342 Route 39. ATHENS. Propylaea.
Barbarians, but is of more recent date than the Parthenon and the
Propytea. From the small flight of steps to the W. end of the
wall a balustrade of marble formerly stood; part of the relief which
decorated it is now preserved in the interior of the temple. —
The * winged Nike, fastening her sandal, * two victories leading
a bull to the sacrifice , and a flying Nike are all admirably exe¬
cuted. Magnificent view of the sea, Aegina, and the coast of the
Peloponnesus as far as Hydra. JEgeus is said to have thrown
himself headlong from this point in despair, when he perceived
the ship of Theseus returning from Crete with black sails, instead
of white, as promised.
The **Propylsea are now entered. The structure consists of
three portions: the central gateway, and the two wings on the N.
and S. The gateway, 65' in width, consists of two colonnades,
situated towards the AV. and E. in front of the wall containing
the gates themselves (nponvXeaa, i. e. what lies in front of the
nvi.ai, or gates). Above each of these rose pediments on both
sides, and each was borne by six Doric columns (33' high, 43/4'
thick), the intercolumniation between which, where the road
passes through, is 14' in width, whilst the other columns are
about 8' apart. The depth of the W. portico, rising boldly on a
basement of four steps on the slope of the hill, is 48'. and it
was supported by two rows of slender Ionic columns, three in
each (37' high, 31/4' thick; fragments of the capitals lie in the
colonnade). The wall with the five gates lies five steps higher,
the highest of which consists of bluish Eleusinian marble. The
quadrangular apertures were formerly surrounded with rich deco¬
rations ('antepagmenta') and closed by bronze gates. — The six
columns of the E. colonnade are another step higher, and 25' dis¬
tant from the wall with the gates. The huge stone beams which
spanned this wide space , as well as those which extended from
the N. and S. walls of the W. portico to the Ionic columns (some
of them are seen reconstructed of the fragments in the colonnade),
are among the largest hewn stones in existence, and were uni¬
versally admired by the ancients. Even this approach to the
Acropolis was profusely adorned with statues and reliefs, to which
the three draped Graces, executed by Socrates , and the Hermes
Propylaus belong. The striding limbs of a statue on the S. side
of the Propyl;na are supposed to be a fragment of the latter.
Architectural members, inscriptions and fragments of statues now
lie here in confusion.
The two wings of the PropyUea project 23' towards the W.
In front of the N. wing (on thel. as the visitor ascends) is a por¬
tico C-i'in depth, supported by three columns between the 'ant*'
f.i. e. the columns immured in the bounding walls). Beyond this
is a quadrangular space 38' in depth, lighted by windows above,