John K. Papadopoulos, Professor of Archaeology and Classics, University of California at Los Angeles
Although long considered the most significant architectural project of Classical Athens, the Periklean building program still has much to reveal. In questioning modern conventions of viewing buildings on the Acropolis, Framing Victory: Salamis, the Athenian Acropolis, and the Agora reappraises how victory monuments were observed and perceived in the fifth century BCE.
The presentation aims to show that the Mnesiklean Propylaia, the ceremonial gateway into the sanctuary on the Acropolis, is also a monumental exit that frames Salamis, the location of a watershed event in the history and topography of Athens—the defeat of the Persian armada in 480 BCE. Instead of seeing the Propylaia as an anomaly, I argue that it was instrumental to a new tradition of using architecture to orchestrate sightlines between monuments across the city. Buildings on the Acropolis worked in tandem with the stoas in the heart of Athens, the Classical Agora, to create a ritual topography that showcased Athenian heroism and triumph. This analysis therefore widens the canonical perspective of the Periklean program, proposing for the first time that it extended to and incorporated the Classical Agora of Athens.
John K. Papadopoulos is Professor of Archaeology and Classics at the University of California at Los Angeles, former Chair of Classics and current Chair of the Archaeology Interdepartmental PhD Program. His research and teaching interests include the Aegean, as well as the eastern and central Mediterranean in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age into the Classical and later periods, Greek colonization, the topography of Athens, and the integration of literary evidence with the material record in the study of the past. He has excavated or conducted fieldwork widely in Greece, Albania, Italy, and Australia. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, over 90 articles and some forty book reviews.
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