- Publisher: Clarendon Press
- Format: Hardback | 324 pages
- Dimensions: 163mm x 242mm x 24mm | 732g
- Publication date: 8 February 1996
- Publication City/Country: Oxford
- ISBN 10: 0198149409
- ISBN 13: 9780198149408
- Edition statement: New.
- Illustrations note: line figures
The Parthenon and the Erechtheion, two of the best-known monuments of ancient Athens, were once filled with countless priceless treasures - from furniture and musical instruments to jewellery, gold, silver, and bronze. This unique volume presents for the first time the only evidence we have for this massive collection of ancient objets d'art - annually inscribed inventories on tablets written by Athenian officials in the classical period. The author provides the first ever translation of these inscriptions, and comes to some important and exciting conclusions about the life and religion of ancient Athens.
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In this work of immense scholarship and careful organisation, Harris is open about fundamental and fascinating problems. This extremely mature presentation is combined with a lucid, forthright style so that Harris' book will stand as both a standard work of reference and a very readable introduction to a variety of aspects of daily life in ancient Athens. She is much to be congratulated. The Anglo-Hellenic Review Harris's book is comprehensive and clearly set out. It is an academic study with evidence of sustained scholarship and detailed research. Written in a lucid style ... this is a most comprehensive survey of the evidence, and an invaluable aid to any serious scholar of the subject. The Classical Review
Back cover copy
Furniture, armour, jewellery, musical instruments, bronze, silver, and gold vases, and other priceless offerings all accumulated in the Parthenon and Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis during the classical period. Annual inventories of these precious objects were inscribed by the Athenians on marble tablets from 434 to 300 BC. The two hundred fragments of these stelai which have survived are the only evidence for these cult objects, gifts to Athena, and treasures of the city, since the items themselves have long since vanished - either stolen, melted down, or disintegrated. This volume presents the evidence for these ancient treasures for the first time, and provides data with important implications for the history of Athens and Greek religion. Chapters include a history of the treasures on the Acropolis, catalogues of each object kept in the Opisthodomus, Proneos, Parthenon, Hekatompedos Neos, and Erechtheion, and an analysis of the individual worshippers and allied-city states who gave gifts and offerings to their goddess, Athena. The most significant and startling conclusion from the author's findings is that the gifts were used again and again, and that the temples operated as repositories from which the treasures might be deposited, withdrawn, or even borrowed.