I’m thinking…

…about the Parthenon, of course!

From my favorite information site, Wikipedia:

The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. The temple is archaeoastronomically aligned to the Hyades. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury. For a time, it also served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the 5th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Gee, I didn’t remember that. I guess memory fades after half a century if you don’t use the information on a regular basis.

The Parthenon was converted into a Christian church in the final decade of the sixth century AD to become the Church of the Parthenos Maria (Virgin Mary), or the Church of the Theotokos (Mother of God). The orientation of the building was changed to face towards the east; the main entrance was placed at the building’s western end and the Christian altar and iconostasis were situated towards the building’s eastern side adjacent to an apse built where the temple’s pronaos was formerly located. A large central portal with surrounding side-doors was made in the wall dividing the cella, which became the church’s nave, from the rear chamber, the church’s narthex. The spaces between the columns of the opisthodomus and the peristyle were walled up though a number of doorways still permitted access. Icons were painted on the walls and many Christian inscriptions were carved into the Parthenon’s columns. These renovations inevitably led to the removal and dispersal of some of the sculptures. Those depicting gods were either possibly re-interpreted according to a Christian theme, or removed and destroyed.

Ah, recycling!

The Parthenon became the fourth most important Christian pilgrimage destination in the Eastern Roman Empire after Constantinople, Ephesos and Thessalonica. In 1018, the emperor Basil II went on a pilgrimage to Athens directly after his final victory over the Bulgarians for the sole purpose of worshipping at the Parthenon. In medieval Greek accounts it is called the Temple of Theotokos Atheniotissa and often indirectly referred to, as famous without explaining exactly which temple they were referring to, thus establishing that it was indeed well known.

Just like a human: rape, pillage and kill, then worship your god…

At the time of the Latin occupation, it became for about 250 years a Roman Catholic church of Our Lady. During this period a tower, used either as a watchtower or bell tower, containing a spiral staircase was constructed at the southwest corner of the cellar and vaulted tombs were built beneath the Parthenon’s floor.

In 1975, the Greek government began a concerted effort to restore the Parthenon and other Acropolis structures. After some delay a Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments was established in 1983. The project later attracted funding and technical assistance from the European Union. An archaeological committee thoroughly documented every artifact remaining on the site, and architects assisted with computer models to determine their original locations. Particularly important and fragile sculptures were transferred to the Acropolis Museum. A crane was installed for moving marble blocks; the crane was designed to fold away beneath the roofline when not in use. In some cases, prior re-construction was found to be incorrect. These were dismantled, and a careful process of restoration began. Originally, various blocks were held together by elongated iron H pins that were completely coated in lead, which protected the iron from corrosion. Stabilizing pins added in the 19th century were not so coated, and corroded. Since the corrosion product (rust) is expansive, the expansion caused further damage by cracking the marble. All new metalwork uses titanium, a strong, light, and corrosion resistant material.

The Parthenon will not be restored to a pre-1687 state, but the explosion damage will be mitigated as much as possible, both in the interest of restoring the structural integrity of the edifice (important in this earthquake-prone region) and to restore the aesthetic integrity by filling in chipped sections of column drums and lintels, using precisely sculpted marble cemented in place. New Pentelic marble is being used from the original quarry. Ultimately, almost all major pieces of marble will be placed in the structure where they originally would have been, supported as needed by modern materials. While the repairs initially show as white against the weathered tan of original surfaces, they will become less prominent as they age.

Okay! Restoration work! People are starving in third world countries and even parts of America and humans come up with money and a plan to restore a beautiful historical site. At least it creates jobs.

Hmmm. I need to “Be the dropping of the shoulders and smile.”

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