A robot could recreate the Elgin Marbles in Greece

The Parthenon, designed around 2,500 years ago by the sculptor Phidias, was the epitome of Hellenic architecture: perfect lines, tall Dor...


The Parthenon, designed around 2,500 years ago by the sculptor Phidias, was the epitome of Hellenic architecture: perfect lines, tall Doric columns along the sides and friezes in high and low relief that convey a Panathenaic procession , an ancient Greek festival to celebrate the city. patron goddess, Athena, as well as four Ionic columns supporting the roof of the opisthodomos, the back room of the temple.

For 1000 years the temple remained more or less intact. When Christianity gained a foothold in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the Parthenon became the Church of the Parthenos Maria (Virgin Mary), then a mosque, and finally a Turkish gunpowder depot.

In 1687, during a siege by the Venetians, the munitions exploded, killing hundreds of people, tearing off the roof of the building and smashing 28 columns, parts of the frieze and the interior rooms. For the next century or so, the rubble provided sills and hearthstones for the local population and mortar for building, while the Turkish garrison used the carved figures for target practice. By the time Lord Elgin took up his diplomatic post in Constantinople, around 40% of the temple’s original sculptural decoration had been destroyed.

A vaguely worded license from the Ottomans allowed Lord Elgin’s men to remove “some pieces of stone with ancient inscriptions and figures”. Although there was no explicit permission to cut sculptures from the Parthenon, Elgin apparently took a broad view, taking about half of the surviving sculptures from the Athenian citadel. Its treasure included 17 life-size figures from the temple’s pediments, 15 of the 92 metopes that adorned the exterior of the building, and about half—a 247-foot section—of the carved frieze that once ran inside.

The Earl planned to have these ancient treasures adorned in Broomhall, his country home in Scotland. But one expedition, aboard HMS Mentor, was delayed when the ship sank off the Greek island of Kythera in 1802. Many crates were lost overboard and it took more than two years to recover. recover from the sea.

During his aristocratic adventure, Elgin was arrested in France as a prisoner of war and imprisoned for three years, and he lost his fortune, his wife, and the end of his nose (either from syphilis, allegedly, or treatment for mercury that he took for asthma). In 1816 poor Elgin sold the marbles to the British Parliament for £35,000 – the equivalent of at least £3.6 million, or $4.35 million today – about half the amount that he had spent securing and transporting them. The artifacts were then entrusted to the custody of the British Museum.

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Newsrust - US Top News: A robot could recreate the Elgin Marbles in Greece
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