Of Empires Past

Yesterday I wandered through the ruins of the Greek empire at the Acropolis. The most famous site at the Acropolis is the Parthenon.

aerial view of acropolis:

The Parthenon was a temple dedicated to Athena, built in the 5th century BC on the acropolis of Athens (an acropolis derives from acron, edge, and polis, city, literally the edge of a town or a high city.)

the Parthenon:

It is considered the most famous surviving building of ancient Greece, and has been praised as the finest achievement of Greek architecture. Its decorative sculptures are considered one of the high points of Greek art.

The Parthenon is an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy. It is regarded as one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.


This is the oldest known amphitheatre in the world and is situated on the south slope of the Acropolis.

the Thission:

Here I’m standing on Mars Hill. If you look closely you can see the Thission.

thission from mars hill:

A closer view of the Thission, the best preserved temple of ancient Greece. Built in 449 B.C., it housed the statues of Hephaistos and Athena sculpted by Alkamenes.

As I wandered around this ancient site, I was reminded of the feelings that came to me on my visit a few years back to Macchu Pichu in Peru, the vast citadel of the Incas, built high on a mountain, just like the Acropolis.

The Acropolis of Athens, as in many of the world’s empires, was built by the Greeks for purposes of defense. But using a hill with precipitous sides will not protect one from the onslaught of time. Death captures us all – individually, and collectively.

Acropolis at Athens:

Despite accumulating vast wealth and all kinds of material opulences, countless empires have risen and fallen, melting away like bubbles in the ocean. All that remains are the ‘enduring symbols’ – in fact, just ruins.

The endless rise-and-fall cycles of civilizations continue, through vast spans of ages, reminding me that I am very, very tiny and insignificant, and that my real shelter and my real home must lie far beyond this temporary place of repeated birth and death.
Posted by Kurma on 12/1/07; 12:25:59 AM

Life and Travel

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