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[16]

The city itself is a rock situated in a plain and surrounded by dwellings. On the rock is the sacred precinct of Athena, comprising both the old temple of Athena Polias,1 in which is the lamp that is never quenched,2 and the Parthenon built by Ictinus, in which is the work in ivory by Pheidias, the Athena. However, if I once began to describe the multitude of things in this city that are lauded and proclaimed far and wide, I fear that I should go too far, and that my work would depart from the purpose I have in view. For the words of Hegesias3 occur to me: "I see the acropolis, and the mark of the huge trident4 there. I see Eleusis, and I have become an initiate into its sacred mysteries; yonder is the Leocorium, here is the Theseium; I am unable to point them all out one by one; for Attica is the possession of the gods, who seized it as a sanctuary for themselves, and of the ancestral heroes." So this writer mentioned only one of the significant things on the acropolis; but Polemon the Periegete5 wrote four books on the dedicatory offerings on the acropolis alone. Hegesias is proportionately brief in referring to the other parts of the city and to the country; and though he mentions Eleusis, one of the one hundred and seventy demes (or one hundred and seventy-four, as the number is given), he names none of the others.

1 The Erechtheium (see D'Ooge, Acropolis of Athens, Appendix iii).

2 Cp. Paus. l.26.7

3 Hegesias of Magnesia (fl. about 250 B.C.) wrote a History of Alexander the Great. Only fragments remain.

4 In the rock of the well in the Erechtheium.

5 A "Periegete" was a "Describer" of geographical and topographical details.

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