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Cycleguy57 t1_je4ul4y wrote

To me, the real astonishing thing is that these old monuments weren’t torn down a thousand years ago to re use the building materials. I’m glad they weren’t but I remain surprised.


Abba_Fiskbullar t1_je5coml wrote

Almost all of these structures were used as a source of building materials. The most obvious is the marble cladding from the exterior, and bronze ceiling from the portico of the Pantheon. The marble cladding was stripped by lime burners in the middle ages, and the bronze ceiling from the portico was stripped and melted down by Pope Urban VIII in the 1600s. The main temple of the Parthenon complex was largely intact until 1687, when the gunpowder magazine stored there by the Ottomans was hit by cannon fire from the Venetian Navy and exploded.


Cycleguy57 t1_je5d330 wrote

Thanks for that. I know that the original outer limestone casing on the pyramids were stripped away.


Abba_Fiskbullar t1_je5gqhs wrote

The frustrating thing is that the casings on the pyramids survived for thousands of years, until the relatively recent middle ages, when the ruler of Cairo, Salahadeen's son, ordered that the pyramids be torn down. He wasn't successful, obviously, but we no longer get to experience the pyramids as they were created


Cycleguy57 t1_je5ixrr wrote

Yet another thing I didn’t know. Thanks again


rocima t1_je7cr6d wrote

And the Parthenon probably only survived that long because it was protected by being turned into a church in the Christian Roman/Byzantine empire & then a mosque under the Ottomans.

It's not a coincidence it's the biggest surviving structure (despite the explosion) on the Acropolis, the other buildings will have been demolished.


Biggseb t1_je86r71 wrote

Same with the Colosseum… it was considered a holy site because of the Christian martyrs that died there, sparing it from being completely pilfered and destroyed.


rocima t1_je8bqzq wrote

Though a Pope gave permission for a large part of it to be demolished to construct a huge Palace for his nephew (Palazzo della Cancelleria).

Nepotism vs martyrdom - no competition!


rocima t1_je7c3pk wrote

Most of them were. In the center of Rome only a few examples survive. The rest of that city of one million people was torn down to build the medieval city, or the Renaissance city or even the Baroque city. If you know where to look, later Roman buildings are full of scraps pillaged from Ancient Rome (including much of the lime used in the building mortars: made by burning ancient Roman limestone & marble!)