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Maft Fi Fum

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2016 02:01 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.2 
  • Words: 975
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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Among the first to visit Greece’s new Acropolis Museum, devoted to the
Parthenon and other temples, the author reviews the origins of a gloriously
“right” structure (part of a fifth-century-b.c. stimulus plan) and the continuing
outrage that half its façade is still in London.
The great classicist A. W. Lawrence (illegitimate younger brother of the
even more famously illegitimate T.E. “of Arabia”) once remarked of the
Parthenon that it is “the one building in the world which may be assessed as
absolutely right.” I was considering this thought the other day as I stood on top
of the temple with Maria Ioannidou, the dedicated director of the Acropolis
Restoration Service, and watched the workshop that lay below and around me.
Everywhere there were craftsmen and -women, toiling to get the Parthenon and
its sister temples ready for viewing by the public this summer. There was the
occasional whine of a drill and groan of a crane, but otherwise this was the
quietest construction site I have ever seen—or, rather, heard. Putting the
rightest, or most right, building to rights means that the workers must use
marble from a quarry in the same mountain as the original one, that they must
employ old-fashioned chisels to carve, along with traditional brushes and twigs,
and that they must study and replicate the ancient Lego-like marble joints with
which the master builders of antiquity made it all fit miraculously together.
The damage done by the ages to the building, and by past empires and
occupations, cannot all be put right. But there is one desecration and

dilapidation that can at least be partially undone. Early in the 19th century,
Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, sent a wrecking crew
to the Turkish-occupied territory of Greece, where it sawed off approximately
half of the adornment of the Parthenon and carried it away. As with all things
Greek, there were three elements to this, the most lavish and beautiful
sculptural...

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