Written by Joshua Riffe ’21
This blog post is written in response to Joshua’s spring 2018 3-week trip to Greece with Professors Matthew Notarian and Lisa Safford.
The most amazing location that I had visited while in Greece had to be the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. This massive series of temples and buildings lay on the top of a mountain that is several hundred feet in the air. The idea of being that high up while it was windy and much of the area missing railing and other safety measures terrified me. That was up until I went up there and saw the beginning of the Acropolis and the beautiful Parthenon, a massive temple to the goddess of knowledge, Athena, whom the city owes its name to. Much of the floor of the Acropolis was in marble and leading up to the area with the temples was a series of large marble steps that were incredibly well made and needed to be appreciated for looking as amazing as they did from the years of weathering that they went through. The Parthenon itself was in quite a bit of disrepair, which considering that it has been used as a place of worship, a treasury, and even an ammunition storage area gave a good amount of reasons for its appearance. The latter of the Parthenon’s uses happened to have caused the most damage. The munitions stored there caused a large explosion that destroyed the roof of the temple and much of the remaining innards of it. Even though it was so heavily damaged, it was still beautiful. The temple had a massive amount of detail in the structure. The temple itself consisted of Doric style columns and incredibly detailed amounts of friezes and pediments. The structure in its entirety had to be even more breathtaking than it already was in its damaged state. Much of the artwork that remained of the Parthenon was housed in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The pediments were gigantic and possessed so much detail in the people and creatures that they showed that to describe them would not give enough detail or properly show how beautiful each sculpture was. The most amazing and beautiful work of art that the temple possessed had to be the acroterion. It was a large flower-like sculpture that was in the middle of the Parthenon. It took my breath away when I first saw it and is one of several images that I think I will forever have in my head from Greece. The amount of detail that these sculptures put into their work shows that the ancient Greeks were among the most talented and thoughtful of the people of their time and quite possibly of any time since. The entire structure was a masterpiece of limestone and marble that was made to worship their god and to show their devotion and amazing skill in what they did.
This structure was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen in my life, and it will forever be with me in everything that I do. I will remember to put everything I am into what I do so that one day someone else could call it a masterpiece and take as much pride in what we are capable of when we are truly dedicated and inspired.