Art: Acropolis: Threat of Destruction

"It is dressed in the majesty of centuries," wrote Plutarch, having gazed on the Acropolis above Athens. "It contains a living and incorruptible breath, a spirit impervious to age." Ever since the superb temple of the Parthenon was built atop the Acropolis in the 5th century B.C., it has survived the mutations of history. Conquering Romans turned the Parthenon into a brothel; Christians made it an Orthodox church; the Turks converted it to a mosque, and then used it as a powder magazine—which exploded when hit by Venetian artillery in 1687. But nothing in the Parthenon's history has equaled the...

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