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The ruined silhouette of the Parthenon on its hill above Athens is one of the world's most famous images. Its 'looted' Elgin Marbles are a global cause celebre. But what actually are they? In the first of an occasional 'series' on wonders of the world - such as the Colosseum, Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Alhambra, Mary Beard, biographer, reviewer and leading Cambridge classicist, tells the history and explains the significance of the Parthenon, the temple of the virgin goddess Athena, the divine patroness of ancient Athens. The Wonders of the World is a series of books that focuses on some of the world's most famous sites or monuments. Their names will be familiar to almost everyone: they have achieved iconic stature and are loaded with a fair amount of mythological baggage. These monuments have been the subject of many books over the centuries, but our aim, through the skill and stature of the writers, is to get something much more enlightening, stimulating, even controversial, than straightforward histories or guides.
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Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Cambridge and is a Fellow of Newnham College. She is general editor of the Wonders of the World series and author of The Parthenon.Review:
An extremely entertaining read ... a book that is both learned and eloquent * Erich Segal * Sophisticated, engaging ... she unravels the intricacies with the light and deft touch which characterises the whole book ... something for classicists and laymen alike -- Gavanndra Hodge * Independent on Sunday * She succeeds brilliantly in bringing back [the ruins of the Parthenon] to imaginative life -- Joan Smith * Financial Times * A classic in every sense of the word: scholarly, informative, but with a laugh - or at least a broad smile - on every page. I loved it - and so will you * John Julius Norwich * Wry, lively ... entertaining, provocative ... highly readable -- Alexander Masters * Times Literary Supplement * The classical world still rouses fierce passions, and books like this help to make the study of ancient Greece urgent and relevant -- Tom Holland * New Statesman * If you're planning a trip to Athens - or to the British Museum - this ... is a must-read; but armchair travellers will be equally enthralled -- Andrew Crumey * Scotland on Sunday *
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