The Parthenon in Athens was built about 447-438 BC to house an enormous statue of the goddess Athena. The temple was the crowning glory of a great programme of architectural renewal masterminded by Pericles, the leader of the Athenian democracy and it is still considered to be one of the most impressive buildings in the world.
Despite being burnt down by invading Goths in 267 A.D., conversion into a Christian church in the early sixth century and Ottoman occupation from the fifteenth century and another conversion, this time into a Mosque, it survived largely intact until 1687. By 1800 however only about half of the original sculptural decoration remained.
And then along came Lord Elgin who helped himself to some of what was left.
He might be the villain in the eyes of Greece but what the Acropolis museum fails to mention is that at the time he removed the sculptures Athenians themselves were using…
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