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Athens by James H. S. McGregor

By James H. S. McGregor

Revered because the birthplace of Western concept and democracy, Athens is far greater than an open-air museum jam-packed with crumbling monuments to historical glory. Athens takes readers on a trip from the classical city-state to trendy modern capital, revealing a world-famous city that has been resurrected and redefined time and again.

Although the Acropolis continues to be the city's anchor, Athens' bright tradition extends some distance past the Greek city's old obstacles. James H. S. McGregor issues out how the cityscape preserves indicators of the various actors who've crossed its old degree. Alexander the good included Athens into his empire, as did the Romans. Byzantine Christians repurposed Greek temples, the Parthenon integrated, into church buildings. From the 13th to 15th centuries, the city's language replaced from French to Spanish to Italian, as Crusaders and adventurers from diversified elements of Western Europe took turns sacking and administering the town. An Islamic Athens took root following the Ottoman conquest of 1456 and remained in position for almost 400 years, until eventually Greek patriots ultimately received independence in a blood-drenched revolution.

Since then, Athenians have continued many hardships, from Nazi profession and armed forces coups to famine and fiscal obstacle. but, as McGregor indicates, the background of Athens is towards a heroic epic than a Greek tragedy. Richly supplemented with maps and illustrations, Athens paints a portrait of 1 of the world's nice towns, designed for tourists in addition to armchair scholars of city history.

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While we might expect there to be some separation of worship and the housing and protection of a city treasury, in the Greek world these functions were often combined. Temples were sound, solidly constructed buildings that were hard to break into and relatively easy to secure. The surviving columns in front of the Parthenon’s two doorways are marked by grooves and indentations that suggest an iron grillwork was set between them to guard access to the building. The Parthenon doors were large and impregnable, probably cast in bronze or plated in bronze.

Associating this cave with one of his daughters suggests that it played an important, if obscure, role in the religious life of the city itself, not of individuals. Because Cecrops was a founder of the city, his cult is always associated with the earth. History also played its part in making the Acropolis sacred. The ruins of the Mycenaean palace and the very prominent Cyclopean walls would have contributed to its air of mystery. It is hard to imagine what the shrine builders of the eighth century thought they were seeing when they looked at the 26 at h e n s ruins on the Acropolis, which would have been five centuries old at the time.

In a wooden building, these blocks would be the projecting ends of roof beams perpendicular to and resting on the beam that the columns support. The spaces between the triglyphs were like blank canvases to be decorated by shallow carvings that were painted. Unlike other temples, the Hekatompedon offers no continuous story on the panels of its frieze; rather, its panels were decorated with geometrical designs, leaf patterns, and reliefs of lions and leopards. The uppermost section of the entablature, or “cornice,” jutted out beyond the plane of the lower two sections.

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