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Animation of the Parthenon violations through the centuries

When the Athenian Acropolis museum opened, another attempt to intervene in the intellectual world of the country was made by the Greek Orthodox Church. The reason was a short animated video, directed by none other than Costa-Gavras, where the damages to the Parthenon where depicted. Around one and a half minute in, one can see some dark-cloaked figures climbing the ladders to reach naked statues high on the monument and destroy them. They are Christians of 438 AD, and the Church demanded the scene to be cut from the film. Pretense for the objection was the similarity of the destroyers to Christian priests (and not random Christians), while there hadn’t been a systemic deformation of the monument (apart from its converting to a Christian church, of course) and the destroyers where rather overzealous believers.

Some priests asked for “objectivity” in the narrative, where the film had to present violations “from both sides”. “After so many centuries, who does this serve?”, asked a Church official. And while the Museum initially obliged to the aforementioned editing, the director threatened with the removal of his name from any cut version of his film. The Museum subsided and the movie started its repeating projections in its complete version.

Costa-Gavras had stated “I consider it sad and unacceptable that in Greece, a EU member state, the state kneels before the Church’s pressure”, and made clear that the figures did not depict priests, but Christians of the era –it was usual during the first centuries of Christianity’s rule for ancient statues and other works of art to be destroyed as “pagan”.

Here, you can navigate on the modern Acropolis
Here, you can navigate on the modern Acropolis

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