Ritualistic Religious and Practical Uses of Public Term Paper

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Acropolis is renowned as a fortified natural stronghold or citadel in ancient Greece. Greeks built their towns in plains near or around a rocky hill that could easily be fortified and defended. Nearly every Greek city had its acropolis, which provided a safe place of refuge for townspeople during times of turmoil or war. Rulers of the town often lived within the walls of this stronghold. In many cases the acropolis became the site of temples and public buildings and thus served as the town's religious center, focal point of its public life, and as a place of refuge.

The Athenian Acropolis is the most well-known acropolis of the ancient world. Ruins of its temples and their sculptures are widely regarded as the finest examples of ancient Greek art and architecture. Built on a limestone hill that rises approximately 500 feet above sea level, the Acropolis dominates the city of Athens. Additionally, the acropolis contains the remains of the Parthenon, a magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Likewise, the Acropolis contains the Propylaea, a monumental marble gateway and the main entrance to the Acropolis. Finally, the Acropolis contains the Erechtheum, a temple famous for the perfection of its details, and the Temple of Athena Nike.

This paper analyzes and examines the ritualistic, religious, and practical uses of public space at the Athenian Acropolis and Trajan's Forum. Part II considers the movement of people through the space, especially in ritualistic contexts and how the Athenians related the religious functions of the Acropolis to its layout is examined. Part III outlines what political functions, if any, took place at the Acropolis. In Part IV, the various social, business, religious, and civic uses of the different spaces at Trajan's Forum and Markets, and how these uses related to the physical layout of space are reviewed.


The Acropolis was one of the many Mycenaean citadels that were built for the first time in the Neolithic age

Andronicos, 5). In the Mycenaean age, the Acropolis, called the "Old Temple," was dedicated to Poseidon, god of the spring, and to Athena, goddess of the olive-tree

Andronicos, 5). After the Peloponnesian War was over, Athens power started to slowly decline

Robertson, 12), which greatly endangered the Acropolis. The Acropolis managed to withstand time, until Christianity entered Greece. In the late 1st century AD, the Erechtheum was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary

Hopper, 98). In the mid 5th century AD, the Erechtheum and the Parthenon were converted into churches

Rodenwaldt, 16). In the 6th century, an apse was accidentally thrown on the east, and the center of the western pediments collapsed, which led to the loss or destruction of many sculptural figures

Robertson, 13).

In 1204 AD, after the Latin Crusades, parts of the Acropolis were converted into Roman churches

Rodenwaldt, 16). In the 15th century AD, the Turkish invaded Athens; in turn, they converted the Parthenon into a mosque, they even erected a minaret beside it

Robertson, 13; Rodenwaldt, 25). In the 17th century, two unfortunate incidents happened. First, in 1645, the Propylaia, which the Turks used as a powder magazine, was struck by lightning

Rodenwaldt, 25). In 1690, the Parthenon was not spared; the Venetians, at war with the Turks at the time, besieged the Acropolis, and bombed at the Parthenon, which was now the Turks' new powder magazine

Rodenwaldt, 25). Needless to say, unfortunately, the Parthenon was exploded destroying the roof and many of the pedimental structures, and the central metopes that survived thus far.

The thing the Greeks are best known for is their gods, and stories about them. The stories explained how things became. For instance, one story said that before the earth was made, there was a fight between a god, and a giant. The god killed the giant, and the parts of the giant became the earth. His teeth became the rocks, and his hair became the grass. His hands and feet became mountains, and his toes and fingers became trees.

Some of the gods were Zeus, who was the ruler of all the gods, Hera was his wife, and Hermes was his messenger. Artemis was the goddess of the moon, and Apollo was the god of the sun. Poseidon was the god of the sea, Loki, the god of mischief, and, Dionysus, the god of wine. The Greeks made sacrifices to the gods, so that the gods would honor them, and help them in times of trouble. Greeks sacrificed animals and other things that were special to them.

The ancient Greeks were deeply religious, and they worshipped many gods whom they believed appeared in human form and yet were endowed with superhuman strength and ageless beauty. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the earliest surviving examples of Greek literature, record men's interactions with various gods and goddesses whose characters and appearances underwent little change in the centuries that followed. Each Greek city was normally under the protection of one or more individual deities who were worshipped with special emphasis, as, for example, Athens and the goddess Athena. While many sanctuaries honored more than a single god, usually one deity such as Zeus at Olympia or a closely linked pair of deities like Demeter and her daughter Persephone at Eleusis dominated the cult place. Elsewhere in the arts, various painted scenes on vases, and stone, terracotta and bronze sculptures portray the major gods and goddesses. The deities are depicted either by themselves or in traditional mythological situations in which they interact with humans and a broad range of minor deities, demi-gods and legendary characters.


In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Athens was an oligarchy, and then was governed by a tyrant

Robertson, 3), a term adopted from the east, which does not necessarily imply a bad ruler. In the close of the 7th, and the beginning of the 6th century BC, Peisistratos was in control of Athens. He initiated the Panathenaic festival (a celebration of the birth of the goddess Athena), and also revived the Acropolis by replacing the Mycenaean western gate into a Propylaia, and by building an altar to Athena Nike

Andronicos, 6).

The Greeks, however, were involved in the Peloponnesian war with the Persians. In 480 BC, in the battle of Thermopylai, the Persians invaded Athens, burned the city, its altars, including the Acropolis

Andronicos, 6; Rodenwaldt, 15). The old Archaic Acropolis was destroyed, and left in ruins. Shortly afterwards, however, the Greeks started the naval battle of Salamis, where the Persians were defeated, announcing the Greeks the winner of the Peloponnesian wars

Andronicos, 6; Rodenwaldt, 15). At that point, however, there were neither the time nor the money to restore the Acropolis, and thus the Acropolis was left in ruins.

To ensure the safety of Greece from the Persians, shortly after the battle of Salamis, Athens formed a confederacy, whose purpose was to collect tributes from all Greek city-states to strengthen the military. All the Greek polises started contributing money to the Confederacy (league) of Delos

Robertson, 4). In 454 BC, the league moved from Delos to Athens, right about the time when Pericles became the leader of Athens

Robertson, 4).

The Greeks had many laws. All citizens (free men over 20) could vote, offices of government were filled by elections, and killing a Tyrant was excused. If somebody murdered someone, stole something, or disobeyed some other law, they could be punished by going to jail, being whipped, or death. War was often fought in Greece. Greek cities attacked other cities to gain more power.

IV. VARIOUS SOCIAL, Business, RELIGIOUS, AND CIVIC USES OF THE DIFFERENT SPACES AT TRAJAN'S FORUM AND MARKETS plethora of social, business, religious, and civic uses existed and occurred within the different spaces at Trajan's Forum and Markets. The open air urban spaces in ancient Roman cities, generally rectangular in shape, defined by the porticoes and civic buildings at its perimeter, and used for marketplace and public interaction, particularly civic discussion. The temple stood prominently at one end of the forum.

Trajan's Forum was once considered a wonder of the ancient world. Trajan's Forum had 150 shops and offices. It was basically a shopping mall- flowers, fish, vegetables, fruit, cloth, silk from all over the world were sold there. The upper level was most likely used for selling wines and oils because archaeologists found storage jugs there.

One of the functions of this massive open space was to provide a setting for public business and ceremony. F or example, the successor of Trajan, Hadrian, performed in it a great ceremony of burning debt records. Later, during a time of dire military need, the emperor Marcus Aurelius used it as a venue for a great auction of the imperial possessions. Another function was to provide a display area in which to exhibit…

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