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Propylaia

The Propylaia (Propylaea) were built as a monumental entrance to the Acropolis


rock. It is an impressive building that surrounds the natural entrance to the plateau,
and one approached it in ancient times through an inclining ramp that led visitors
straight through the steps in front of the Propylaia. Later, the Romans built a more
dramatic ramp that guided the visitors up towards the entrance of the Acropolis in a
zigzag fashion.
Mnesikles was the architect of the project, and he began building right after the
main construction of the Parthenon was completed in 437 BCE, but construction
stopped abruptly five years later when the Peloponnesian war began.
The Propylaia is a building of the Doric order with few Ionic columns supporting the
roof of the central wing. It was a complex structure to conceive and assemble, and
was clearly designed to make a lasting impression for the approaching visitor.

The visitor ascended a wide inclining ramp towards the central part of the Propylaia,
and just below the massive doors he was engulfed by the six massive Doric columns
that flanked the door, and the six smaller ones to the visitors periphery. To continue
he had to either scale the four marble steps directly under the columns, or he could
continue through the narrowing ramp at the center. Once past the steps, he would
be walking inside the central hall that was considerably narrower than the ramp, but
was lined on each side by three Ionic columns that supported the massive weigh of
the roof.
The main hall divided the building into two wings, one to the east and one to the
west. The east section of the Propylaia had an inner wing; the one so called
Pinakotheke for apparently it housed paintings of mythological content as Pausanias
informs us.
The west wing, is on a slightly higher level than its east counterpart, and is built
adjacent to the small temple of Athena Nike which protrudes diagonally towards the
main ascending ramp, while the west wing now contains a massive pedestal (of
Agrippas) which was constructed by two patrons from the city of Pergamon,
Eumenes and Attalos in the Hellenistic era, and was used by Agrippas to support a
complex of bronze statues depicting four horses pulling a chariot.
Unlike other Greek sanctuaries of Ancient Greece, the Acropolis was built on a
master plan with the buildings related to one another. Nowhere is this more evident
than in the relationship between the Propylaia and the Parthenon. Several subtle
features associate the two buildings. Both are structures with strong Doric flavor,
although both incorporate Ionic columns in their interiors. They are also related in
size, (the Propylaia width being equal to the length of the Parthenon), and in
proportional ratios (4:9 for the Parthenon and 3:7 for the Propylaia). Both buildings
are oriented similarly from North to South, with the Propylaia being a little to the
East of the Parthenon Axis.
Before the Propylaia was built there is evidence that another building stood in its
place, a smaller one oriented on a northeast-southwest axis. Since the Propylaia
controlled access to the Acropolis it became the subject of substantial fortifications
by later rulers and invaders, and at one point in history it even functioned as the
palace of the Franks.

Temple of Athena Nike

The southwest of the Acropolis plateau, right next to the Propylaia, has been an
important location of a sanctuary dating back to the Mycenaean era. It is a
protruding tall mass of rock, strategically located in a way that protects the south
flank of the most vulnerable access point and gate to the citadel.
During the Archaic era a small temple stood on the site that faced an altar to its
east. This building was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BCE along with the rest of
the Acropolis, and was not rebuilt until 435 BCE.
The Classical temple that has survived was completed in 420 BCE. From several
ancient accounts and by Pausanias we know the statue of Athena Nike in its cella
was made of wood and held a pomegrade in the right hand and a helmet in the left.
Since it had no wings, as it was customary for Nike statues of the time, the temple
acquired the name Apteros Nike (wing-less victory). It is said that the statue was
deprived of wings so it could never leave the city of Athens.
The Classical temple is considerably smaller than the other temples of the Acropolis.
It is the first building that greets the visitors who approach the Propylaia and its
elegant Ionic features balance the dominating Doric character of the Propylaia. It
faces to the east and its entrance is lined with four monolithic Ionic columns that
support a shallow porch.
The temple's ratio of the column height to its length is 7:1 instead of the customary
9:1 of other Ionic temples.
Much later in its history in 1687, during Ottoman occupation the temple of Athena
Nike was dismantled when the Venetians besieged the Turks at the Acropolis. The
Turks used the stones from the temple to build a bastion next to the Propylaia. The
Venetians finally forced the Turks to surrender after eight days of intense
bombardment, and the temple stones remained as part of the bastion until the
liberation of Greece. In 1834 during systematic excavations and rebuilding of the
Acropolis by Ross and Hansen the bastion was dismantled and the temple was
reconstructed during the next four years.
In the late 1930s under the direction of N. Balanos and Orlandos the entire bastion
along with the temple was dismantled in order to address structural problems with
the sub-structure and was reconstructed by 1940. In 1998 the temple began a new
cycle of reconstruction. The frieze was removed and placed in the Acropolis
museum, and the temple dismantled completely once again to replace the corroded
concrete floor and the iron beams that were present as the result of previous
reconstructions.
Nike, in Greek religion, the goddess of victory, daughter of the giant Pallas and of
the infernal River Styx. Nike probably did not originally have a separate cult at
Athens. As an attribute of both Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and the chief god,
Zeus, Nike was represented in art as a small figure carried in the hand by those
divinities. Athena Nike was always wingless; Nike alone was winged. She also
appears carrying a palm branch, wreath, or Hermes staff as the messenger of
victory. Nike is also portrayed erecting a trophy, or, frequently, hovering with
outspread wings over the victor in a competition; for her functions referred to
success not only in war but in all other undertakings. Indeed, Nike gradually came to
be recognized as a sort of mediator of success between gods and men.
The ancient Greek goddess Nike was the personification of the ideal of victory. Such
personifications of ideal terms were common in ancient Greek culture; other
examples include Wisdom, Knowledge, and Justice. Unlike other gods in the Greek
pantheon, such personifying deities were not usually given human personalities and
histories. For this reason, little is said about Nike in Greek culture beyond that her
mother was Styx (daughter of Ocean) and her father was Pallas, the Titan. She had
three sisters, also personified deities: Zelus (Rivalry), Cratos (Supremacy), and Bia
(Force) who, with Nike, were always seated by mighty Zeus on Mt. Olympus.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace,[2] is a
marble Hellenistic sculpture of Nike (the Greek goddess of victory), that was created
about the 2nd century BC. Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the
Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. H.W. Janson
described it as "the greatest masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture"

Athena, goddess of wisdom


Goddess of wisdom, war and the crafts, and favourite daughter of Zeus, Athena was,
perhaps, the wisest, most courageous, and certainly the most resourceful of the
Olympian gods.
She is closely associated with Athens, the city named in her honour after the people
of Attica chose her as their patron following her gift of the olive tree, symbol of
peace and plenty. The 5th century BCE temple of the Parthenon, which continues to
this day to dominate the acropolis of the city, was built in her honour. Her adopted
son Erichthonios, one of the first kings of Athens, is traditionally credited with
inaugurating the Panathenaic festival, held every four years to honour the goddess.
The festival included a magnificent procession through the city, the presentation to
Athena of a specially woven peplos (depicting the Gigantomachy), and athletic
games. Prizes for the games were amphorae painted with a figure of Athena and
contained prime olive oil. In her role as protector, she was also revered in many
other major cities, notably as patron of Sparta, as the founder of Thebes in Boeotia,
and at Corinth where she appeared on the citys coins.

U grkoj mitologiji, Atina je bila boginja civilizacije, tj. mudrosti, tkanja, zanata i trezvenije
strane rata (nasilje i krvoednost su bili Aresova svojstva).Atinina mudrost prati tehniko znanje
potrebno u tkanju, metalurgiji ali takoe ukljuuje i lukavost (metis) likova kao to je Odisej.
Njoj su sveti sova i maslinovo drvo, a njeni roditelji su vrhovni bog Zeus i titanka Metida.
Atenine svetenice priaju ovu priu o njenom roenju; Zeus je udeo za
titankom Metidom, a ona je na sebe uzimala razne oblike da bi mu izbegla, dok je najzad nije
uhvatio te je tako zatrudnela. Jedno proroanstvo Majke Zemlje najavilo je da e to biti ensko
dete a da e sledeeg puta Metida roditi sina kome je sudbina predodredila da smakne Zeusa, ba
kao to je Zeus smakao Krona, a Kron u svoje vreme Urana. Zbog toga je Zeus medenim reima
prvo namamio Metidu u postelju, a onda je iznenada progutao i to bee Metidin kraj. Zeus je,
meutim, kasnije tvrdio da mu Metida iz trbuha daje savete. Posle izvesnog vremena, dok je
etao pored obale jezera Triton, Zeus dobi napad glavobolje, izgledalo je da e mu prsnuti
lobanja. Urlao je od bola, tako da je ceo nebeski svod odjekivao. Hermes je dotrao i odmah
otkrio uzrok Zeusove nevolje. Zeus nagovori Hefesta, da donese eki, i da mu naini rez na
lobanji, odakle iskoi Atena uz snaan pokli i u punoj ratnoj opremi.metalurgiji ali takoe
ukljuuje i lukavost (metis) likova kao to je Odisej. Njoj su sveti sova i maslinovo drvo.

Prve prie o Atini govore o njoj kao o boginji ptica. Prvobitno je zamiljena kao boginja sa
krilima, a ak je u nekim mitovima i sama bila ptica sova. Zato i ne udi zato u mitovima koji
su nastali kasnije Atenina poruka stie preko orla, sokola i sl. Atinina najbolja prijateljica je Nike,
boginja pobede. Atina se pojavljuje kao zatitnica mnogih grkih junaka, ukljuujui Herakla,
Odiseja i Jasona, a ona je i omiljena Zeusova ki. Atena je izmislila frulu, trubu, zemljani lonac,
plug, grabulju, volovski jaram, konjsku uzdu, koije i brod. Ona je prva uila druge brojevima a i
svim enskim poslovima kao to su kuvanje, predenje i tkanje. Iako je boginja rata, ona ne uiva
u borbi kao Arej ili Erida, ve nastoji da smiri sukob i uvek se zalae za zakon i poredak mirnim
putem; ne nosi oruje u vreme mira, a kad ima potrebu za njim, obino ga pozajmljuje od Zeusa.
Njeno milosre je veliko; kad su na Areopagu glasovi sudija podjednaki, ona uvek daje presudan
glas da se optueni oslobodi. Ipak, kad jednom stupi u borbu, nikad ne gubi bitku, ak i protiv
samoga Areja, jer bolje od njega poznaje strategiju i taktiku; mudre vojskovoe se uvek njoj
obraaju za savet.

Atina je devica, nikada nije imala ljubavnika. Zato se esto uz njeno ime dodaje i ime Palada
(devica). Postoji vie verzija kako se rodio Eriton, Atinin posinak. Prema jednoj Atinu je pokuao
da siluje Hefest, ali je bio bezuspean i njegovo seme je palo na zemlju iz koje se rodio Eriton.
Prema drugoj, seme Hefesta je palo na Atininu nogu i ona ga je obrisala sa vunom. Tu vunu je
zasadila u zemlju i iz nje je roen Eriton koji je kasnije postao vidar i kralj Atine i za vreme
njegove vladavine desile su se znaajne promene u atinskoj kulturi. esto je bio pod zatitom
boginje Atine.

Atina se takmiila sa Posejdonom da bude glavno boanstvo u Atini. Oni su se sloili da e svako
od njih Atinjanima dati neki poklon. iji se poklon bude vie svideo Atinjanima taj e bog
pobediti. Posejdon je udario zemlju svojim trozupcem i iz nje je potekao potok, ali voda je bila
slana. Atina im je poklonila prvu domau maslinu. Maslina je Atinjanima davala hranu, ulje i
drvo i zato su oni izabrali Atinin poklon i nju postavili za glavno boanstvo.
Atina je bila glavno boanstvo u jo nekoliko gradova, pogotovu u Sparti.

Although Athena appears before Zeus at Knossosin Linear B, as , a-ta-na


po-ti-ni-ja, "Mistress Athena"[54]in the Classical Olympian pantheon, Athena was
remade as the favourite daughter of Zeus, born fully armed from his forehead. The
story of her birth comes in several versions. In the one most commonly cited, Zeus
lay with Metis, the goddess of crafty thought and wisdom, but he immediately feared
the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear children more
powerful than the sire,[56] even Zeus himself. In order to prevent this, Zeus
swallowed Metis Eventually Zeus experienced an enormous headache; Prometheus,
Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, or Palaemon (depending on the sources examined)
cleaved Zeus head with the double-headed Minoan axe, the labrys. Athena leaped
from Zeus head, fully grown and armed, with a shout
Athena never had a consort or lover and is thus known as Athena Parthenos, "Virgin
Athena". Her most famous temple, the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens takes
its name from this title.

Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, but she eluded him. His semen fell to the earth and
impregnated the soil, and Erichthonius was born from the Earth, Gaia. Athena then raised the
baby as a foster mother.[31]

Athena puts the infant Erichthonius into a small box (cista) which she entrusts to the care of three
sisters, Herse, Pandrosus, and Aglaulus of Athens. The goddess does not tell them what the box
contains, but warns them not to open it until she returns. One or two sisters opened the cista to
reveal Erichthonius, in the form (or embrace) of a serpent. The serpent, or insanity induced by the
sight, drives Herse and Aglaulus to throw themselves off the Acropolis.[67] Jane Harrison
(Prolegomena) finds this to be a simple cautionary tale directed at young girls carrying the cista
in the Thesmophoria rituals, to discourage them from opening it outside the proper context.

Another version of the myth of the Athenian maidens is told in Metamorphoses by the Roman
poet Ovid (43 BC 17 AD); in this late variant Hermes falls in love with Herse. Herse, Aglaulus,
and Pandrosus go to the temple to offer sacrifices to Athena. Hermes demands help from
Aglaulus to seduce Herse. Aglaulus demands money in exchange. Hermes gives her the money
the sisters have already offered to Athena. As punishment for Aglaulus's greed, Athena asks the
goddess Envy to make Aglaulus jealous of Herse. When Hermes arrives to seduce Herse,
Aglaulus stands in his way instead of helping him as she had agreed. He turns her to stone.[68]

With this mythic origin, Erichthonius became the founder-king of Athens, and many beneficial
changes to Athenian culture were ascribed to him. During this time, Athena frequently protected
him.

PARTHENON
Parthenon, chief temple of the Greek goddess Athena on the hill of the Acropolis at
Athens, Greece. It was built in the mid-5th century bce and is generally considered
to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order, the simplest of the
three Classical Greek architectural orders. The name Parthenon refers to the cult of
Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin) that was associated with the temple.
Directed by the Athenian statesman Pericles, the Parthenon was built by the
architects Ictinus and Callicrates under the supervision of the sculptor Phidias. Work
began in 447 bce, and the building itself was completed by 438. The same year a
great gold and ivory statue of Athena, made by Phidias for the interior, was
dedicated. Work on the exterior decoration of the building continued until 432 bce.
Although the rectangular white marble Parthenon has suffered damage over the
centuries, including the loss of most of its sculpture, its basic structure has remained
intact. A colonnade of fluted, baseless columns with square capitals stands on a
three-stepped base and supports an entablature, or roof structure, consisting of a
plain architrave, or band of stone; a frieze of alternating triglyphs (vertically grooved
blocks) and metopes (plain blocks with relief sculpture, now partly removed); and, at
the east and west ends, a low triangular pediment, also with relief sculpture (now
mostly removed). The colonnade, consisting of 8 columns on the east and west and
17 on the north and south, encloses a walled interior rectangular chamber, or cella,
originally divided into three aisles by two smaller Doric colonnades closed at the
west end just behind the great cult statue. The only light came through the east
doorway, except for some that might have filtered through the marble tiles in the
roof and ceiling. Behind the cella, but not originally connected with it, is a smaller,
square chamber entered from the west. The east and west ends of the interior of the
building are each faced by a portico of six columns. Measured by the top step of the
base, the building is 101.34 feet (30.89 metres) wide and 228.14 feet (69.54
metres) long.
The sculpture decorating the Parthenon rivaled its architecture in careful harmony.
The metopes over the outer colonnade were carved in high relief and represented,
on the east, a battle between gods and giants; on the south, Greeks and centaurs;
and on the west, probably Greeks and Amazons. Those on the north are almost all
lost.
The Parthenon remained essentially intact until the 5th century ce, when Phidiass
colossal statue was removed and the temple was transformed into a Christian
church. By the 7th century, certain structural alterations in the inner portion had
also been made. The Turks seized the Acropolis in 1458, and two years later they
adopted the Parthenon as a mosque, without material change except for the raising
of a minaret at the southwest corner. During the bombardment of the Acropolis in
1687 by Venetians fighting the Turks, a powder magazine located in the temple blew
up, destroying the centre of the building. In 180103 a large part of the sculpture
that remained was removed, with Turkish permission, by the British nobleman
Thomas Bruce, Lord Elgin, and sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London. (See
Elgin Marbles.) Other sculptures from the Parthenon are now in the Louvre Museum
in Paris, in Copenhagen, and elsewhere, but many are still in Athens.

The cella was unusually large to accommodate the oversized statue of Athena, confining the front
and back porch to a much smaller than usual size. A line of six Doric columns supported the front
and back porch, while a colonnade of 23 smaller Doric columns surrounded the statue in a two-
storied arrangement. The placement of columns behind the statue was an unusual development
since in previous Doric temples they only appeared on the flanks, but the greater width and length
of the Parthenon allowed for a dramatic backdrop of double decked columns instead of a wall.

The back room sheltered Athenas treasure and four columns of the Ionic order supported its roof.
The introduction of elements of the Ionic order in a predominately Doric temple was more
dramatic in the development of a continuous freeze on the exterior wall of the cella. While the
integration of Doric and Ionic elements on the same temple was not a new development in Greek
architecture, it was rare, and bestowed on the Parthenon a delicate balance between austere and
delicate visual characteristics.

All temples in Greece were designed to be seen only from the outside. The viewers
never entered a temple and could only glimpse the interior statues through the open
doors. The Parthenon was conceived in a way that the aesthetic elements allow for a
smooth transition between the exterior and the interior that housed the
chryselephantine statue of Athena. A visitor to the Acropolis who entered from the
Propylaia would be confronted by the majestic proportion of the Parthenon in three
quarters view, with full view of the west pediment and the north colonnade. As the
viewer moved closer, the details of the sculpted metopes would become
decipherable, and when in proximity to the base of the columns, parts of the frieze
would become evident in tantalizing colorful glimpses peering from the spaces
between the columns.

When the current restoration effort began in 1975, backed by $23 million from the Greek
government, the projects directors believed they could finish in ten years. But unforeseen
problems arose as soon as workers started disassembling the temples. For example, the ancient
Greek builders had secured the marble blocks together with iron clamps fitted in carefully carved
grooves. They then poured molten lead over the joints to cushion them from seismic shocks and
protect the clamps from corrosion. But when a Greek architect, Nikolas Balanos, launched an
enthusiastic campaign of restorations in 1898, he installed crude iron clamps, indiscriminately
fastening one block to another and neglecting to add the lead coating. Rain soon began to play
havoc with the new clamps, swelling the iron and cracking the marble. Less than a century later,
it wasclear that parts of the Parthenon were in imminent danger of collapse.

Until September 2005, the restorations coordinator was Manolis Korres, associate professor of
architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and a leading Parthenon scholar who
had spent decades poringover every detail of the temples construction. In a set of vivid drawings,
he depicted how the ancient builders extracted some 100,000 tons of marble from a quarry 11
miles northeast of central Athens, roughly shaped the blocks, then transported them on wagons
and finally hauled them up the steep slopes of the Acropolis. Yet all that grueling labor, Korres
contends, was dwarfed by the time and energy lavished on fine-tuning the temples finished
appearance. Carving the long vertical grooves, or flutes, that run down each of the Parthenons
main columns was probably as costly as all the quarrying, hauling and assembly combined.

Todays restorers have been replacing damaged column segments with fresh marble. To speed up
the job, engineers built a flute-carving machine. The device, however, is not precise enough for
the final detailing, which must be done by hand. This smoothing of the flutes calls for an expert
eye and a sensitive touch. To get the elliptical profile of the flute just right, a mason looks at the
shadow cast inside the groove, thenchips and rubs the stone until the outline of the shadow is a
perfectly even and regular curve.

A restoration project funded by the Greek government and the European Union is now entering
its 34th year, as archaeologists, architects, civil engineers and craftsmen strive not simply to
imitate the workmanship ofthe ancient Greeks but to recreate it. They have had to become
forensic architects, reconstructing long-lost techniques to answer questions that archaeologists
and classical scholars have debated for centuries. How did the Athenians construct their mighty
temple, an icon of Western civilization, in less than a decadeapparently without an overall
building plan? How did they manage to incorporate subtle visual elements into theParthenons
layout and achieve such faultless proportions and balance? And how were the Parthenons
builders able to work at a level of precision (in some cases accurate to within a fraction of a
millimeter) without the benefit of modern tools? Were not as good as they were, Lena
Lambrinou, an architect on the restoration project, observes with a sigh.

With such fanatical attention to detail, how could the Parthenons architects have finished the job
in a mere eight or nine years, ending somewhere between 438 and 437 b.c.? (The dates come
from the inscribed financial accounts.) One key factor may have been naval technology. Since the
Athenians were the greatest naval power in the Aegean, they likely had unrivaled mastery of
ropes, pulleys and wooden cranes. Such equipment would have facilitated the hauling and lifting
of the marble blocks.
Korres is convinced that centuries of metallurgical experimentation enabled the ancient Athenians
to create chisels and axes that were sharper and more durable than those available today.
Korres concludes that the ancient masons, with their superior tools, could carve marble at more
than double the rate of todays craftsmen. And the Parthenons original laborers had the benefit of
experience, drawing on a century and a half of temple-building know-how.
Moreover, the restoration team has confronted problems that their ancient Greek counterparts
could never have contemplated. During the Great Turkish War in the late 17th centurywhen the
Ottoman Empire was battling several European countriesGreece was an occupied nation. The
Turks turned the Parthenon into an ammunition dump. During a Venetian attack on Athens in
1687, a cannonball set off the Turkish munitions, blowing apartthe long walls of the Parthenons
inner chamber. More than 700 blocks from those wallseroded over timenow lay strewn
around the Acropolis.
For five years, beginning in 1997, Cathy Paraschi, a Greek-American architect on the restoration
project, struggled to fit the pieces together, hunting for clues such as the shape and depth of the
cuttings in the blocks that once held the ancient clamps. Eventually, she abandoned her computer
database, which proved inadequate for capturing the full complexity of the puzzle. Some days
were exhilarating, she told me, when we finally got one piece to fit another. Other days I felt
like jumping off the Acropolis. In the end, she and her co-workers managed to identify the
original positions of some 500 of the blocks. Looming over each restoration challenge is the
delicate question of how far to go. Every time the workers dismantle one of Balanos crude fixes,
it is a reminder of how destructive an overzealous restorer can be. Asthe director of the Acropolis
Restoration Project, Maria Ioannidou, explains, weve adopted an approach of trying to restore
the maximum amount of ancient masonry while applying the minimum amount of new
material.That means using clamps and rods made of titaniumwhich wont corrode and crack
the marbleand soluble white cement, so that repairs can be easily undone should future
generations of restorers discover a better way.

Perhaps none of the Parthenons mysteries stirs more debate than the gentle curves and
inclinations engineered throughout much of its design. There is hardly a straight line to be found
in the temple. Experts argue over whether these refinements were added to counter optical
illusions. The eye can be tricked, for instance, into seeing an unsightly sag in flat floors built
under a perched roof like the Parthenons. Possibly to correct this effect, the Athenians laid out
the Parthenons base so that the 228-by-101-foot floor bulges slightly toward the middle, curving
gradually upward between 4 and 4 1/2 inches on its left and right sides, and 2 1/2 inches on its
front and back. One theory holds that this slight upward bulge was built simply to drain rainwater
away from the temples interior. But that fails to explain why the same curvingprofile is repeated
not only in the floor but in the entablature above the columns and in the (invisible) buried
foundations. This graceful curve was clearly fundamental to the overall appearance and planning
of the Parthenon.

No matter the motivation for these refinements, many early scholars assumed that crafting such
visual elements imposed tremendous extra demands on the Parthenons architects and masons.
(One wrote of the terrifyingcomplications involved.) No architectural manuals survive from the
Classical Greek era, but todays experts suspect the temple builders could add curves and inclined
angles with a few relatively simple surveying tricks. If youre building without mortar, every
block...must be trimmed by hand, notes Jim Coulton, professor emeritus of classical archaeology
at Oxford University. Although tilts and curvatures would require careful supervision by the
architect, they dont add a lot to the workload.

Still, how could each column segment be measured so that all would fit together in a single,
smoothly curving profile? The likely answer was found not in Athens but nearly 200 miles away
in southwestern Turkey. In the town of Didyma rises one of the most impressive relics of the
ancient world, the Temple of Apollo. Three of its 120 colossal columns still stand, each nearly
twice the height of the Parthenons. The wealthy trading city of Miletus commissioned the temple
in the age of Alexander the Great, around 150 years after completion of the Parthenon. The
gigantic ruins testify to a project of grandiose ambition: it was never finished despite 600 years of
construction efforts. But thanks to its unfinished state, crucial evidence was preserved on temple
walls that had not yet undergone their final polishing.

A few years after the Parthenon restoration began, University of Pennsylvania scholar Lothar
Haselberger was on a field trip exploring the Temple of Apollos innermost sanctuary. He noticed
what seemed to be patterns of faint scratches on the marble walls. In the blinding morning
sunlight the scratches are all but invisible, as I discovered to my initial frustration when I
searched for them. After the sun had swung around and began grazing the surface, however, a
delicate web of finely engraved lines started to emerge. Haselberger recalls, All of a sudden I
spotted a series of circles that corresponded precisely to the shape of a column base, the very one
at the front of the temple. He realized he had discovered the ancient equivalent of an architects
blueprint.
The discoveries at Didyma suggest that the temple builders operated on a plan-as-you-go basis.
Clearly, a lot of advance planning went into a building like the Parthenon, Coulton says. But it
wasnt planning inthe sense that wed recognize today. Theres no evidence they relied on a
single set of plans and elevations drawn to scale as a modern architect would.

But the miracle was short-lived. Only seven years after the construction of the Parthenon was
completed, war broke out with Sparta. Within a generation, Athens suffered a humiliating defeat
and a devastating plague.The story of the Parthenon resembles an ancient Greek tragedy, in
which an exceptional figure suffers a devastating reversal of fortune. And from Korres
perspective, that calamity is all the more reason to restore the greatest remnant of Athens golden
age. We wanted to preserve the beauty of what has survived these past 2,500 years, he says. A
reminder of mans power to create, as well as to destroy.

Erechtheum
Erechtheum, ionic temple of Athena, built during 421405 bc on the Acropolis at
Athens, famous largely for its complexity and for the exquisite perfection of its
details. The temples Ionic capitals are the most beautiful that Greece produced, and
its distinctive porch, supported by caryatid figures, is unequaled in classical
architecture. The Erechtheion has suffered a troubled history of misuse and neglect,
but with its prominent position above the city and porch of six Caryatids, it remains
one of the most distinctive buildings from antiquity.

The Erechtheion, named after the demi-god Erechtheus, the mythical Athenian king,
was conceived as a suitable structure to house the ancient wooden cult statue of
Athena, which maintained its religious significance despite the arrival of the gigantic
chryselephantine statue within the nearby Parthenon. The building also had other
functions, though, notably as the shrine centre for other more ancient cults: to
Erechtheus, his brother Boutes - the Ploughman, Pandrosos, the mythical first
Athenian king Kekrops (or Cecrops) - half-man, half-snake, and the gods Hephaistos
and Poseidon.

As with the other new buildings on the acropolis, the Erechtheion was built from
Pentelic marble which came from the nearby Mt. Pentelicus and was celebrated for
its pure white appearance and fine grain. It also contains traces of iron which over
time have oxidised, giving the marble a soft honey colour, a quality particularly
evident at sunrise and sunset.

The precise original plan of the building has been difficult to reconstruct due to the changes made
to it over the centuries. In any case, the asymmetrical nature of the building also presents a rather
confused architectural assembly in stark contrast to the precise symmetry of its neighbour the
Parthenon. The situation is not helped by the markedly uneven slope of the foundation rock;
indeed the floor of the building is over three metres lower at the northern end in respect to the
eastern side. However, certain elements are agreed upon by scholars. The cella measures some
22.22 m x 11.16 m and is divided into four chambers, of which the most eastern and largest
chamber housed the diiepetes, the olivewood statue of Athena Polias (of the city-state), clothed in
the specially woven robe which was carried in the Panathenaic procession, held in the city every
four years. In front of the statue stood a gold lamp designed by Kallimachos which had a bronze
palm shaped chimney and an asbestos wick which burned continuously. The sacred serpent
(oikouros ophis), which was believed to be an incarnation of Erechtheus, dwelt in one of the
western chambers and acted as guardian to the city. Well looked after, it was regularly fed with
honey cakes.

The other chambers of the building housed various religious and historical paraphernalia such as
a wooden statue of Hermes, a chair said to be made by the great architect Daedalus - he of the
Labyrinth of Minos fame - and various relics from the Persian wars. Six Ionic columns on the
eastern facade (6.58 m tall including base and capital) present the principal entrance (4.88 m x
2.42 m). On the north side is the porch sacred to Poseidon Erechtheus (a local version of the god)
and site of the trident strike which tapped the gods salt spring (the Erechthian Sea). Here also
was an altar and precinct sacred to Zeus Hypatos, as it was also believed to be the spot where
Zeus struck down Erechtheus with a thunderbolt (in revenge for killing Poseidons son
Eumolpos), hence the ceiling has an aperture. Around the precinct there are another six Ionic
columns (7.63m tall) which, as with the Parthenon columns, incorporate the feature of entasis -
that is, thicker bases which taper as the column rises - giving the effect that the columns stand
absolutely straight. The Caryatid porch is on the south side.

The whole building was originally surrounded by a 63 cm high Ionic frieze, but this has been so
badly damaged that it has been impossible to determine even the general theme of the piece.
What is known is that it was carved from Paros marble and attached to a dark blue (or grey)
background of Eleusinian marble. Pediment roofs of wood and tiles protected the cella and north
porch, while the south Caryatid porch had a flat roof. To the south-west of the building stood the
sacred olive tree, a gift from Athena, for which she became the patron deity of the city.

The real stars of the Erechtheion are without doubt the Caryatids or korai as they were known to
the ancient Greeks. The finely-sculptured figures are not unique to the building as other examples
exist in the architecture of the Archaic period, particularly in Treasury buildings at sacred sites
such as Delphi and Olympia. Their clinging Doric clothes (peplos and himation) and intricately
plaited hair are rendered in fine detail. Their bold stance and the firm set of the straight standing
leg give the impression that the task of bearing the weight of the porch entablature and roof is
effortless. Rather cleverly, the straight leg also creates folds in their clothing remarkably similar
to the flutes on an ordinary Ionic column. Originally, the figures raised slightly their robe with
one hand and held shallow libation vessels (phialai) with the other. This may have been in
reference to the fact that it was believed that the tomb of the mythical King Kekrops lay under the
building, and perhaps the libations poured by the Caryatids replicate the practice of pouring
libations into the ground as an offering to the dead. The Caryatids now on the acropolis are exact
copies; five of the originals reside in the Acropolis Museum of Athens and the other is in the
British Museum, London.
Like many classical buildings, the Erechtheion has suffered a chequered
history. Damaged by fire only ten years or so after its completion, it was
repaired in 395 BCE. In the 6th century CE it was converted into a Christian
church, the Franks made it into a small palace, and in c. 1460 CE the
Erechtheion suffered the indignity of being used as a harem for the pleasure
of the Turkish governor. In 1801 CE Lord Elgin gained permission from the
Turkish authorities to remove any sculpture or carvings that took his fancy,
and amongst his booty was one of the Caryatids and one of the eastern
columns. However, in 1833 CE systematic excavations began on the
acropolis, and from 1836 until 1842 CE the Erechtheion was partially
reconstructed. Further excavations and restorations were carried out in 1885
CE and throughout the late 20th century CE.
The term Caryatid first appears in the 4th century BCE and was coined by Vitruvius
in reference to Karyai in Laconia where women often danced balancing a basket on
their heads in honour of Artemis and where Caryatids were used in Archaic
architecture. They were an evolution of the earlier korai statues of both male and
female figures prevalent throughout the Archaic period and used as columns in
Ionian architecture. These were themselves an evolution of Persian columns which
often employed animal figures within the column design.
Archaic Caryatids were usually used in the porches of Treasury buildings which were
built to house offerings from specific states at religious sanctuaries such as Delphi
and Olympia. The most important treasury at Delphi was from the Siphnians (c. 525
BCE) and this and at least two other Treasuries had Caryatids. Caryatids of this
period often have a short column drum above the head in order to facilitate the join
with the column capital.
The most famous Caryatids are the six which support the roof of the false south
porch of the Erechtheion on the Athenian acropolis. This building was constructed
between 421 and 406 BCE as part of Pericles great project to rejuvenate the
architecture of the great city. The Erechtheion was built to house the ancient
wooden cult statue of Athena but also served as a centre for the cults of Erechtheus
(a mythical king of Athens), his brother Boutes, Hephaistos and Poseidon. The
Caryatids display features which would become staple elements of Classical
sculpture: clothes which cling to the body (the wet look) and a bold and more
dynamic positioning of the hips and legs. Although each Caryatid wears the same
robe - a belted Doric peplos and short himation - each is uniquely rendered, a
feature particularly noticeable in their intricate plaited hairstyles (best seen from the
rear). The arms of the figures have unfortunately been lost but Roman copies show
them holding in their right hands phialai - shallow vessels for pouring libations -
whilst their left hand raised slightly their robe. Scholars believe them to be carved
by different artists, most probably from the workshop of Alcamenes, student and
colleague of Pheidias.
Interestingly, the porch of the Erechtheion stands over what was believed to be the
tomb of the mythical king Kekrops and perhaps the Caryatids and their libation
vessels are a tribute to this fact - libations were poured into the ground as an
offering to the dead. The Caryatids now on the acropolis are copies, five of the
originals reside in the Acropolis Museum of Athens and the other is in the British
Museum, London.

The Acropolis Museum


Monday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (last admission: 3:30 p.m.)
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (last admission: 7:30 p.m.)
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (last admission: 9:30 p.m.)
Saturday/Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (last admission: 7:30 p.m.)
Photography is permitted in all Museum exhibition areas, except for the Gallery of
the Slopes of the Acropolis and the Archaic Acropolis Gallery. No use of flash or any
portable equipment such as tripod and lighting kit is allowed inside the Museum. The
publication of photographs in any print or electronic media is not permitted.

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