Built in the fifth century BC., the Parthenon has been venerated for more than two millennia as the West’s ultimate paragon of beauty and proportion. Since the Enlightenment, it has also come to represent our political ideals, the lavish temple to the goddess Athena serving as the model for our most hallowed civic architecture. But how much do the values of those who built the Parthenon truly correspond with our own? And apart from the significance with which we have invested it, what exactly did this marvel of human hands mean to those who made it?
In this revolutionary book, Joan Breton Connelly challenges our most basic assumptions about the Parthenon and the ancient Athenians. Beginning with the natural environment and its rich mythic associations, she re-creates the development of the Acropolis - the Sacred Rock at the heart of the city-state - from its prehistoric origins to its Periklean glory days as a constellation of temples among which the Parthenon stood supreme. In particular, she probes the Parthenon’s legendary frieze: the 525-foot-long relief sculpture that originally encircled the upper reaches before it was partially destroyed by Venetian cannon fire (in the 17th century) and most of what remained was shipped off to Britain (in the 19th century) among the Elgin marbles. The frieze’s vast enigmatic procession - a dazzling pageant of cavalrymen and elders, musicians and maidens - has for more than two hundred years been thought to represent a scene of annual civic celebration in the birthplace of democracy. But thanks to a once-lost play by Euripides (the discovery of which, in the wrappings of a Hellenistic Egyptian mummy, is only one of this book’s intriguing adventures), Connelly has uncovered a long-buried meaning, a story of human sacrifice set during the city’s mythic founding.
©2014 Joan Breton Connelly (P)2014 Audible Inc.
lower on the list but i do not regret buying this at all.
I'm not an avid reviewer so this may be ill worded but i genuinely enjoyed the topic and execution. Maybe my level of satisfaction is due to my expectations going into it.
It covered the Parthenon, and the citizens of Athens well but lacked depth when touching on things like the economic forces and Athens' relationship with other Mediterranean powers. I did very much enjoy the author's opinion on the theologies of the region and how they shaped culture.
The reading is complemented superbly by the illustrations in the book.
The narration elucidates and articulates the nuances and back stories associated with the text.
| loved being able to learn in an auditory manner thus saving the wear and tear of my eyes and giving me the opportunity to multi task routine outdoor tasks, walks and gardening while listening and learning from this wonderful narration and artist stylings of the writer and narrator.
Everything you want to know about the Parthenon and more, you will learn from this book. A most enjoyable reading.
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