By Joan Breton Connelly
Inbuilt the 5th century b.c., the Parthenon has been honored for greater than millennia because the West's final paragon of good looks and share. because the Enlightenment, it has additionally come to symbolize our political beliefs, the lavish temple to the goddess Athena serving because the version for our so much hallowed civic structure. yet how a lot do the values of these who equipped the Parthenon actually correspond with our personal? And except the importance with which we have now invested it, what precisely did this wonder of human palms suggest to those that made it?
In this progressive ebook, Joan Breton Connelly demanding situations our most elementary assumptions concerning the Parthenon and the traditional Athenians. starting with the common atmosphere and its wealthy mythic institutions, she re-creates the improvement of the Acropolis—the Sacred Rock on the middle of the city-state—from its prehistoric origins to its Periklean glory days as a constellation of temples between which the Parthenon stood ideal. particularly, she probes the Parthenon's mythical frieze: the 525-foot-long reduction sculpture that initially encircled the higher reaches earlier than it used to be in part destroyed by way of Venetian cannon hearth (in the 17th century) and so much of what remained was once shipped off to Britain (in the 19th century) one of the Elgin marbles. The frieze's immense enigmatic procession--a excellent festival of cavalrymen and elders, musicians and maidens--has for greater than 2 hundred years been concept to symbolize a scene of annual civic get together within the birthplace of democracy. yet due to a once-lost play by means of Euripides (the discovery of which, within the wrappings of a Hellenistic Egyptian mummy, is just one of this book's interesting adventures), Connelly has exposed a long-buried that means, a narrative of human sacrifice set through the city's mythic founding. In a society startlingly preoccupied with cult ritual, this tale was once on the center of what it intended to be Athenian. Connelly finds an international that beggars our well known notions of Athens as a urban of staid philosophers, rationalists, and rhetoricians, a global during which our glossy secular perception of democracy may were easily incomprehensible.
The Parthenon's complete importance has been obscured formerly owing in no small half, Connelly argues, to the frieze's dismemberment. And so her research concludes with a choice to reunite the items, so that what's maybe the best unmarried murals surviving from antiquity will be seen extra approximately as its makers meant. Marshalling a wide ranging diversity of textual and visible facts, choked with clean insights woven right into a exciting narrative that brings the far-off earlier to existence, The Parthenon Enigma is certain to turn into a landmark in our realizing of the civilization from which we declare cultural descent.
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