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 What is properly the Asty is a rock, situated in a plain, with dwellings around it. Upon the rock is the temple of Minerva, and the ancient shrine of Minerva Polias, in which is the never-extinguished lamp; and the Parthenon, built by Ictinus, in which is the Minerva, in ivory, the work of Pheidias. When, however, I consider the multitude of objects, so celebrated and far-famed, belonging to this city, I am reluctant to enlarge upon them, lest what I write should depart too far from the proposed design of this work.1 For the words of Hegesias2 occur to me; “‘I behold the acropolis, there is the symbol of the great trident;3 I see Eleusis; I am initiated in the sacred mysteries; that is Leocorium;4 this the Theseium.5 To describe all is beyond my power, for Attica is the chosen residence of the gods; and the possession of heroes its progenitors.’” Yet this very writer mentions only one of the remarkable things to be seen in the Acropolis. Polemo Periegetes6 however composed four books on the subject of the sacred offerings which were there. Hegesias is similarly sparing of remarks on other parts of the city, and of the territory: after speaking of Eleusis, one of the hundred and seventy demi, to which as they say four are to be added, he mentions no other by name.
1 Strabo thus accounts for his meagre description of the public buildings at Athens, for which, otherwise, he seems to have had no inclination.
2 Hegesias was an artist of great celebrity, and a contemporary of Pheidias. The statues of Castor and Pollux by Hegesias, are supposed by Winkelman to be the same as those which now stand on the stairs leading to the Capitol, but this is very doubtful. Smith.
3 In the Erechtheium.
4 The Heroum, or temple dedicated to the daughters of Leos, who were offered up by their father as victims to appease the wrath of Minerva in a time of pestilence. The position of the temple is doubtfully placed by Smith below the Areiopagus.
5 The well-known temple of Theseus being the best preserved of all the monuments of Greece.
6 An eminent geographer. He made extensive journeys through Greece to collect materials for his geographical works, and as a collector of inscriptions on votive offerings and columns, he was one of the earlier contributors to the Greek Anthology. Smith.
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