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May 26: Athens August 3, 2010

Posted by msmith78 in Uncategorized.
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Panathinaiko Stadium

The distance around the structure is 192 m. Sports were a major part of the community life; they provided entertainment and were a device to instill civic pride.

Site of “agons” contests which were a simulation of war. Initially when deciding where to build one they would find a hill.  The Romans placed stadiums anywhere usually outside the city proper.  At the height of its prominence the Roman empire was at its best (2nd AD) 160. Athens was at its peak as an academic center .People flocked to live there and wanted to stay there.  Herod Atticus lived there most of his life and was financially successful.  He built the stadium; he eventually married a Roman emperor’s daughter and he lived his life as if he was an emperor.  It was reconstructed in 1896 for the 1st modern Olympic Games.  It was the biggest stadium of antiquity in Pentelic marble.

Olympion

This was the largest temple in Greece proper.  It was a temple dedicated to Zeus.  It was an ancient project that had its most recent renewal in the 6th century by Peisistratos who was a major tyrant.  He supervised the building of the Parthenon foundation and the Olympion Parathenia for various festivities; also responsible for the first aqueduct.  It was the most significant temple in Athens.

Hadrian’s Arch

Had characteristics of “terminos” or sacred space; established to signify boundaries.  The gate is classic old city of Athens and new city of Hadrian. It was built by the city to thank Hadrian (135 or 136) for his works.  It is symbolic of a Greco-Roman world.

The lower level contains an arch and the upper level a Greek temple.  The column technique is very close to the wall articulating shadows to signify boundaries.  Inscriptions relate to the merging of the old and new.

Loutra

Hadrian’s bath.  This was a site to cleanse oneself before entrance into the city.

This was evidence of the philosophy of urbanism.

Street of Tripods

This was a symbol of Dionysus.  Awards for theatrical performances were placed here.  These were Choragic Monuments in ancient cities not in city walls.  These were monuments for the living.  This was a method of indirect succession whereby a play with a good writer and staging to immortalize the event.  If the citizenry voted for you, you might get a tripod as a reward.  In the 4th century Lysicrates was awarded it and it was incorporated in a medieval monastery.  Lord Byron viewed it when he stayed there.  It is a well-preserved miniature circular temple with a tripod on the top. The tripod is depicted in a frieze and a second frieze depicts the life of Dionysius.  The pirate boat that robs Dionysius has a mast that is a grape tree; scared sailors can be seen turning into dolphins.  These tripod monuments take many different forms.

Theater of Dionysus

The cult of Dionysus spread from the east, the ancient north-east.  It involved a wine ceremony with spoken dialects from the east.  It involved a lector and a surrounding crowd.  It incorporated an “orchestra” which was first in Athenian agora.  Next came the introduction of the 2nd actor.  Sophocles incorporated 3 actors.  Audiences began increasing and were encouraged to sit on the hillside.  Seating was incorporated after the 4th century.  Only three works remain; these are marble structures of the Roman age.  Walls were eventually constructed for animals and water supply.  Famous individuals were permitted to sit in the first row.  Pesistratus, a tyrant, brought a shift to formalized theater.  These took a unique semi curricular form; they faced south for good lightening throughout the day.  The plays celebrating Dionysus became educational tools.

Theater of Herod

140 AD dedicated by Herod (Roman) who killed his wife while she was pregnant.

Stoa of Eumenes

King of Pergamum. He was the father of Attalos.  Provided space between structures.  Used bathrooms, shade and rain as architectural features.

Terminos Asklepios

Asklepios was the god of medicine; this was conceptually like a hospital.  This god was capable of resurrecting people so a cult developed focusing on this god.

Odeon of Herod

It was completed in 160 AD. It was roofed above the stage with a special type of cedar that was known for projecting sound and thereby having good acoustical qualities.  Musical performances are still staged there.

Pnyx

This was the assembly of the citizens.  Once a month they came to vote as the Ekklesia or body of the citizens.  This is the root of the Ecclesiastical arch.  Since members came a long way to vote they had to be efficient.  Voting was a right and obligation of each citizen.  They yelled or raised their hands to signify agreement. To facilitate the situation they were given pay for the day it took to make the journey and vote.  As many a 15,000 people might be present.  The “bema rostrium” was where the orators spoke. It eventually came to look like a theatre; all things were debated so that voting would be with a degree of understanding related to the issues.  Only one time discussion was not completed to satisfaction during the Sicilian and Spartan Wars.  The generals thought it was smart to run after the retreating enemy rather than regrouping.  The courts were asked to decide and they could not, so the people had to vote.  It was decided that they should have captured the enemy soldiers and executed them.

Museum of the Acropolis

The designed by Ronald These, a Franco American architect, building for Greece.   The primary task of construction was to claim the Elgin Marbles.  The main entrance features tiles that represent ancient house warming gifts from ancient Greece. The first exhibition is on an upward sloping floor; it houses findings from the south slope of the Acropolis. There are various vases including marriage vases, which were an offering to the gods for good outcomes.  The Loutrophoroi have two handles to represent men and 3 handles to represent women. There is also a treasure box where silver pieces were given to Aphrodite to ensure a happy marriage. The second floor contains arch members of archaic buildings buried under the Parthenon.  The models depicting the changes made to the acropolis throughout history were excellent visual aids to my research for my project. This is also the location of a forest of statues that were Acropolis votives.  The upper floor contains pieces from the Parthenon’s cella and frieze.

Reflection

I really enjoyed the museum of the acropolis. The models of the different periods of history and the additions to the acropolis were fascinating; I was able to see in three-dimensions the descriptions of the eras I have been studying for my independent research. However the labeling of the flow of the models was not coherent. You can choose either direction to walk around the square outline of that floor, but depending on which side you approach the chronology of the models you could be at eh beginning or the end. I have to clarify the models to a couple of people. They were also not placed in the correct order linearly so I do not understand the full layout for this portion of the museum. The room of votives statues was very powerful because it gave you a small impression of what walking through the acropolis just before the arrival of the Romans during the popular votive area. I wish there would have been more room to stand back from the caryatids and look onto them. There was a vantage point across the stairwell that was powerful, but there was no good way to view the statues at about 15 feet way to see them with a more removed perspective. The blankness of the uppermost level which is prepared for the Elgin Marbles creates a very stark and hallow feeling; hopefully one day that conflict can be resolved. I feel that the pieces belong to the area from which they came, but history of the era of exploration and discovery as countires were expanding that Lord Elgin was a poster child for also needs to be dually noted if one wants to be true to the spirit of restoration.

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