The Ancient Writings of Pausanias Offer a True Description of the Acropolis

It is the ancient Writings of Pausanias that truly describe the original beauty of the Acropolis! There is an area between the Parthenon and the Propylea where there were many monuments in ancient Greek times. These attracted the attention of the great explorer Pausanias who described them explicitly in his writings, especially those that were votive offerings to the Athenian gods and heroes. He spoke eloquently of small shrines that emphasized the significance of the main temple, and these writings are all we have left of the true description of what the Acropolis truly looked like before so much destruction took place.

All We Have Left are the Ancient Writings of Pausanias Describing the True Beauty of Acropolis

This ancient traveller talked of a building dedicated to Artemis Brauron, of which the foundations and stairs can still be seen to the right when one comes out of the Propylaea. It was only women that worshiped this godes, and all of the priestesses were preadolescence girls. As the story goes Artemis, a virgin, wanted to be served by pure virginal girls who would wear tunics similar to a bears fur, an animal that was very sacred to Artemis. So the priestesses were called arktoi, or little bears. One of the most impressive monuments that Pausanias wrote about was a replica made in bronze of the Trojan Horse.

Near the sanctuary of Artemis was a long building (which no longer exists) called the Chalcotheke where bronze votive offerings that were brought to the Parthenon were kept. During this era, it was traditional for warriors to bring helmets, shields, and weapons and dedicate them to the gods. Citizens would offer statuettes and utensils made of bronze as well. In this building seven steps were when out of the rock to the west of the Parthenon, and used by the people to place gifts to the goddess Athena there.

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