Parthenon Athens Greece about 1892

THE PARTHENON, ATHENS — The glory of Athens was the hill called the Acropolis, which rose four hundred feet above the town, covered with wonderful temples and statues; and the especial glory of the Acropolis was the Parthenon. To this a marble stairway ascended from the city sixty-two feet in breadth, entirely composed of marble and adorned with statues, the mutilated remains of which we revere to-day in the art galleries of Europe. The Parthenon itself is a matchless edifice even in its ruin. No photographic view can do it justice, for its marble columns are somewhat weather-stained and look in the illustration as if they were dingy and dark like the soot-covered buildings of London. But this is not so. The discolorations are so light as to be hardly blemishes; while the general appearance of the building is one of snowy whiteness. This temple stood here comparatively unchanged in its unrivalled beauty, until two centuries ago. But in 1670, during a bombardment of the city, a shell exploded in this shrine, where had been rashly stored a quantity of powder, and instantly with one wild roar, as though nature itself were shrieking at the sacrilege, the Parthenon was ruined! Columns on either side were blown to atoms, severing the front of the temple from the rear, and covering the whole plateau with marble fragments — mute witnesses of countless forms of beauty, forever lost to us. Happily, however, enough of this Parthenon remains to show the literal perfection of its masonry, with curves so delicate as to be hardly perceptible to the eye, yet true to the 1-100th part of an inch, and showing alike the splendid genius of the architect and the wonderful skill of the workmen. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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