Tag Archive: Parthenon

What makes a good monument

Nashville's Parthenon. Photo by Ryan Kaldari, via Wikipedia.

So in 1897, the city of Nashville got a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, because apparently this silly business of every American city calling itself the Athens of Wherever really went to their heads. I’m torn between thinking this is one of those ridiculous things Americans do to affirm a piece of European cultural heritage, like shipping castles across the Atlantic, and thinking it’s actually a really cool idea.

I got to thinking about this as I read a BBC story about the Bamiyan Buddhas, which the Taliban destroyed in 2001 just in case anybody thought they weren’t fanatical enough. Now that the international community has access to the site, there’s a debate about whether to attempt to restore at least one of the figures. And it’s one of those issues that seems to get more complicated the more I think about it.