century AD, the temples were converted into Christian churches while the Parthenon served as the cathedral of the city in the 11 th century AD. Under the Frankish occupation, the Acropolis became the fortress of the medieval city while it served as the Turkish headquarters in the Ottoman rule. However, the Parthenon was bombarded and destroyed from the Venetians in 1687 and Lord Elgin caused further damage (1801) by looting the sculptural decoration of the Athena Nike temple, the Erectheion and the Parthenon. In 1822, the Acropolis was given to the Greeks during the Greek War of Independence with Odysseys Androutsos being the first garrison commander. After the liberation of Greece, the monuments of the Acropolis were systematically excavated from P. Kavvadias and the restoration project was assigned to N. Balanos. The Committee for the Conservation of the Monuments on the Acropolis was established in 1975 for the conservation and restoration on the Acropolis. Work is still in progress. The most important monuments of the Acropolis include the Parthenon, the Erectheion, the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Brauronion, the Temple of Augustus and Rome, the Pedestal of Agrippa, the Beule Gate, the Acropolis Fortification Wall, the Chalkotheke and the Old Temple of Athena. Important findings are exhibited in the Acropolis Museum.

SH Archive Acropolis aka Necropolis, Schliemann and 1877 Cremation Temple

KD: Before we start, I wanted to accuse Heinrich Schliemann of being one of the active contributors to the PTB narrative. The Big Boss does not even bother to stick his hand in his coat. He's got one of his subordinates do it for him. The image is Troy related, but falls within the time frame covering his presence at the Acropolis of Athens.

A few days ago, when I was putting this Hemi-Plunger ship thread together, I noticed a greco-roman building in one of the ship related 19th century sources. I think coincidences of the below described nature, do not really happen. I apologize in advance, for I doubt my ability to put everything in a proper logical sequence. I will give it a try though.

  • The Acropolis of Athens
  • TheParthenon
  • ThePropylaea
  • TheFrankish Tower
  • . and a certain non-ancient 19th century Cremation Temple.

This here is the Acropolis Hill.

  • The construction date provided is 5th century BC. That would be approximately 2,500 years ago.

I was gonna put this one at the very end, but just like I sad, I'm struggling with logically sequencing everything in this thread. There is so much info I dug up, that it's somewhat hard. So when I was was throwing a quick Hemi-Plunger Ship thread together I scrolled down this 02/24/1877 Scientific American Journal. And here is what I saw.

Cremation, in this country at least, is not popular. For a time, it occupied here some public attention, but only in a sensational way and the sober discussion of the subject, which followed after its novelty had worn off, led to the general opinion that, while every one might be quite willing to see his dead neighbors cremated, no one would acquiesce in the disposal of his friends and relatives in so abnormal a manner. Hence, with the single exception of the late revolting exhibition in Pennsylvania, which we alluded to at the time, the dead in this country have continued to be deposited in their hallowed resting places, and have not been packed away, in an incinerated state, in labeled urns. In Europe, however, cremation still finds many warm adherents and during last summer a congress of the "Friends of Cremation" (a society which, we are informed by Engineering, whence we take the annexed engravings, has branches in various parts of the world), was held in Dresden. Before this meeting, a large number of designs for cremation and mortuary buildings were brought in competition, and finally the prize was awarded to Mr. G. Lilienthal, a Berlin architect, for the imposing structure illustrated herewith.

  • The cremation ceremony is proposed to be as follows: The body, having been brought into the hall, is subjected to the usual medical examination or when an inquest is necessary, it is removed to offices in another part of the building, where the required investigation can be held.
    • When all is ready, the body, placed on the platform, B, Fig. 2, is raised by a lift into the hall, A, where visitors are gathered, and here the result of the medical examination is declared, and whatever preliminary religious ceremonies that are desired are performed.
    • The body is then transported to the chapel, E, in front of the pulpit, F, where the burial service is performed.
    • The bier is afterward lowered mechanically, and brought to the furnaces, which are arranged in a semicircle and partitioned for the reception of several biers.
    • The ashes are subsequently placed in an urn, on which the name, etc., of the deceased are recorded, and which is set up in a suitable niche.

    KD: As you can see the description is incomplete, for only letters A, B, E and F were provided with a description. But my attention was attracted to the tower marked with a C at the bottom, and two bell-N's at the top. I have seen a similar tower before.

    The Frankish Tower (part of the Propylaea) was a medieval tower built on the Acropolis of Athens by the Franks as part of the palace of the Dukes of Athens. It was demolished by the Greek authorities in 1874, on the initiative and with funding from Heinrich Schliemann.


    • The date of construction is unclear, and following its demolition now impossible to reconstruct with any certainty.
    • The tower was built of stone from the quarries of Penteli and Piraeus, making heavy use of material from the ancient buildings of the Acropolis.

    • The tower was allegedly built between 1388 and 1458, but. "the date of construction is unclear."

    KD: Construction began in 437 BC.

    Athena Parthenos is a lost massive chryselephantine (gold and ivory) sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena, made by Phidias and his assistants and housed in the Parthenon in Athens this statue was designed as its focal point. Parthenos 'maiden, virgin' was an epithet of Athena. There have been many replicas and works inspired by the statue, in both ancient and modern times.

    It was the most renowned cult image of Athens,considered one of the greatest achievements of the most acclaimed sculptor of ancient Greece. Phidias began his work around 447 BC. Lachares removed the gold sheets in 296 BC to pay his troops, and the bronze replacements for them were probably gilded thereafter it was damaged by a fire about 165 BC but repaired. An account mentions it in Constantinople in the 10th century.

    • The modern version took eight years to complete , and was unveiled to the public on May 20, 1990.
    • The Nashville Athena Parthenos is made of a composite of gypsum cement and ground fiberglass.
    • The head of Athena was assembled over an aluminum armature, and the lower part was made in steel.
    • The four ten-inch H beams rest on a concrete structure that extends through the Parthenon floor and basement down to bedrock, to support the great weight of the statue.
    • LeQuire made each of the 180 cast gypsum panels used to create the statue light enough to be lifted by one person and attached to the steel armature.
    • Nashville's Athena stands 41 ft 10 in (12.75 m) tall, making her the largest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western World.
    • It stood in Nashville's Parthenon as a plain, white statue for twelve years.
    • In 2002, Parthenon volunteers gilded Athena under the supervision of master gilder Lou Reed.
    • The gilding project took less than four months and makes the modern statue appear that much more like the way that Phidias' Athena Parthenos would have appeared during its time.
    • The 23.75-karat gold leaf on Nashville's Athena Parthenos weighs a total of 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg) and is one-third the thickness of tissue paper.
    • Ancient Greece (Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic) spanned from 8th century BC to 149 BC.
    • There are no original sources of anything pertaining to Ancient Greece.
    • This world knew nothing about ancient Greece until the beginning of the 15th century.
        The Odyssey is widely believed to date back to the Eighth Century B.C., with the story being told in the oral tradition before it was eventually inscribed.
      • Example: Prior to the 15th century, copies of the Odyssey were handwritten in Greek, and the first printed version, also transcribed in Greek, was produced in 1488.
      • For approximately 2,000 years this world did not know anything about ancient Greece.
      • For approximately 2,000 years copies were getting preserved, and nobody knew about them.


      The below analysis of Gregorovius's 'History of Medieval Athens' appeared in the A. Fomenko's book titled 'Empirico-Statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and its Applications to Historical Dating.' The snippets were extracted from this edition.

      Apparently, our Acropolis was also known as The Castle of Sathines. I was unable to find any specific information about this name. There has to be a meaning to this "Sathines" but a correct search string keeps on escaping me.

      1908 Source

      After a lot of alleged mambo-jumbo, Athens and Acropolis ended up being allegedly conquered by Nerio I Acciaioli. Nerio's troops invaded the Duchy of Athens and occupied most parts of Attica and Boeotia in 1385.

      Anatoly Fomenko thinks that Nerio I was the one responsible for the construction of the Parthenon. Here is his reasoning for thinking that way.

      As far as I understand the source of the above image is this 1883 book with the original being shown here. Somehow, one of the Parthenon Pediments look different on one two many images, but what else is new?

      If the very first image of the Parthenon was indeed done between 1436 and 1444, this fact could make Fomenko's claim that much more credible. But just like I said, I disagree, and will try to cover my thoughts within the final summary.

      For right now I wanted to briefly touch up on the Athena Parthenos statue. I always find images like the one below interesting. To be honest, most of the similar type images pertaining to this thread do not look drastically different. It could be the issue with English language translations, or it could be whatever else. As it stands, Athena Parthenos was not mentioned in the English language sector until 1850.

      The statue of Athena Parthenos somehow disappeared from Acropolis. Of course, we only learned about this statue's existence some time after 1400's. Wiki mentioned 1961 source says that "An account mentions it in Constantinople in the 10th century". The Nashville replica weighs 12 tons. I do not know how much 40 feet tall gold and ivory statue could weight, but getting it to Constantinople had to be a task to accomplish. Personally, I doubt there was ever such a statue of Athena-Minerva. On the other hand if there was, and it was really made of ivory and gold, we can all imagine the most likely fate of such statue.

      By now it appears that 15th century served as a major cutoff date. Prior to approximately 1400 AD, some major cataclysm drastically changed this world. It could have been the proverbial Biblical Deluge, a War of the Gods, or whatever else of comparable magnitude. Acropolis center somehow managed to avoid being destroyed, while nearby cities (or one large city Acropolis served) got wiped out or buried. Being elevated, Acropolis became a desirable complex worth fighting for, but it was not your regular complex of religious worship. In my opinion it served a rather practical purpose.

      To get the point of my hypothesis across, I will re-post our 1877 Cremation Temple image with the Propylaea photograph superimposed. I think these two structures share the same design and the same purpose.

      In my opinion, this design was developed prior to our pre-1400's event. Survivors inherited a lot of such remaining building/complex designs (and/or actual buildings), and this is why greco-roman architecture was so prevalent during the 19th century. They had designs meant to fulfill specific purposes, i.e. post offices, libraries, train stations, etc.

      The other notable, in my opinion, Acropolis structure is the above mentioned minaret, which most likely served as Crematorium. IMHO, it was something similar to the structure below.

      Text sourceWhat do you think this is?


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      Not actually KorbenDallas

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      Athene's and Greece's histories are disturbingly fake, even worse then the 'Roman Empire'.
      And nothing symbolises the fakeness better then the fake "enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization" The Parthenon.

      "10. The earliest known photograph of the Parthenon, taken in 1839. In the centre of the ruin the small Turkish mosque still stands (serving as a makeshift museum). Note that now just two figures remain, just visible, in the west pediment, the so-called ‘Hadrian and Sabina’ (p. 140). "


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      Here is an interesting something from this 1900 book.

      I’m wondering whether these could be some metal melting foundries designed in the past. Crematoriums have furnaces and high temp capabilities to start with. Could tech of the ancients be concealed by being used as crematoriums in some places, with some of the structures repurposed into mosques?


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      You are making great points with this post KD. I’m new to Ferdinand Gregorovious’s views on Medieval Greece and Athens (as well as A. Fomenko’s work) but he makes good arguments for them.

      I found this excerpt from the book The Parthenon and Its Sculptures by Michael B. Cosmopoulus (2004). In Chapter 7 - The Parthenon in 1687: New Sources, he discusses the discovery of two manuscripts that provide first hand accounts of Athens in 1675 (Francis Vernon) and 1699 (provided by historian William St. Clair). The author notes “…an account of Athens written by Jean Giraud, the French consul, at some time before the explosion…”
      Excuse me if I missed something when I read your post, but I didn’t see mention of an explosion and thought this may be a clue as to some event you may be looking to tie into.


      Active member

      What a post KD. I have looked into the Parthenon myself, and couldn't get past the explosion of the building. I was trying to work out the idea they used the building as a ammo store. I could smell the BS, but didn't get far.

      I'm not even sure what you think the story might be. I think you're saying its possible that this was a created building to serve the idea of an "ancient Greece", or possibly that it was a a building that was from an older civilisation that was altered. From the photos it definitely looks rebuilt (that missing side) and also adjusted (the missing tower).

      I can't help but wonder about the years of restoration this building has undergone too. Where they replacing plaster for marble? On Starmonkey's tourism point, well, this is yet another cultural touchstone (like the pyramids) that does draw in the crowds. If history is stolen, don't TPTB need these distractions? I think you are presenting a case for another misdirection here from the reality - that it is a tourist attraction speaks to that.

      KD Archive

      Not actually KorbenDallas

      As far as tourism goes, this thread has nothing to do with it. The issue of tourism can be brought up in a separate thread where it will not sidetrack this specific investigation as it pertains to the Acropolis complex history, and its true original purpose.


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      The Elgin Marbles. Why would they cut, steal and ship them to London? Maybe they didn't.

      I first made the thought that Nike in the Louvre was never found in the Greek island of Samothraki, but. in the Louvre basements, resurfaced after a reset. That's because I find the history and the persons behind its discovery weak. Maybe the Parthenon Sculptures, too, have always been in the British Museum, until Elgin matched them to a temple in post-reset Greece. Isn't the British Museum a 'Greek Temple', anyway? The Elgin Marbles could have been removed or broken pieces of decoration for the British Museum. To make it believable they took a horse head piece and placed it on the Parthenon, in an awkward position. Sure, there are other sculptures of the same style on the Parthenon, too, but remember we are talking about a universal style.


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      I get it. But I am the guy who suspects the pantheon could have been a methane silo.

      Based on how the scar of the veneer or building abutment transcends both color layers of stone, I would conclude this tower / chimney stack was part of the original structure.

      It certainly looks like there was an explosion here. This side of the acropolis retaining wall is a conglomerated mess.
      Rebuilt from the rubble of prior structures.

      KD Archive

      Not actually KorbenDallas
      • Jacob Spon (1647 – 1685) was a French doctor and archaeologist, was a pioneer in the exploration of the monuments of Greece and a scholar of international reputation.
      • View of Athens, part of which is hidden behind the hill, View of the City of Athens published by J. Spon in 1674, with the relation of Father Babin.
        • It must be noted that it wasFather Babin, a Jesuit, who wrote the first careful account of the modern condition of the ruins of ancient Athens.
        • This he did in a letter to the Abbe Pecoil, canon of Lyons.
        • This letter was written in October, 1672.
        • It was published with a commentary by Spon in 1674 under the title of " Relation de l'etat present de la ville d'Athenes".


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        During my novel research, I came upon the story of "Catherine of The Wheel," which I think may be linked to "Athena Parthenos."
        Was the Parthenon used at some time for dark rituals and sacrifice? Maybe. But I don't think that was its original purpose. I believe the Parthenon is much, much older than we are taught. Greece was said to be a colony of Atlantis, but then broke away and they had a war with each other. Are we seeing a remnant of that time in the Parthenon?

        Catherine’s Wheel. Symbol of martyrdom, ascension, creation, destruction.

        The Catherine’s Wheel is a symbol named after St. Catherine (Perhaps a modernized Athena for the Dark Ages) who was a saint and martyr from the 4th century. It is a wheel with curved knife blades on the outer rim.

        St. Catherine was a noted scholar and princess in the 4th century. St. Catherine was the daughter of the governor of Egyptian Alexandria, Constus. When she was 14 she had a vision of Mary and Jesus as a child and became a Christian and converted over one thousand people to Christianity. Maxentius the Roman Emperor at the time who was considered bloodthirsty and cruel called St. Catherine to meet with him. St. Catherine told him he should not be so cruel. Maxentius called his scholars who debated with Catherine. St. Catherine won the debate and some of the scholars converted on the spot. Those scholars were immediately put to death by Maxentius and St. Catherine was thrown into a cell and tortured. Anyone who came to visit her was instantly converted to Christianity including Maxentius’ wife. St. Catherine came out of the cell seemingly unscathed and Maxentius order her to be put to death by a spiked wheel. St. Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. Maxentius then proposed marriage and St. Catherine rebuked him. Maxentius then ordered her to be beheaded. All of this happened when St. Catherine was 18.

        The Catherine Wheel was also known as the "Breaking Wheel" since it was a device used to break the bones of the accused and crush them to death. Sometimes it was also known simply as “the wheel” and the people who faced torture and death through this device were said to be “broken on the wheel”.

        These goddesses may be linked to HEKATE. I think its possible they are all the same extraterrestrial "goddess."

        Hecate (Hekate) is a goddess of Greek mythology who was capable of both good and evil. She was especially associated with witchcraft, magic, the Moon, doorways, and creatures of the night such as hell-hounds and ghosts. She is often depicted carrying a torch to remind of her connection with the night and in sculpture with three faces, representing her role as the guardian of crossroads.

        My thoughts?
        I think they are all the same goddess, and she represents darkness, torture, and evil. Or. she is used for dark purposes, despite representing many things. "Ritual Magic" (Aka: Babylon Workings) was said to be neutral. It was up to the practitioners as to what effect or outcome they wanted, light or dark. But its a deal with the devil. The Parthenon may have been an important ritual center. The columns are the male aspect, the Athena statue the female. A balance of energies. All god and goddess worship is BS. Its the darkness of our universe desiring sleazy adoration and ritual death in exchange for favors, military victories, and wealth.
        The huge stone outcrop on which the Parthenon sits is a powerful Earth energy center. Think of it as you would a large powerful amplifier for music, radio, etc.

        The J. Paul Getty Museum

        Ruins of the gateway to the Athenian Acropolis. A row of six columns are standing in front of the gateway. A rectangular doorway is in the center of the stone wall of the gate. Additional columns are visible through the doorway.

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        Watch the video: The Propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis - 3D (June 2022).