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Dr. Wheeler's Second Lecture.


Another large audience gathered in the lecture-room of the Jefferson Physical Laboratory yesterday afternoon to listen to Dr. Wheeler's second lecture on the Acropolis. The first lecture had been introductory; the second began the study of the Acropolis, the Propylaea being the first topic considered in detail.

The lecturer said that in this and the following lectures he should take Pausanias as his guide. Pausanias is very unsatisfactory, but in his Piriegesis he has left us almost the only ancient description of the Acropolis we have, and it is merely fragmentary. From the first book of this work Dr. Wheeler translated the description of the Propylaea and used it as the basis of his lecture, filling in the imperfect outline given by Pausanias with the details discovered by modern research. With the assistance of stereopticon views of the ground plan of both the Acropolis and the Propylaea together with views illustrating the architecture, he succeeded in giving his audience a very definite idea of the Propylaea and its surroundings. His study of the architecture of the building was particularly interesting, for in the Propylaea we have an excellent example of what a really great architect can accomplish even under the rigid restrictions of the Greek school. The problem which the sloping rock of the Acropolis presented to the architect has been particularly well solved.

The knowledge that the Greeks were very fond of symmetry in their architecture forces us to the conclusion that the Propylaea was not finished as originally planned, for there is a noticeable lack of symmetry between the north and south wings of the structure. Other reasons also support this conclusion. So after a description of the general features of the Propylaea as it was constructed, Dr. Wheeler discussed the original plans and the ingenious and truthful restorations of the German archaeologists.

The nature of the approach to the Acropolis was also treated by the lecturer. Very little is known of the early roadway leading up to the citadel. The changes made in the approach in the time of the Romans, the Franks and the Turks were described, as well as the modern way built after the establishment of the Greek kingdom in 1833. The lecture was closed with a historical sketch of the Propylaea in later times, and the changes which it underwent in its transformation into a fortified garrison.

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