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Notes on the Geography of Greece: The Acropolis: Photo 11

world pictures Greece: The Acropolis

On top, with the Parthenon on the right and the Erechtheion on the left. The space between was once crowded with monuments, including a giant statue of Athena. There were other images of her inside the temples, including a huge and hugely famous one inside the Parthenon and a crude but sacred one--hardly more than a dressed plank of olive wood--inside the Erechtheion. The rocky surface is the result of assiduous digging by mostly German archaeologists in the 19th century. They were working in a trans-European, philhellenic tradition marked, to take one important early case, by the publication in 1789 of Antiquities of Athens by James Stuart and Nicholas Revett. The book launched Greek Revival architecture in England. The classical education that came along with it is long gone. Proof? Mary Beard (in The Parthenon, 2002)recounts a conversation between a newspaper reporter and Shaquille O'Neal. Q: "Did you visit the Parthenon during your trip to Greece?" A: "I can't really remember the names of the clubs we went to."

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