Saturday, January 17, 2009

Acropolis Dogs and the Parthenon's Phases

On Thursday, we visited the interior of the Parthenon to hear about the reconstruction project which has been going on there (I'll be posting about reconstruction projects in the near future).

Photo: Melinda Dewey-Gallimore, 2009.

We climbed up the 13th century tower located at the southwest corner of the Parthenon, which is one of the only post-antique structures still preserved on the Acropolis, the rest having been dismantled to make way for the 'important' bits. The tower was constructed not long after 1204 when the Parthenon was converted into a Catholic church by the Franks. It was made of spolia and contained a spiral staircase, which was incidentally a lot of fun to climb up. The view was phenomenal. Eventually the tower was turned into a minaret when Athens came under Ottoman rule in the 1400s.

A drawing from the 1700s showing the minaret as it stood in the SW corner. The picture depicts the bombing of the Parthenon by Francesco Morosini in 1687.

Despite the tower being an astoundingly important piece of historical evidence preserved on the Acropolis, it is surprisingly little discussed. Sitting on the porch here in Lorring with other graduates, I was a bit appalled to see how little we collectively know about it. It reinforces how much we need projects like The Other Acropolis or Anthony Kaldellis' forthcoming book The Christian Parthenon: Classicism and Pilgrimage in Byzantine Athens. (If you can't wait for its release, check out his online lecture A Heretical (Orthodox) History of the Parthenon.)
While up on top of the tower, we were shown this:

Photo: Melinda Dewey-Gallimore, 2009.

It's a dog print preserved in a terracotta tile. None of us can figure out when it dates to, since it doesn't appear to be ancient Greek or Roman. Any ideas?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These stray dogs, they are everywhere! :p

Seriously, looking forward to hearing inside information about the reconstruction project.