By James H. S. McGregor
Revered because the birthplace of Western concept and democracy, Athens is way greater than an open-air museum full of crumbling monuments to historic glory. Athens takes readers on a trip from the classical city-state to present day modern capital, revealing a world-famous city that has been resurrected and redefined time and again.
Although the Acropolis continues to be the city's anchor, Athens' shiny tradition extends some distance past the Greek city's old limitations. James H. S. McGregor issues out how the cityscape preserves indicators of the various actors who've crossed its historic level. Alexander the good integrated Athens into his empire, as did the Romans. Byzantine Christians repurposed Greek temples, the Parthenon incorporated, into church buildings. From the 13th to 15th centuries, the city's language replaced from French to Spanish to Italian, as Crusaders and adventurers from various elements of Western Europe took turns sacking and administering the town. An Islamic Athens took root following the Ottoman conquest of 1456 and remained in position for almost 400 years, until eventually Greek patriots eventually received independence in a blood-drenched revolution.
Since then, Athenians have continued many hardships, from Nazi profession and army coups to famine and fiscal obstacle. but, as McGregor exhibits, the heritage of Athens is towards a heroic epic than a Greek tragedy. Richly supplemented with maps and illustrations, Athens paints a portrait of 1 of the world's nice towns, designed for tourists in addition to armchair scholars of city history.
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It would also have included rooms for craftsmen who worked with bronze to forge weapons as well as precious metals to make the ornaments that wealthy Mycenaeans admired. There would have been some kind of shrine, or a series of shrines, dedicated to the deities that looked over the household and the city. Mycenaean kings may have been powerful warriors, but their role as leaders typically combined both political and priestly functions. At the center of any Mycenaean palace was an area called the megaron.
By modern standards the democratic character of the city was equivocal. Slaves, who did much of the work of the society, were not allowed to vote, though they could be given their freedom and might under special circumstances gain citizenship. Women had no political rights, though they did participate in ritual life and could hold important priesthoods. Children were under the control of their fathers until they reached age eighteen. Resident foreigners, of whom there were many, could not vote and could not participate in most of the city’s religious festivals.
The uppermost section of the entablature, or “cornice,” jutted out beyond the plane of the lower two sections. Wooden buildings often have cornices of this kind to protect the beams and beam ends from rainwater, which causes rot. Stone, especially carved and painted stone, benefits from similar protection. Rainwater washes away paint and erodes limestone, the material from which the Hekatompedon was built. The underside of this cornice bears a curious form of embellishment that looks like pure decoration but actually serves a function.
Athens by James H. S. McGregor