The Parthenon Enigma by Joan Breton Connelly

About the author
Joan Breton Connelly

Joan Breton Connelly is Professor of Classics at New York University.She has held visiting fellowships at All Souls and New College, Oxford, at Harvard University and at Princeton. She is the author of Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece.

Book Description


A radical new interpretation of the meaning and purposes of one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

For more than two millennia, the Parthenon has been revered as the symbol of Western culture and its highest ideals. It was understood to honour the city-state’s patron deity, Athena, and its sculptures to depict a civic celebration in the birthplace of democracy.

But through a close reading of a lost play by Euripides, Joan Connelly has developed a theory that has sparked fierce controversy. Here she explains that our most basic sense of the Parthenon and the culture that built it may have been crucially mistaken. Re-creating the ancient structure, and using a breathtaking range of textual and visual evidence, she uncovers a monument glorifying human sacrifice set in a world of cult ritual quite alien to our understanding of the word ‘Athenian’.

I don’t often step outside my comfort zone of fiction, but every now and again there is something that is just too tempting to resist.
Thanks to the fantastic fictional author Christian Cameron i have developed a passion for things set in ancient Greece, i strive to learn and know more, but often struggle for time.
What this means is that i can enjoy the history of something like The Parthenon Enigma and how it explores something new as a concept, but not because its a new concept, just for the history, i don’t know enough about the Parthenon to know the old and extrapolate the new ground.
What i can say is that for anyone who loves history, be they serious historians or interested travelers in time like me, this book is a great read. For non fiction that i normally peruse through over a period of months, this book sped by in a matter of days. Maybe that’s the love of Greek culture and maybe its the style and content of the book, it is for the individual reader to decide.
What i can say is that this book stands out from the pack, both in cover and content and is well worth the time and money to read.


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