Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour: The Akropolis of Athens | Ep. 1 | Ubisoft [NA]


ASPASIA
Greetings, wanderer, and welcome to the Akropolis, the shining jewel of Athens. ASPASIA
My name is Aspasia. Though I am not originally from Athens, I
have climbed to the top of its social ladder using my wit and intellect. ASPASIA
I’ve even earned the love of Perikles, one of the most powerful men in the city. ASPASIA
The mind truly is a beautiful thing. ASPASIA
Personally, I think the Akropolis is one of, if not the, greatest place in all of Greece. ASPASIA
Though considering it was the project of my partner, Perikles, I may be a touch biased. ASPASIA
The Akropolis of Athens is a bastion of art and culture worthy of the gods themselves. ASPASIA
Within this citadel, you will find many important sacred buildings, as well as some of the most
magnificent art in all of Greece. ASPASIA
You are in for a very enlightening visit. When you’re done, come find me, and we can
discuss the things you have seen. Farewell for now. NARRATOR
The Akropolis has gone through many changes in its long history. NARRATOR
It began as a simple rock, was settled as early as the Neolithic period, and then became
a fortress in the Mycenaean period. NARRATOR
Stone buildings started appearing in the 7th century BCE, but the famous structures whose
ruins remain visible today date mainly from a period of construction in the 5th century
BCE. NARRATOR
The location of the Akropolis is closely tied with Athens’s foundation myth. NARRATOR
Supposedly, it was the site where Athena and Poseidon competed for the city’s patronage. This connection gave the Akropolis a sacred
aura, and it was considered the religious heart of the city. NARRATOR
The Temple of Athena Nike was built on the remains of old fortifications from the Mycenaean
era. NARRATOR
Worship at the temple can be traced back to the 6th century BCE, but the building itself
was destroyed during the Greco-Persian Wars a century later. NARRATOR
It was rebuilt during the Peloponnesian War. NARRATOR
Given that the name Athena Nike roughly means “Athena of Victory”, it was likely constructed
in the hopes that Athens would win the war. NARRATOR
Unusually, the temple depicts historical scenes of battles against the Persians, instead of
the more mythologically-inclined art of other Greek buildings. NARRATOR
The temple’s priestess was chosen randomly among the Athenians, and received a salary
of fifty drachmae annually, along with skins and trophies from sacrificed animals. NARRATOR
The Akropolis was bui lt up over a long period, due in no small part to its partial destruction
during the Greco-Persian Wars. NARRATOR
It was in the 5th century BCE, though, that the Akropolis received its most significant
improvements. This period was an extremely prosperous time
for Athens, both financially and culturally. NARRATOR
With a booming economy bolstered by trade and the Laurion silver mines, Perikles, the
leader of Athens, financed a huge project to rebuild the citadel. NARRATOR
He enlisted the help of renowned artists like the sculptor Phidias, as well as the architects
Iktinos and Kallikrates. NARRATOR
Together, they erected buildings like the Parthenon, and the Propylaea gateway. NARRATOR
Perikles’s goal was to make the Akropolis into a glorious monument to the gods, and
to mortal Athenians. NARRATOR
Behind the Propylaea was the giant bronze statue of Athena Promachos, or “Athena who
fights on the front lines”. NARRATOR
That name was reflected in the spear and shield the statue held in its hands. NARRATOR
It was erected in the mid 5th century BCE by the artist Phidias. NARRATOR
According to an inscription, it took nine years to make, and cost almost half a million
drachmae. NARRATOR
At approximately ten meters tall, the statue was apparently so large that Pausanias claimed
its helmet and spear tip could be seen from the sea near Cape Sounion, sixty kilometers
away. NARRATOR
The ornamentation on the statue’s shield was engraved by the met alsmith Mys. NARRATOR
The arrhephoroi were young girls between the ages of seven and eleven who were in charge
of special rites. NARRATOR
A list of four girls was drafted by the assembly of citizens, from which the high magistrate,
the archon basileus, chose two to serve as arrhephoroi for the year. NARRATOR
The girls lived in a house on the Akropolis. They were in charge of carrying sacred objects,
and weaving the peplos of Athena. NARRATOR
The peplos was a sacred robe offered to Athena during Panathenaia, a festival held in her
honor. NARRATOR
The Erech theion was an atypical temple. NARRATOR
It was dedicated not only to Athena Polias, but also to Kekrops, the mythical founder
of Athens, his son Erechtheos, and even Poseidon, the sea god who challenged Athena for possession
of the city. NARRATOR
The temple was divided into sections. NARRATOR
The eastern part housed a statue dedicated to Athena, while the western section jointly
belonged to Poseidon and Erechtheos. Meanwhile, King Kekrops’s grave was believed
to be under the Karyatid Porch. NARRATOR
Under the temple was a crypt that was said to contain the sacred snakes of Athena. NARRATOR
The snakes may have had a sweet tooth, because the priestesses of Athena allegedly fed them
honey cakes. NARRATOR
The Parthenon is one of the most well-known buildings
in the world, and an enduring symbol of Ancient Greek civilization. NARRATOR
While it is located on the Akropolis, the building is not a traditional temple. NARRATOR
It was built by the sculptor Phidias and the architects Kallikrates and Iktinos as a great
monument to the glory of the city of Athens. NARRATOR
That glory is evident in its many carvings. NARRATOR
One of the most carved monuments in Greek architecture, the Parthenon’s decorations
depict several mythological scenes. NARRATOR
These include the birth of Athena, her fight against Poseidon for the patronage of Athens,
the gods’ battle with the giants and the procession of the Great Panathenaia. NARRATOR
The Parthenon’s inner chamber, or cella, contained a massive statue of Athena that was considered
to be one of the sculptor Phidias’s greatest masterpieces. NARRATOR
The statue was chryselephantine, a combination of gold and ivory. NARRATOR
To justify the steep cost of its construction, Perikles told Athenians that the statue was
a gold reserve which could be disassembled in times of economic distress. NARRATOR
The cella also allegedly contained a pool whose main purpose was to control the room’s
humidity, which helped preserve the statue’s ivory. NARRATOR
Athens’s treasury was located in the Parthenon, where it was believed to be protected by Athena
herself. NARRATOR
The treasury contained objects of great value acquired from different conquests, as well
as a mass of minted silver coins and various offerings to Athena. NARRATOR
Perikles also decided to move the entirety of the Delian League’s treasure to the Parthenon
in 454 BCE. This was a great testament to Athens’s power
over the rest of Greece. NARRATOR
The riches were divided into two parts: the demosia, which belonged to the city, and the
hiera chremata, which was dedicated to the goddess and only used for religious purposes. ASPASIA
And what did you think of the Akropolis? ASPASIA
It truly is quite something, isn’t it? A sacred sanctuary and an architectural marvel,
all in one. ASPASIA
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. ASPASIA
You’re confident enough for a test? Very well. Let us see how much you know. ASPASIA
Which two gods competed for Athens’s patronage? ASPASIA
Not quite. Although, Athena and Ares did fight each other
in the Trojan War, with Athena siding with the Greeks and her brother supporting Troy. ASPASIA
These goddesses were often at odds since Aphrodite represented carnal delights while Artemis
was a symbol of celibacy. However, they never fought over Athens. ASPASIA
Zeus overthrew his father Kronos and sealed the Titan away, but they never battled over
Athens. Try another answer. ASPASIA
Correct! It was Poseidon and Athena who fought for
Athens’s patronage. As for who won, the answer is in the city’s
name. ASPASIA
On to the next question. ASPASIA
Who sculpted the statue of Athena in the Parthenon? ASPASIA
Praxiteles sculpted the marble statue of Artemis that stood in the Brauroneion. Try again. ASPASIA
Polygnotos was a renowned Greek artist, but he was a painter, not a sculptor. Try a different answer. ASPASIA
No. I must confess, I made that name up. Clever, ah? ASPASIA
Correct! The renowned sculptor Phidias made the statue,
which was considered one of his masterpieces. ASPASIA
And now, the final question. Which king’s tomb was believed to be under
the Karyatid Porch? Leonidas was a Spartan king. He would not have been buried in Athens. ASPASIA
Try again. ASPASIA
I’m afraid not. Menelaos was known for two things: marrying
Helen of Troy, and going to war when she left him for the beautiful Paris. Try another answer. ASPASIA
Perseus slew the Gorgon Medusa and founded Mycenae, but he was not buried under the Karyatid
Porch. Keep trying. ASPASIA
That is correct! Kekrops was the mythological first king of
Athens, and his tomb was said to be under the Erechteion. ASPASIA
It seems you know much about this place. Well done, wanderer. ASPASIA
As you wish. Hopefully we will see each other again soon.

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