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The Parthenon [Paperback]

Mary Beard
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

20 May 2010

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 celèbre. But what actually are they? In a revised and updated edition, Mary Beard, award winning writer, 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.

'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

'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


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Reprint edition (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683497
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'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 '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 'A classic in every sense of the word' John Julius Norwich * 'An extremely entertaining read... a book that is both learned and eloquent' Erich Segal * 'She succeeds brilliantly in bringing back [the ruins of the Parthenon] to imaginative life' Joan Smith, Financial Times"

Book Description

'A classic in every sense of the word' John Julius Norwich

Revised and updated to include the story of the New Acropolis Museum, the controversies that have surrounded it, and whether it makes a difference to the 'Elgin Marble debate'. As so often with the Parthenon, there are all kinds of surprises.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book about a wonder of the world 23 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is a delight to read. It tells a fascinating history clearly and in a way that makes you want to read a few more pages before you put it down. It spells out how little we really know about the original uses of the building whilst describing the rich history it has had down the ages. However much you think you know about this building, this book will add to that knowledge. It is not afraid to handle controversial issues such as the Elgin marbles but does so in a fair and even handed way. If you haven’t been to the Parthenon yet this book will make you want to go. If you have been before this book will make you want to go again and look at this iconic building in a new light. Could the writer or publisher have done it better? Well, the quality of photographs is less than we should expect in the digital age. Mary Beard’s excellent text deserves better. I look forward to reading the other volumes in the series.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book. 12 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
I loved this book straight away. It displays a thorough knowledge of the subject without being dry, dull and just plain tedious like so many others. Beard writes in an approachable and often witty way and I particularly like the way she bursts the balloon of so many pompous and seemingly unquestioning statements about the Parthenon. There are many temples in the Greek World and, although they may not be as refined as the Parthenon, many are more interesting in a variety of ways. Personally I've always preferred the early Doric ones and The Parthenon has stopped me feeling guilty about this. That said, this book is a wonderful read. It may well knock on the head many ideas you had on this subject, but I doubt you will be disappointed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, but also very readable. 17 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading this book is like having a private tour of this most iconic of buildings with the author as one's highly knowledgeable guide. I loved the down-to-earth, almost chatty style, which is highly readable whilst nonetheless imparting a huge amount of information. I also particularly loved the 'further reading' section included at the end of the book which manages to be suitably thorough to satisfy Classics geeks like me, whilst at the same time being accessible for anyone with a keen, but perhaps less academic, interest.

I found this book almost by accident whilst looking for the one the author has been written about Pompeii. However, it is anything but a second choice. I am a Classics graduate with a particular interest in the Partenon, and the city of Athens in the Classical period. I have also been lucky enough to go inside the current building to look at the reconstruction/restoration work, and visited the new Acropolis museum shortly after it was opened. So, I considered myself to be fairly well informed about the Parthenon, particularly during its early history. This book has helped me to better understand both the building, and the Acropolis in general, particularly in its later history.

I would highly recommend it to anyone who has been, or is planning a trip to Athens.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not about the Architecture 26 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an enjoyable general history of the life of the Parthenon, how it was used and abused through its entire life. Mary Beard seems to have no time for architects though and dismisses any discussion of the design of the parthenon in six lines as Greek tricks of the trade only worth the study of geeks. There is no comparison with other temples, no analysis of how it might have been physically built, not even an explanation of what 'doric' signifies. While architecture does not interest her, sculpture certainly does and the conception, design and detailing of the friezes and pediments are covered in detail. All controversies since its construction are well covered too and so in a way it is more a history of an idea or icon than a book about the architecture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reading 28 Aug 2011
By Mark
Format:Kindle Edition
Erudite, beautifully written and entertaining, this is a wonderful read. Professor Beard has an amazing capacity for writing as if she knew those she writes about. This book is, if anything, better even than her previous works
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Parthenon 12 Feb 2011
By Sharon
Format:Paperback
The Parthenon

This is a very easy, enjoyable read. The book gives a comprehensive history of the parthenon and the Elgin marbles in a very short, sharp satisfying way. it is not dry or boring and is invaluable if you are thinking of visiting Athens and the acropolis at any time. It will enable any visitor to view the the Acropolis, Parthenon or Elgin marbles with fresh eyes and possibly a great deal more curiosity.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little book 21 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Beard's 'Pompeii' and this is every bit as good. She draws out the history of the Parthenon, largely through the eyes of visitors from different periods. In doing so we get a wonderful picture of the Parthenon without being weighed down in technical detail. It's a story very economically told - you're through the book before you realise it... leaving you wanting for more at the end. As in 'Pompeii', Beard's writing is clear and clever.

Of course the real controversy is the British Museum's possession of the 'Elgin' marbles. Again this is a strong story concisely told and we get an excellent summary of the arguments. Although we get her views on some of the actions and characters on both sides of the debate, Beard does not commit herself one way or the other. I think this is a shame as surely her views are worth airing too. i particularly like her account of how the British Museum is shifting the argument from repatriation of the marbles to reunification of their disparate parts. How and where is this to be achieved, I wonder?

In all an excellent little book, strongly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Marks
An amazing book. Meticulously researched and immensely readable. I love Mary Beard's style and learnt an amazing amount about the history of the Parthenon both in ancient times... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mrs Yvonne Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Beards Parthenon
Bought for a Beardophile this book was very much appreciated. Mary Beard is a great writer with great charisma and inspires with her enthusiasm for her subject.
Published 10 months ago by G. Shire
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide
I bought this as I was going on a trip to Athens and I can heartily recommend it. It provided a good general background to the history of the Parthenon. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Marjoram
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting read
Mary Beard's easy and engaging style make this a very enjoyable read. Full of information about the monument and its history and is not afraid to tackle the question of the Elgin... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jenny Waters
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
Very well researched. Very readable.it makes the Parthenon come alive in all its centuries of history.it makes you want to visit the Parthenon again.
Published 14 months ago by Ian S McDonald
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't buy any other book about the Parthenon buy this one.
If you are studying Classics at Undergraduate level, or are broadly interested in the subject then I thoroughly recommend this book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Will Staffs
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent background for a visit to the Parthenon
I bought this book, on the strength of Amazon reviews, before a visit to Athens in November 2012. It was a perfect introduction to the Parthenon, scholarly yet very easy to read,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative and most certainly witty!
Mary Beard has such an organic style of writing which is simply fascinating; she makes the already rich history of the Parthenon even more dynamic. Read more
Published 21 months ago by CoJoRo
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact, informative, funny and even emotional!
The Parthenon is one of the most famous and controversial buildings in the world. Furthermore, the whole 'Elgin marble thing' is so complicated and the disputes so old that it is... Read more
Published 22 months ago by JennyD
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Accessible
Mary has a very easy and almost conversation-like writing style, which makes the book that much easier to read. Read more
Published on 24 April 2012 by E. Smith
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