February 8, 2004
Mary Beard’s new book on the Parthenon covers many aspects of its history, looking at issues from a range of perspectives in order to try & present a balanced account of how things have ended up the way they are today. It definitely makes it onto any list of required reading for anyone interested in either the Acropolis site or the Elgin Marbles. In this article, she looks at the way people’s perceptions of the monument are influenced by many external factors & pre-conceptions.
Gladstone on the Acropolis
How does one approach a place that is more myth than monument?
Saturday February 7, 2004
In September 1886 a recent visitor to Athens penned an outraged letter to The Times, complaining about what archaeologists were doing on the Acropolis. The problem was not the zeal with which they were stripping through thousands of years of buildings, defences, litter and topsoil to reveal the barren bedrock on which the modern visitor to the site must now perilously slip and slide. The complaint was that they were tipping the spoil down the side of the hill.
This was more than an unsightly mess. It risked, the correspondent explained, destroying the distinctive profile of one end of the Acropolis: “It may interest your readers to know that the NE angle of the rock… presents a capital profile likeness of Mr Gladstone, which may be obliterated by the casting of rubbish over the walls.”
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