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Saturday, 3 May 2014

Remains of a catastrophe

Tuesday, May 3rd., "Flying Cloud", Athens.

Sleep. Great discussions in the air throughout the day about a change of plans which would make Constantinople possible. The thing to be settled tonight i hope.

We saw a Byzantine small church after sleep. Intense heat. Then we went shopping in the 'Shoe Street' (second-hand quarter). I bought a heavy gold, silver and lace scarf-shawl for Dorothy from Salamis; old. Then tea, to which came Mr. Hill formerly head of the American archaeological school here. He took us to the Acropolis, and was intensely interesting and brilliantly clear the whole time.

Bert Hodge Hill at Corinth
Bert Hodge Hill (1874 - 1958), served as the director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens for twenty years (1906-1926). His academic interests were broad and diverse. As the director of the ASCSA he was in charge of the Corinth excavations where he concentrated on the study of the springs of Peirene, Glauke and the Sacred Spring. He was also closely involved with the study of the monuments of the Athenian Akropolis, especially the Erechtheum and the Parthenon, as well as with the study of various issues related to the topography of Athens. In addition to architecture, sculpture, and topography, he was engaged in studies of epigraphy and worked on the publication of many inscriptions. His knowledge of Greek archaeology, in particular that of Athens, was widely recognized and, consequently, he was consulted by everyone publishing on these topics. His contribution to the publication of the Erechtheum, for example, is well known.

In front of you, and as much to the right as the Erechtheion is to the left, but somewhat nearer, stands the shell of the Parthenon. You see the north and the west sides at an angle. I should estimate that of the original masonry not one tenth now stands where the architects put it, or stands at all. The upstanding one tenth constitutes the greatest religious architectural monument of the western world, perhaps the greatest on earth. But it is not more sublime than the structure which forms the entrance to the Acropolis. I count them equal in mastery. 

The battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18th June 1815. Historic date! Another historic date is Friday 28th September, 1687, when a German lieutenant (these Germans have no luck), fighting for the Venetians, fired a shell into the middle of the Parthenon. The Turks were then using the Parthenon as a powder magazine, and the exploding ammunition blew the building all to bits. The episode was magnificent, and it was also war, and a century and a half passed before mankind fully realised the enormity of the catastrophe.

Additionally for May 3rd., see 'Bothersome interference'

I have had a wireless receiver installed by the B.B.C. at a cost of £60. It is not working satisfactorily and I am unhappy.
For example, last evening we wanted to listen to a performance of the Second Act ofDie Walkure, but found it impossible to get an uninterrupted transmission of the opera. Another programme, and perhaps two other programmes, kept breaking in with more or less comic music of a violently anti-Wagnerian character, and no amount of adjustment would prevent this. Also a long speech. The Wagner would go on excellently for a few minutes , and then, for no apparent reason, it would be drowned by something else. All attempts at re-adjustment only resulted in whistling and various other strange noises.
This receiving set is admirable within certain limits, but I consider that the limits are far too narrow. An instrument which will neither get Continental stations, nor a Daventry station without mingling it with London or some other place, must surely be classed as extremely unsatisfactory.
I have written to the B.B.C. to complain.

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