The Parthenon was one of the most famous monuments of the ancient world. But today its columns are crumbling to dust. Its current state isn’t due to wear and tear from exposure to the elements over the millennia, however. It’s the result of an almost-forgotten 17th century battle.
A modern battle on ancient grounds
In the 17th Century, Poland and Austria allied to retake lands in Europe conquered by the Ottoman Empire after Turk forces attempted to invade and control Venice in 1683. This intrusion into Venice planted the seed for the destruction of the Parthenon.
General Francesco Morosini, a sixty-four year old veteran shamed by the loss of the Venetian colony of Crete to the Ottoman Empire in 1669, led a band of homegrown warriors and mercenaries in an attempt to take back a portion of Greece.
As the Venetians surrounded the Acropolis, the Turks took shelter on the hill. Strategically, they hid their gunpowder within the Parthenon, believing the Venetian forces would not dare attack the Parthenon due to the historic significance of the building.
This would prove to be a bad strategic choice.
Bombing the Parthenon
Morosini knew of a concentration of Turk forces at the Parthenon, but it is unknown if he knew of the explosives held inside the historic building.
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