Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
C. A. Hoffman
The word acropolis literally means the higher, fortified part of a city. While there may be many of these in Greece, when we speak of the Acropolis, most understand the reference to be to the Acropolis of Athens. The Acropolis sits more than 500 feet above the plain of Attica in the city of Athens, bordered on three sides by cliffs and accessible by foot on only one side. Its geography made it a natural fortress during the iron-age beginnings of Athens, and it functioned primarily as a fort until sometime after the end of the Persian Wars (479 BC). Evidence of human habitation dates from the Neolithic. Through the centuries, the Acropolis has served the people of Athens as a place of residence, palaces, centers of worship, a citadel, and monuments to their gods and goddesses. One such temple was dedicated to Athena, the city's patron goddess, as early ...