Athens historical destructions

Destructions that are mostly unknown

Here is the list of Athens”s destructions that made all these ruins….? Here is a page in order to reply to the question why Athens was called as a “dream among wonderful ruins, from Louis-François Cassas. The historical facts mentioned here combine both military events, natural catastrophes but also cultural and financial ones. 

Classical period destructions 

480 BC Persians invaded empty Athens and burned Acropolis and its building. Pericles later introduced its reconstruction plan and today we all see Parthenon.

431-404 BC Pelopponesian army made some raids in Attica region, outside Athens Walls. But after Athens defeat in Peloponnesian War, Spartans prevented their allies to demolish Athens (as it was proposed), proving their Spartan spirit, claiming that Athens was leading Greece during Persian Wars. Athens was obliged to destroy a part of its Walls.

Roman period 

87-86 BC Sylla burns Athens, Plato’s Academy and Lycaeum. Theater of Dionyssus was destroyed and made up by Nero, one century later. Roman Agora construction project was funded by Ceaser and Augusts. Sulla also funded Piraeus and Amfiareion.

267 AD Sack of Athens by Heruli. Ancient agora was destroyed. A new city wall (post Herulian) was built.

Byzantine period 

396-7 AD Athens’ raid of Alaric.

582 Slavs invade to Athens, during the 578-9 Slavonic invasion to Greece.

896 Saracens raid Athens.

936-943 Saracens raid Attica from Sounio to Marathon, from Emirate of Crete, that was recaptured in 961.  Rizokastro was constructed.

1147 Raid from Roger II, king of Sicily, during the Second Crusade.

1203 Leon Sgouros invaded Athens. Defense was organised by Michail Choniatis. Sgouros commits suicide in 1208.

Morosini’s cannon positions around Acropolis

Ottoman period 

1466 Venetian Vettore Capello arrived at Piraeus and marched against Athens. Failing to occupy Acropolis, he moves to Patra, after plundering the city.

1687 Destruction of Parthenon and city’s fortifications, while Morosini’s seige. There was a fire for two-three days in Parthenon. Researchers think that some canons where place next to Agios Theologos church found in Plaka today.

1801-1812 Looting of Parthenon. Elgin’s agents steal Parthenon marbles and he later sells them (1816) to British Museum. The person who fought him the most about this action was Lord Byron. Elgin donated to Athenians a clock, that was located near to the Old Agora square and it was burnt at 1884.

Modern Greece 

British soldiers walking over Kydathineon during Dekembriana 1944

1884 Great fire of Athens. The fire took place at Monastiraki square till the Old Agora square. It was the main cause for the archeological excavations in Athens to begin.

1944 Dekembriana – the result of WWII. The start of the Greek civil War in modern Athens. Battles took place all over Athens, from Kydathineon to Makrygianni and Pagrati.

2009- 2016 Greek crisis.  Even if not yet accepted, and not so related with the before mentioned facts, the Greek crisis hit strongly Athens. The result was that about half a million young Greeks left the country to work abroad, but still the unemployment rate in Greece is too hing, compared with EU member countries. Moreover the city has people with no home, that are sleeping in the streets of Athens. Isn’t that a disaster?

Anyway, today Athens’ wall remains are visible in corners and streets of the city.

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