The Parthenon
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The Parthenon

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series (Part I and Part II)

Oscar Wilde compared it to a white goddess, Evelyn Waugh to Stilton cheese. In observers from Lord Byron to Sigmund Freud to Virginia Woolf it met with astonishment, rapture, poetry, even tears--and, always, recognition. Twenty-five hundred years after it first rose above...more
Hardcover, 209 pages
Published March 31st 2003 by Harvard University Press (first published 2002)
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Sue
While the book is about a famous work of art, Mary Beard’s story of the Parthenon takes us through almost 2500 years of history. At the height of Greek power, the Athenians venerated – who else? – Athena by building the Parthenon. The Romans adopted the building as the suitable venue to exalt its own leaders. The Christians turned it into a church. During the Ottoman empire, the building, now a mosque, was mostly treated with benign neglect – until the Ottomans stored gunpowder there. Thus, when...more
Kate
I can't say enough wonderful things about Mary Beard. Her writing is spot-on and is backed-up by the perfect amount of wit, research, warmth, reason, and intelligence.

This book is a nice read because, although it is scholarly in nature, Beard has a conversational tone that really gives her subject life. It's one of the few books I've read for research purposes that I would dare to call a "page-turner."

Another point is simply that the parthenon's history is so expansive and volatile, that it's a...more
Sammi
This book was not my favorite read of the semester--not by a long shot. Though the history of the Athenian Acropolis is interesting, it's not something I really care to read about extensively (though this may also be a side-effect of my procrastination, making it necessary to read most of the book in a span of 48 hours). However, the question that is posed by the work is certainly worth thinking about--to whom does the Parthenon frieze belong? Is it really so important to reunite it? And why are...more
Midori
Unusual information, interesting approach, Mary Beard tries to get away from her "britishness" in a folly attempt to be objective but she does not make it. Unfortunately, she falls into the same pit as Ian Jenkins does only she is more carefull and she does not break all her bones in that fall. Overall, it is a nice book, entertaining to read but the treatment of her subjects is done in a rather superfluous, unsystematic way. What shocked me most were her terrible characterizations of the 300 Sp...more
Anjella
Wasn't quite what I was expecting from Mary Beard in this book, but she does give a very thorough look at the Parthenon. I think I was expecting more about the social life and personal history around it.
David
An interesting and entertaining little book, it complemented my study of the Parthenon as part of my Open University A219 module - Exploring the Classical World. Went to see the Parthenon frieze at the British Museum on Tuesday last and it now begins to make much greater sense. Saving up to visit Athens next year.
Alina Trigger
Although this is non fiction it reads very well. The book is well written, with a light wry sense of humour and it is very well researched - as one would expect from a classicist such as Mary Beard. (Have read some of her more erudite 'bits' as part of a classics course.)
Ed
One of my favorite structures in all the world, the Parthenon here gets a succinct but thorough treatment. Its history, its miraculous survival after numerous accidents and destructions, its proportions and architectural splendor, and its future fate. Enjoy!
Roisin
A very good, varied and fascinating short history of The Parthenon, admired by artists, writers, and travellers alike. Mary Beard unfolds this building's history, and significance. You will definitely want to read more about this building and more by her.
Kate
A good general audience book on the history of the Parthenon, written by an engaging and highly respected scholar. I'd recommend this over Dorothy King's "The Elgin Marbles."
Converse
The unlikely rise of the edifice to a cultural symbol, a rise which has generally ignored its long periods as a Eastern orthodox church and then as a mosque
Brenda
Jul 06, 2012 Brenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: a219
Really liked this romp through the history and reception of the Acropolis and the Pathenon
Simone
A delightful little book in Mary Beard's characteristic learned and entertaining style.
Tim
A short, sharp introduction to the Parthenon and why people care about it.
Hayley
I love anything by Mary Beard. She's so engaging.
Chris Lane
The usual brilliant standard that Mary offers.
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See also: Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958).

Winifred Mary Beard (born 1 January 1955) is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and is a fellow of Newnham College. She is the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and author of the blog "A Don's Life", which appears on The Times as a regular column. Her frequent media appearances and sometimes controversial public statements h...more
More about Mary Beard...
The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found Classics: A Very Short Introduction Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations The Roman Triumph It's a Don's Life

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