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Notes on the Geography of Greece: The Acropolis: Photo 25

world pictures Greece: The Acropolis

Modern props. The stones on the wall at the lower right are the foundation of the Temple of Athena Polias, destroyed by the Persians in 480. The juxtaposition is no accident: the builders of the Erechtheion wanted to remember the past. The maidens may be part of this history lesson. Vitruvius explains them this way: "Caryae, a state in Peloponnesus, sided with the Persian enemies against Greece; later the Greeks, having gloriously won their freedom by victory in the war, made common cause and declared war against the people of Caryae. They took the town, killed the men, abandoned the State to desolation, and carried off their wives into slavery, without permitting them, however, to lay aside the long robes and other marks of their rank as married women, so that they might be obliged not only to march in the triumph but to appear forever after as a type of slavery, burdened with the weight of their shame and so making atonement for their State. Hence, the architects of the time designed for public buildings statues of these women, placed so as to carry a load, in order that the sin and the punishment of the people of Caryae might be known and handed down even to posterity." (Book I.5, trans. by Morris Hickey Morgan, 1914)

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